Sunday, December 13, 2009

Railing At Trains

I took a train to Connecticut this week to visit with family. It has been a while since I’ve traveled by train but the experience was educational, to say the least. While I recommend the interesting ride, there are definitely things that you need to know before succumbing to the romance of rail travel.

1. The train schedule is not really a schedule, it is more like a list of suggestions. Amtrak will get you there, but it’s anybody’s guess as to when that will happen.
2. Trains travel at 90mph on elevated rails with sharp corners. Trains travel at 10mph going through the woods. Maybe the driver is afraid of the deer, or gets train driving confused with roller coaster driving.
3. There is an underbelly to America that can only be seen from the train. We all need to look carefully at this view and remember to be grateful for everything we have, which includes not living in a tent on the side of the tracks.
4. Amtrak has no security. There are gangster kids and people speaking Arabic. And yes, that’s right, no one has checked to see what’s in their luggage. It’s better if you don’t think about it.
5. People walk for miles to dump things on the side of the tracks. I saw one sink in Maryland, one boat in Delaware and a 1940-something car in Connecticut. Wouldn’t it be easier to just go to the dump?
6. Yes, there is a dining car. The cost for one can of soda and one small bag of potato chips is $3.75. You would at least expect to get a ball game or something for those prices.

If you are a patient person, this can be a fun way to travel. And best of all, it can be very affordable. But remember, review the above list before boarding so that you will know what to expect. Happy travels!

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