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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Listener Letters

Air Date: Week of

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TOOMEY: Time now to hear from you, our listeners. Mike Sandman, from Brookline, Massachusetts, hears us on WBUR. He says that we missed the point in our story when we compared Amtrak's high-speed train to its French counterpart. "Acela doesn't compete with a TGV from Paris to Brussels," writes Mr. Sandman. "It competes with the air shuttle from Boston to New York. On a perfect travel day, it takes two-and-three-quarter hours, door-to-door, to get from a home outside Boston to mid-town Manhattan via airplane. That compares with three-and-a-half hours on the train. But there aren't many perfect air travel days in the northeast corridor. If you travel on a day when the air traffic control system goes down, or at peak periods during the day, or when the weather is bad, or when central parking is full, it can take four to six hours to complete the door-to-door journey by plane."

Scott Leonard, of Washington, D.C. heard our Acela piece on the Web. He wrote in to say that we didn't concentrate enough on the environmental benefits of riding the train. "Trains use less energy per passenger mile than planes or autos," writes Mr. Leonard. "So any railroad improvement that seeks to increase market share in that corridor should be welcomed by environmentalists."

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We welcome your comments on our program. Call our listener line anytime at 800-218-9988. Our e-mail is letters@loe.org. And visit our webpage at www.loe.org. CDs, tapes and transcripts are $15.00. You're listening to NPR's Living on Earth.

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