Western Massachusetts has just one passenger train that runs (once a day) up and down the north/south length of the Connecticut River Valley, connecting some of the bigger towns with Vermont and Connecticut. As if one train a day isn’t bad enough, the new cover feature of the local weekly exposes just how inadequate it is:

Assuming the train is on time, which it often isn’t, it takes two hours and nine minutes to get from Brattleboro, Vt. to Springfield, Mass. That’s an average speed of 27 miles per hour. Driving from Brattleboro to Springfield usually takes under an hour.

Grist relies on the support of generous readers like you. Donate today to keep our climate news free. All donations matched!

We’re all going to have to get out of our cars and onto the horse to turn train wrecks like this one around. This region is full of progressive people with zero mass transit options — even the bus service is sketchy. We’ve got to start making other arrangements, as James Kunstler likes to say, in this country and in our lives. His latest rant on this topic is a real call to arms:

As the American public keeps sleepwalking into a future of energy scarcity, climate change, and geopolitical turmoil, we have also continued dreaming. Our collective dream is one of those super-vivid ones people have just before awakening. It is a particularly American dream on a particularly American theme: how to keep all the cars running by some other means than gasoline …

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Rebuilding our train infrastructure is one thing we must do. I’d like to start with the cute little trolley system that ferried folks out of the foothills every day to the Valley, back before the car took over …