Business and Industry

Train Propaganda Sure to Win Your Heart


The train will take you right to your front door.

Las Vegas Railway Express, Inc., entrepreneurs behind the "X" Train, thought I'd be interested in their choo-choo Photoshop greeting card [pdf]. And they were right!

The company is looking to crank up the old Desert Wind line from L.A. to Vegas, and that nineties "X" fits right in with the plan. X Train would eschew the flash and mirrors of high speed rail for classic classiest class.

This is the way you travel to Vegas.

Las Vegas Railway (currently trading at 14 cents a share) knows how to sell the weird but irresistible glamour of trains. The musical site promises that celebrity chef Rick Moonen will cook for a variety of onboard restaurants, bars and lounges. Business travelers will make fast work of the five-hour trip with the help of WiFi and corporate cars. And light one up for freedom: "Finally, we feel there is an underappreciated market of those who choose to smoke, and we will have several cars designated for them."

And will the public benefit? You betcha: "Reconnecting passenger train service from Los Angeles to Las Vegas will add needed incremental revenue to Las Vegas, assist in its growth strategy, and significantly add tax revenue for the current and future developmental projects the city wants to pursue."

But X Train's pdf photo-proem is the real winner. Who wouldn't want to enter this mashup of Kinkadian coziness, found images of trains, and clunkily phrased motivationals? With this kind of craftsmanship, you know you'll be safe riding the X Train!

The X Train's business plan is hard to follow, though the company's decision to get out of its previous line in buying non-performing mortgages will allow it to focus on core competencies. But it's facing stiff competition on the Los Angeles-Las Vegas route. The high-speed Desert Xpress aims to make the trip in 90 minutes. And the confusingly named Z-Train has the same business plan as the X Train. 

What keeps all this vaporware rolling through the public imagination? It's all right there in the greeting card. The more outlandish the train idea, the more people will dream of gliding past spectacular vistas, sipping Aviations in a stately observation car. It's the mind-clouding magic of trains. 

But why doesn't anybody get excited about bringing back the dirigible? You can cruise the Bay Area in a blimp, finally use that return ticket on the Hindenburg, travel lighter than air and faster than sound. If the future belongs to a type of vehicle that last seemed modern in Captain Nemo's time, can't it at least be one of the cool ones? 

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  6. I would actually take the LA – Vegas train if it were reasonably priced and took less time than driving.

    I would pay any amount of money and tolerate a fiery crashing death to ride the LA – Vegas dirigible.

    1. Yah, me too.
      I actually don’t have any problem with trains, I like them.
      I just don’t think the government should subsidize them. But I also don’t think government should subsidize cars.

  7. Is it just that it’s very early in the morning, or did I see no Supertrain references?

    Boo. Hiss.

    1. Or how about a Big Bus reference?

      1. Bang Bus?

      2. “You know why they call me shoulders ?”

  8. Someone please correct me if I am wrong, but my guess is that the distance from Las Angeles to Las Vegas is about the same as the very South of Germany to very the North of Germany. In Germany it obviously is more viable to run trains (that does not mean they are big profitable ventures though). America and China are so big, and America also has a relative low population density, how on earth are these viable in these countries then ?

    1. Not quite. It is 265 miles from LA to Vegas. It is about 430 from Munich to Hamberg.

    2. Didn’t the pioneers of this country build railways across the country?

      Sand Diego to NY would be a cool ride, if the train was cool enough.

      1. You can do that now, if you really want to.

      2. Yes they did. And they made a lot of money when their only competition was a wagon train or a clipper ship around the horn. Once cars and airplanes came around however they were not so popular.

      3. The transportation options were somewhat limited in those days what with no automobiles or airplanes.

  9. If this particular train does not pick my pocket or break by leg, then what difference is it to me?

    1. Or my leg, for that matter.

      1. dang, i thought you were pushing for Flintstones tech.

  10. Even if stupid (for the gov’t to be involved in) TRIANS are cool… anyone notice that slides 3 and 18 were the same view in different seasons? I guess they ran out of cool views of trains… Also the X-Train is ugly.

  11. “…sipping Aviations in a stately observation car.”

    Win The Future does that mean? Is Aviation a brand of beverage that I’ve never heard of?

      1. Thank you. I really had no idea what Cavanaugh was talking about.

  12. I’m all for a privately funded high speed rail from LA to Vegas. Ever see the traffic on I-15 on Friday and Sunday? Horrendous!

  13. China’s 1.3 billion people have fewer than a 100 million cars. Compare that to the US, which has 250 million cars for 300 million people. Almost every adult in this country has a car, and our highway system is extremely well developed. Of course trains make more sense for China than the US. Even if they tripled the number of cars (and roads to support them) in the next 10 years, a huge number of people would still not have ready access to one.

    1. They also make more sense in china since it’s still developing its urban centers. The US developed them decades ago- it makes no sense for people in suburban type cities like houston or la to take public transport and intercity trains since they need cars anyway. If the urban centers are designed around public transport and intercity trains, then they can make some sense.

  14. Send those fuckers over to Jersey, and I’ll show them how well the Philly to AC train (Gambler’s Express) is working out. But hey, if a private company wants to do it, with no help from the government, except for granting the permits, then go for it, Dudes.

    1. How well does the Gambler’s Express work? The Gambler’s Express was a famous public ambition back when I was a kid. Is it in use? I didn’t even know anything had happened with it. (There should be ready rights of way, given how it was Pitney’s Folly wot built A.C. in the fustest place.)

  15. If a private company builds a passenger rail line and makes a profit, do progressives’ heads explode?

    1. Yes, because they are obviously oppressing the people.

      Oh and they’re kkkorporashuns.

      1. Profit bad, self-sacrifice good.

  16. Please tell me they serve Mountain Dew on the X (for EXTREME) Train.

    1. Philistine!

  17. Even the worst “greeting cards” have the decency to stop after two pages. This monstrosity hammers its message (?) home for another 21 pages.

  18. Weird to see snark about train propaganda right after _Atlas Shrugged: Part One of Thirty Six_ (27 of those will be the musical, all singing, all dancing cabaret version of The Speech) came out.

    I know why conservatives hate trains – they let poor people be mobile. Why do libertarians?

    1. We don’t hate trains per se. Just government subsidization of them.

  19. I ride Amtrak intercity service regularly, and recently saw Amtrak’s pro-“high speed rail” propaganda.

    Amtrak claims the Northeast Corridor already has high speed rail (in the form of its Acela line) and it wants to bring that same technology to such heavily traveled corridors as Buffalo to Syracuse and Cleveland-Toledo-Detroit.

    Even if people DID travel regularly on those routes, consider how Amtrak defines “high speed.”

    A regular old “regional” Amtrak train takes one from Philly to New York City in one hour and 12 minutes, on average, and costs about $50. A “high speed Acela” train takes one from Philly to New York City in one hour and 4 minutes — shaving off just eight minutes! And it costs $280 per ticket, too. That $230 difference, if applied across an hour, would mean you’d have to earn over $1,700 an hour just to make the “high speed” rail worth the investment.

    Total boondoggle from start to finish.

  20. Those pictures at…..613515.pdf are beautiful. Wish I could get some of them (without the text) to use as wallpapers

  21. Seems to be directed at international tourists…uses the British spelling “colour.”

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