Don't Sell Amtrak Short: Rail Travel Can Often Be Swift, Safe, Convenient

Don't Sell Amtrak Short: Rail Travel Can Often Be Swift, Safe, Convenient

Regarding the article ''Republican Cost-Cutters Track Amtrak,'' March 15: It is distressing that the author seems mostly to have spoken with opponents of rail travel. This will only influence opinion toward the abolition of train service, which would be a disastrously shortsighted move.

Train travel is more comfortable, often more convenient, safer, and more environmental than either air or automobile travel.

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We would like to mention three things:

1) The author mentions ''deteriorating stations.'' However, local authorities have recently renovated a number of stations on the Northeast Corridor, such as in Boston, Providence, R.I., and Washington.

2) Passenger trains are not the only form of transportation that is subsidized. Air travel and automobile travel are both heavily subsidized in the government funding of airport and highway construction.

3) The train is hardly an outmoded form of transportation, as people quoted in the article would have you believe. An outstanding example of this is the TGV high-speed rail network in France.

The success or value of passenger train service must not be measured by such a narrow yardstick as profitability. If anything, train service could even be increased; the train appears to be at or near capacity on every trip that we make.

Dorothea E. Rees and William S. Edwards, Cambridge, Mass.

Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published and none acknowledged. Letters should be addressed to ''Readers Write'' and sent by mail to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by Internet E-mail (200 words maximum) to OPED@RACHEL.CSPS.COM.

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