I was contemplating a trip to visit a friend out in Eagle, CO (round trip, don't care what day I leave/return) in a few weeks and decided to do some research into transportation for 2 from Lafayette, IN to Eagle, CO. First check was driving. 20 hours each way, round trip cost of around $190 in gas. Closer to $240 if you take into account wear/tear, a portion of car insurance, etc.
Next I looked into flying. A bit under $700. Possibly worth the cost increase because it would save me time. However, then I would need to drive to Indianapolis (not a big deal, I know people there) and also catch a car/bus from Denver to Eagle.
Then I realized that unlike the last couple places I lived in there is an Amtrak station in Lafayette. When I was younger I took Amtrak up the east coast, and it was a nice experience. I would have a small carbon footprint, I would be able to walk around a bit, and it goes all the way to Vail (close to Eagle). Trains are efficient right? Wrong. Not only was it going to be $1000 (nearly 50% more than flying?), it was also going to take two full days (7AM departure day to 9PM the next day) each way. If I buy my ticket more than two months in advance, then the price goes down to $600, still close to the cost of flying.
Given the cost of moving stuff linked below, why is it that rail seems like such an awful way to travel? Is it simply a matter of volume, or is there something else playing in?
I'll avoid getting in to the issues of trying to do a scene inspection on railroad land, that's far worse.