How long to travel across the U.S. in 1800 (other years in comments)

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The problem is that most Americans have a car to get around, which is an already sizable investment. Let’s say it costs $50 in gas to get from Oklahoma City to Dallas. Train tickets for that trip are close to $30 via Amtrak. Since I know from personal experience that they never fill that train up, we can assume that supply is still ahead of demand. That means they either need to lower their ticket prices or wait for gas prices to increase in order to fill up the train. I don’t know what their costs to operate are, but I am guessing that since the government is subsidizing them that that ticket is being sold at a loss.

Now, imagine building a new, expensive, state of the art maglev train, or keep it simple and just build a dedicated rail line for Amtrak. Keeping in mind that a train ticket for Dallas to Houston needs to be lower than $30 to entice the average person to use the train over their car, how many ticket sales would it take to break even on the initial cost, let alone the operating costs for each trip?

This is the reasoning behind why there isn’t a maglev or even a dedicated passenger rail line between any two cities that are a great distance apart in the US. People love their cars, and as long as gasoline is cheap, trains won’t be used.

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