Compare costs and convenience, and you might be lobbying for rail

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I couldn't help but notice the irony of the article about the cost of flights to New York ("Without JetBlue, Fares From Pittsburgh to New York City Go Sky High," March 7) along with the recent news regarding the possible elimination of Amtrak service from Pittsburgh to Harrisburg and thus continued service to Philadelphia and New York.

The current flight costs to New York do seem outrageous. A recent visit to Amtrak's website found that a roundtrip next-day train fare from Pittsburgh to New York is $144. And there are no baggage fees or security hassles and, yes, they have e-tickets. I have found train travel to be a nice change of pace for my business and personal travel. If the Amtrak service to Harrisburg is eliminated it would be a travesty for Pittsburgh and all stops in between. I encourage anyone who will be traveling to New York City or Philadelphia to consider Amtrak.

When traveling for business I find that I can get a lot of work done while in transit on Amtrak (email, reports, phone calls, etc.). The Wi-Fi and electrical outlet access allows for many hours of connectivity and the space is much more comfortable than an airplane. And when you get to New York you are in the heart of the city. No taxi necessary, as is from LaGuardia or JFK.

Yes, I agree it does take longer to get there, but the decreased stress level and increased productivity while onboard more than makes up for it. I suggest you compare your actual door-to-door time with air travel and balance that with all the other benefits of train travel.

Who knows, if you like the Amtrak option, you may be inclined to contact your state representative and the governor to encourage the necessary funding for the Pennsylvanian route.

JOHN PLAZEK
McCandless


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