Same old trains
Re “Could Amtrak catastrophe happen here? It almost did, leaving some riders scared and angry” (sacbee.com, Dec. 26): In January 1907, Mark Twain said: “This picture of carnage and blood and death reminded me of something which I had read a fortnight ago – statistics of railway accidents compiled by the United States Government, wherein the appalling fact was set forth that on our 200,000 miles of railway we annually kill 10,000 persons outright.”
The American railroads, from their inception (it seems to me), have been both uncaring of and largely immune from the deaths they have caused. And from the beginning they have resisted public attempts at reforming them and making them safer. The resistance to Positive Train Control systems is merely the most recent. It seems nothing much has changed since 1907.
Larry Mitchel, Roseville
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Before bullet trains
Equipment failure, operator error and terrorist skullduggery make high speed trains vulnerable. Post-accident investigations are informative, but they don’t help the injured and don’t seem to result in more safety. The risks must be effectively addressed before politicians push bullet trains. Otherwise, the ridership won’t support the costs. Also, the train should go somewhere useful.
Robert Reark, Granite Bay
Re “With a bracelet from their daughter, they fled flames, and celebrate Christmas with loss and love” (Marcos Breton, Dec. 22): The story of the Robys’ loss was heartbreaking, but their spirit and gratitude in the face of such devastation is what truly touched my heart. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the culture of “things,” to be distracted by the persistent political firestorm that permeates everything and to lose sight of what is really important. It was inspiring to reading how the Roby family is regrouping. It also was a reminder that none of us has control over anything except for how we choose to behave in the face of whatever confronts us. I wish them a peaceful and blessed road forward.