Thursday, January 14, 2010

Advantages of a Train:

Cribbed from RailsNW: Train Blog:


1. No wait, no security. Amtrak asks passengers to be at the train 30 minutes before departure. If you show up a little late, you simply walk straight on the train and find a seat that looks good to you.

2. If you want to pee, go pee. There’s never a time on a train when you can’t stand up and do whatever you want. And that includes having a nice lunch in the dining car, which is what I’m going to go do now.

3. The seats ACTUALLY RECLINE! Instead of the 1.5 inches of lean that the little silver button will give you on a plane, Amtrak’s big black button gives a recline of about eight inches. I could actually sleep in this chair! If I wasn’t so excited about how much it reclines.

4. PLUGS! Some planes are starting to finally provide power jacks so we can keep charged through long flights. But all Amtrak trains have three-pronged jacks to keep you electrified throughout your journey.

5. No NAGGING: It’s a frakkin' pleasure not having someone bug me about my seatback and tray tables and whether my electronic device is approved for that particular segment of the trip. And no seatbelts at all! Whether or not that’s technically safe, it’s certainly more comfortable.

6. Legroom: As a six foot + guy, I notice a couple extra inches here. And it’s nice.

7. No beverage cart slamming into your knees and elbows. The beverage cart on a plane absolutely ensures that you never ever ever put any piece of your body into the aisle. Well, the train aisle is considerably wider, for one, and the cart is nonexistent.

8. Treats: If you happen to want a cheese danish on an airplane, you’re out of luck. Not here, my friends. And the cost of said treats is much more modest than the $5 you’ll pay for a snack pack on American Airlines, filled with crap you probably don’t even want.

9. You handle your baggage. If you lose your bags on a train, it’s your fault. There’s no waiting at the baggage claim and no worrying about how the baggage handlers (or TSA) will treat your bags.



Photo not by MP154. I take all my own photographs unless otherwise indicated.


dmurray said...

My darling wife and I rode a train twice, once on our honeymoon and once to Reno for a getaway. Both times we gravely delayed. Flag on the play: anecdotal sample, offense, fifteen yards, loss of down.

Coming back from Reno our loquacious Amtrak conductor never missed a chance to blame freight traffic for everything. Ha. Ha.

Returning from Glenwood Springs, Colorado on our honeymoon I slept like a baby because we had not moved for hours when a dependent adult, off his medication, traveling with his mother fled the train in the middle of nowhere.

Mom reported the "escape." The train stopped, the local cops were called. We were stopped and did not move. Hours later the officers found and returned the adult who agreed to resume medication. Did I mention that the crew died to the law?

(Insert way too many carriage returns here)

Then much later we resumed our railroad ride across this great land.

When the train was moving things were grand. I liked the Time Tunnel trip back to the 1970's decor, appliances, furniture, hardware and decor.

You list holds up well in my estimation.

Milepost 154 said...

DM: UP freight traffic is predominantly responsible for your passenger delays. That is correct. But, more than that, it is the nature of the Roseville Sub. UP still does not have 141-pound rail on all of the Number 1 and Number 2 tracks from Roseville to Sparks. There is still jointed rail here, not CWR (Continuous Welded Rail).

If you still hear the "clickety-clack" of rail, that's a disservice.

The goal is to have CWR on all routes because rail joints are tough on the rail and doubly tough on the wheels.


dmurray said...

The contrasts in rail appeal to me. The dime sized contact patches carry that weight, transmit the motive force, struggle to halt what they first were called on to move. It reminds me of skinny electrical transmission power lines that carry huge potential that is stepped down to us consumers.

You mentioned in the past maintenance of the lines and shoring up rights of way. Pounding, vibration, erosion, rot, rust, heat, cold against metallurgy, expertise and energy.

Drama carried out indeed, I think, in terms of physics and philosophy.