Train travel

What can I say to advocate for train travel to you?

I love trains, maybe more than most people.  I wrote my undergrad thesis about trains and American history, and I just LOVE them.  Train stations beautiful, and trains connected cities and encouraged growth in the right way, I believe.

That’s why I was so heartened to hear that Obama is investing $13 billion into high-speed rail development in the US.  If we don’t all die of the flu first, this will be a very good thing for our country.  I get worried when I see all those rail-to-trail conversions — a great thing for bikes in the short run, but I don’t want to see our rail infrastructure disappear.


I took the train to New York last weekend.  Let me tell you, even just the atmosphere at the station is so refreshing……I waited with an excited crowd, and when the train whistled and came rushing down towards us my heart started beating fast and the little kids around me jumped and shouted.  I got on and settled into my roomy, roomy seat, knowing that I could move around the train as I pleased during the 9.5 hours I would be on it.  Which I know is a long time, but if you bring lots of snacks and entertainment it’s really a pleasure.


Of course, the view is beautiful, especially the Vermont part of the ride.  It’s interesting to see all the towns I know really well from the train perspective, not a car perspective.  Here is Brattleboro:


If you look closely, you can also catch site of people’s secret little spots down by the train tracks — I saw a lot of little campsites, tents, hideaways, party spots, and many, many old 40 bottles.  The history of this sort of culture and train track landscape is best transferred through this excellent book, one of my favorites:


I highly recommend it!  I also saw train buffs, watching the trains — not the Amtrak, of course, but some obscure freights.

So take the train!  You won’t regret it.  I don’t even have to mention what a good thing it is to do, environmentally.  It’s also very quiet.  You might also meet people on the train.  And national train day is coming up; it’s May 9th!


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