Originally Posted by Makoto Chan
What trains are you thinking of, that are far superior to air travel? I ask because I've never found that to be the case in the US. Amtrak isn't much better than travelling by plane (it's slower, just as cramped, and just as expensive - although I admit I haven't ridden in a few years). The bullet trains in Japan are very enjoyable to use - aside from the much more considerate fellow passengers, the aisles and seats are quite wide and comfortable and the service is excellent. Is there any comparable train experience anywhere in the States these days? I suppose Amtrak offers Business Class seats, perhaps that ameliorates the discomfort.
A lot of them are indeed shitty. But overall, it's much less of a hassle. You show up at the station in the middle of town 20 minutes before your train, walk right on without getting strip searched, sit in a seat more than 6" wide, get some work done (they even have plugs!), and eventually show up at your destination, also in the middle of town.
I'd love it to be even better, but given the low bar here in the States, I'll take what I can get.