Tuesday, April 1, 2008


High speed train
On sunday i caught the train. A local train that from the province goes to the main town.
I was amazed to find the perfect timing of the train, probably because on sundays there is not a big mess and it is easier to schedule.

The booking office was closed, because it was sunday. The automatic ticket machine was broken. That's not a news, i noticed this situation since years, the few times that i have to catch the train. Ticket office closed and ticket machine broken. I go to the bar of the station and they tell me that the ticket has to be bought on the train. I knew that, but every now and then they change those rules, so i wanted to make sure. So, i had to walk all along the train to find the conductor to buy the ticket. Okay...

The really disgusting thing was the condition of the train itself. Dirty, filthy and stinky.
To me it was not that big drama because i catch the train seldom and i can bear it. But i can imagine those people that everyday catch that train in order to go to work, surely very busy and late. I remember when i was a commuter too, on a different line. Those were the conditions. Late and dirty trains.

I think that it is a matter of respect for the workers. Those ones that make the Italian economy, moving like animals in cattle-wagons twice a day, once to go and once to come back. Well, those people deserve a better respect.
But not. They develop the big projects. Wonderful trains, very fast, on brand new railways, to transport those characters in jacket and tie that enjoy that economy produced by the workers on the cattle-wagons.
Let's give all the comforts, to those tied-ones, air conditioning, hostesses with tiny mini-skirts. High-speed-train? Wouldn't be better to spend those money in improving the bad service for the workers, instead?

And you all, what kind of relationship do you have with trains?


rowena said...

I've heard it from more than one person that trains in Italy SUCK! Dirty seats, dirty cabins, conductors that throw the outer plastic wrapping from a fresh pack of ciggies onto the ground! I was so stunned to see that one...I mean, there ARE trash receptacles, y'know?

No money will ever be put into improving less than agreeable conditions. The government just does not give a rats ass. Anyway, the faster trains will surely cost more which means a bigger profit $$$! And Italy has better things to do...like figure out the damn mess in Campania that threatens to cripple the production and exportation of mozzarella di bufala.

tychecat said...

Americans have almost NO relationship with trains. There are a few high-speed commuter trains in some very crowded urban areas but political decisions of fifty years ago sabotaged the american rail system and shunted us off into cars and trucks.
Many of the tracks have been abandoned or are in poor repair and very seldom used. Now that a re-vitalized rail system would be to our great advantage (Hauling people and freight by rail is much more energy efficient than by car and truck) we no longer have the infrastructure.
When I was a good deal younger, rail was the way to go and I have fond memories.
The strangest train system I ever rode was the Japanese high speed system. There is actually a unformed girl who introduces you to the conductor who then takes and punches your ticket. I guess it would be impolite or beneath his dignity to walk up and demand a ticket. If you think Italian commuter trains are bad - try a Japanese commuter train. They actually have "pushers" to cram every last body in the car will hold - no politeness there!

Aaron Abitia said...

Ciao Dario. Trains are marginal at best here in America. In the 20th century they were used quite a lot, up to about the 1950s, but no more. In fact, Los Angeles, just south of where I live, used to have an extensive train system in the city, but it is long disappeared. I heard that L.A. wants to build a high-speed train to Las Vegas, but I wouldn't expect that anytime soon. Californians have a love affair with cars, particularly as status symbols, so perhaps that's why the trains have been diminished in this state. Back East, trains are utilized more than in the West, I'd say.