Post-trip statistics

23Mar08
Start Finish Mode Distance (km) Cost ($)
Edmonton Vancouver Train 1153 209
Vancouver Seattle Bus 230 43
Seattle Portland Train 279 36
Portland Salem Bus 74 11
Salem Sacramento Train 718 59
Sacramento Richmond Train 50 19
Emeryville Merced Train 197 29
Merced Yosemite Bus 103 24
Yosemite Merced Bus 103 24
Merced Bakersfield Train 265 32
Bakerville Los Angeles Bus 179 21
Los Angeles San Diego Train 193 29
San Diego Los Angeles Train 193 29
Los Angeles Santa Barbara Train 153 21
Santa Barbara San Luis Obispo Train 171 25
San Luis Obispo Emeryville Bus 368 34
Emeryville Salt Lake City Train 1169 68
Salt Lake City Denver Train 859 82
Denver Chicago Train 1618 119
Chicago Buffalo Train 863 72
Buffalo Toronto Train 158 37
Toronto Ottawa Train 453 90
Total Distance 9549
Dollars/km 0.063776312
Total carbon emissions (kg) 467.901
 
Total value of rail pass 1113
Money “saved” 504

Hopefully this will be useful to anyone researching the North American Rail Pass (which I got for $609 Canadian). Obviously, I got good value out of it — and even seeing all those cities, the trip emitted less than half the carbon of a flight. However, if I had a purchased this pass in high season, as a non-youth, for $999, I would have only been “saving” $114. With that, it’s not so clear it’s worth limiting myself to 30 days, and losing the ability to travel by cheaper modes (such as Greyhound or commuter trains in SF and LA) at some points in the trip.

Interestingly, Amtrak trips seem a lot cheaper than VIA trips of comparable distances; I would expected the Canadian government to be better at a subsidizing a money-losing public corporation than the Americans, but apparently not. Based on that, I would say that the Canada-only pass ($450) is actually much better value, if all you care about is cheaply getting what would normally be overpriced.

Disclaimers:

-distances are based on highway distances between cities; Google Maps doesn’t calculate rail trips (yet)

-prices are pulled from hypothetical bookings on the Amtrak and VIA sites; these prices do vary

-emissions are based on a rate of 49g/km, which is mentioned as a liberal estimate here

-US and Canadian dollars are treated as interchangeable

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4 Responses to “Post-trip statistics”

  1. 1 KK

    What was the purpose of this trip?

  2. I guess it was tautological: The purpose of the trip was to take a trip. And see the west coast of the States.

  3. 4 KK

    Were you very tired when you reached Pembroke?


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