First, I never set out to start a railway. In fact, it all started back in 2010 when Wisconsin’s Governor Walker rejected the federal funds that were to be given to Wisconsin to build a high speed rail between Madison to Milwaukee to Chicago. I downloaded a few high speed rail studies. What I could not figure out is why all of these reports just looked at rail from Amtrak’s point of view. Granted it was great to travel from city center to city center. However, what about the airports? After all, wouldn’t an integrated transportation system work better than a rail system that competes with the airlines?
However, there were a few other influences:
Growing up my Dad had built a model train set in our spare bedroom. However, I have to admit that I always had a little animosity for that train set because he never included an airport. After all, I was all about airplanes growing up.
Then back in ’99 & 2000 I had the chance to ride the Shinkansen between Tokyo and Osaka, and thought it was pretty cool. Plus I had ridden trains in Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Hong Kong (love their Airport Express), and Britain. I really liked what I experienced. They were clean, efficient, and seemed to go everywher.
However, Of course, something else happened that got me started. That was grad school.
First, I love libraries. I don’t know if it is the amount of knowledge available or just the quiet peace. However, one of the first places I go in a city or university is the library and the University of Wisconsin – Madison is no exception. Except, when I went the Wisconsin Historical Library, they didn’t have much on airplanes and airlines. However, that library had A LOT of books on passenger rail.
It turns out, Madison and Wisconsin have a very rich history of passenger rail. So that got me interested. That’s when I decided to start a research project. I figured it was a project that would make me stick out to recruiters. Well, things change and I was amazed when I talked with both American Airlines and United Airlines; and both supported the Railflyer concept. Holy cow!
So I decided to continue to perform the research and an amazing thing happened…more and more people started to believe in Railflyer. Proffesors, university staff, and even other students started to follow me. So this blog will be the up and downs of building a railroad.