Tuesday, August 17, 2010

High-Speed Amtrak IS NOT LIGHT RAIL

After all these years, is it too much to ask the good folks at the Journal Sentinel's community online editions, like BrookfieldNow.com, to accurately differentiate between light rail and high-speed passenger rail/Amtrak, which is also known as heavy rail?

Misinforming the public is the wrong thing do do.

[Update: More than two hours after its initial posting, Tuesday night, and thus into a new day at 12:15 a.m. Wednesday the story with the inaccurate headline is still up uncorrected, and is also on the big paper's NewsWatch index, to boot.]

The story calls what the state is planning as part of the Midwest High-Speed Rail system, and what could stop in Brookfield "light rail," when it is not.

This headline on the Tuesday night story is wrong:

"Crowd packs Brookfield City Hall for light-rail meeting."

Haven't we been talking about this for close to 15 years around here?

Light rail, like a trolley, makes frequent stops, and serves local commuters, shoppers, visitors. And has been apparently so demonized by talk radio that headline writers think all rail systems are that awful light rail.

Heavy rail, like Amtrak, runs with larger cars and big engines, and travels between cities, cross-country.

Light rail is to heavy rail what a motorbike is to a Harley.

The story gets it right, so can I get a headline writer who will read the story and not pull "light rail" from somewhere else and slap it on the top of the story for posting, please?

[Further update, Wedmesday AM: the headline now says "high-speed rail. " Hooray!]


Anonymous said...

Good point.

But it isn’t high-speed rail either, so you may want to be at least a bit sympathetic to the opponents.

James Rowen said...

Nice try.

enoughalready said...

There is no excuse for calling Amtrak "light rail." That is just ignorant.

Anonymous said...

By defintion it isn't high speed rail.

So why do you keep claiming it is?

James Rowen said...

The speeds will vary between 79 and 110 mph.

Big Toe said...

8o mi trip in 1.25 hrs= 64 mph average.

Not what I'd call high speed.

James Rowen said...

Big Toe: You have to look at this as a piece of a much larger, inter-connected system that will be upgraded as things progress.

James Wigderson said...

Yes, but today's article about Oconomowoc started with a headline calling the rail line light rail.

Too funny, really.