A map of about every primary passenger railway in the USA for 2016, commuter rail included.

Surely there are more trains lines about than this ?!

Nope. We’re animals. I’ve only trailed by train twice in the U.S., and it was the same line, once DC to Philadelphia, and once DC to NYC for work once I discovered the train was two hours faster than flying and cabbing back into NYC.

I do forget though that you guys fly everywhere and trains might not be practical. I live on an island the size of one of your states !

Fun fact: the busiest railway station in America (Penn Station in New York City) gets fewer passengers than Liverpool Central.

I knew the US had a much less extensive rail infrastructure than us, but bloody hell, the fact that there are ENTIRE STATES that literally don’t have passenger rail is madness.

I’d still love to travel on it some time, mind.

Just imagine the jobs you could create by building a decent railway system!

Behold, the end result of graft and political corruption.

I had no idea most of the US had no regional lines? Like, I live in tiny little MA with one of those clusters of red. Does everybody else have to DRIVE???

yes. we drive. and it’s terrible.

D: This is actually distressing.

to be fair some cities do have good bus systems


what the shuddering fuck?  That’s IT?!  

actually we used to have a lot more, but as far as i’m aware i’m pretty sure the car companies bought a lot of railways and then destroyed them to force people to buy cars

Also some of those states that don’t have rails also have more cows than people.

Also our trains are slow and it’s usually much faster to drive than to take a train. We don’t have those speed rail things.


There used to be more (map of train tracks 1870 & 1890), but, as @kaza999 pointed out, alot of it was destroyed on purpose by General Motors in the firsty half of the 1900s to, ahem, pave the way for the primacy of the car.  And, since then, any investment in rail infrastructure (or any infrastructure at all, for that matter) has been opposed on ideological grounds by the conservative wing.

When you suddenly understand Sheldon’s train enthusiasm

And then there’s Europe:

And because that looks a tiny bit cluttered (and because we’re a German blog), here’s a railway map of Germany:

In red are the high speed InterCityExpress lines, blue are the InterCity lines and the grey ones are smaller regional lines.

And for Americans who don’t know how large Germany is: It is half the size of Texas.

Consider that this map does not show local lines, for example:
This is Hamburg


This is Berlin


This is Cologne

And this is Munich



Munich’s network deadass has more lines than the entire state of MA

like the one thing i miss about australia is the public transit (and meat pies ngl)

I live in MA, which multiple people here have pointed out is unusually good in comparison to the rest of the country. I live about 10 miles from Boston, my town does not have a train.

The only thing I can access by train, and this still would require me to walk a mile to the nearest bus stop that barely ever has on time buses, to take THAT to the subway and if I want to use the commuter rail to the other parts of MA I have to take the subway into Boston first. in other words to get to my friend who is accidentally accessible by public transport (only one friend is) I must walk a mile to the bus, take the bus to the subway, take the subway to north station to transfer to the commuter rail, then take that 40 miles instead of 30 because I had to go 10 miles south to access the train that goes north and the whole thing I think takes around 4 hours?

It’s a 30 minute drive.

So yeah, if the other countries want to complain about gas prices, WE REALLY FUCKING NEED THEM THAT LOW. Public transport is non-existent outside of major cities even if you are fairly close to one. It’s not just trains my town only has the ONE BUS and it goes down ONE ROAD ONLY it has less range then the FUCKING SCHOOL BUSES DO.

and this is a big deal because millennials can’t afford their own cars. Any job that requires reliable transport DOES NOT mean public transport (because ours is poorly maintained and usually late/broken even if you have access) so that means almost every job requires “owns a car”

I have wondered why I never hear people from the US talk about taking the train, this explains it 😮

We have an Amtrak station in my town but I’ve only used it a few times.  
1. It goes through each direction once a day. I would absolutely love to take the train to Minneapolis when I go because I hate driving in MSP but the times are impossible for a day trip.
2. For Minneapolis or Chicago, it takes longer than driving and it’s also more expensive, especially for more than one person.
3. I did take it to  New York once for a bit less than flying but it was a 20 hour trip. Even with driving to Minneapolis or Madison to go to the airport I can be in NYC in 5 hours flying. I could drive to NYC in 12-14 hours. 
4. It’s NEVER on time, because passenger trains have to give way to freight trains. And I’m talking anywhere from 2 hours late to being cancelled altogether and Amtrak chartering buses to take us to Chicago because the train was going to be more than 8 hours late because of a derailment out west

I would, however, love to see the development of more high speed passenger railways.  

This is Canada.

It might not look like much, but most of us basically don’t stray too far north. I’ve only ridden lines in Toronto and Vancouver, but it’s a pretty decent network for the population of our country.

Also, this is GO, the main GTA public transit system.

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the U.S. is $1.44 trillion short on infrastructure needs.


5eva horrified by the US rail system.

I remember when I was thinking about going back to university, I also considered degrees that had a year abroad in California so that I could hang out with my littlest cousin and other relatives there. Then I discovered that it would probably take me a billion years to actually get to them without attempting to hire a car and driving.

For a journey that would have been the equivalent of going from my home town in the UK to York and take 3hrs here on the train.