Riding the Rails

AmtrakA week ago, I had the delightful pleasure of taking 3 separate trains on my journey home. Trains have peppered my life in lovely ways: the electric train set my parents gave me when I was a child, the trains from the then-beautiful Rochester train station to New York’s Grand Central Station where we met up with beloved friends and relatives, and the daily Long Island Rail Road trains I took to the city and that gave me an extra hour of sleep thanks to their rhythmic rocking and soothing whistle. Then there was the train trip from Grand Central to Florida my parents and I took to spend a fun-in-the-sun vacation during a high school Spring Break. We had a sleeper cabin for this trip and took our meals in the first-class dining car, complete with white-coated waiters, china and real-silver utensils.

I love Amtrak. Granted, my trip to Rochester was long, but Amtrak was clean, on time, and staffed with the friendly and professional conductors who out shown their “fly the friendly skies” counterparts. I didn’t have to deal with the  dreaded turbulence, and the coach seats were spacious and comfortable.

If you have never considered traveling by rail, here are some things complied by the Huntington Post that you may find interesting.

  1. Most eco-friendly mode of travel: Yep – train travel is 14 percent more energy efficient than air travel and 31 percent more efficient per passenger car travel.
  2. Guides: If your train travels through any national parks, you’ll be treated to an expert talk as you pass through.
  3. Breakfast in bed: Can you believe it? If you opt to house yourself in a sleeper car, your attendant can actually provide you with bedside service.
  4. Baths and showers: Some sleepers actually have private baths; for those that don’t, public showers are available.
  5. Different sleeper floor plans: Most sleeper cabins are configured to house 1 or 2 people, with comfortable seats for daytime and convertible and/or pull-down beds for sleeping. Some have baths. Others have additional features to accommodate kids. Finally, some cabins are designed for passengers with disabilities.
  6. Coach is not your airplane coach: Coach seats in airplanes are getting smaller and smaller, resulting in significant passenger discomfort and even injury. Coach seats on trains are comfortable, spacious and offer plenty of leg room and storage for your carry-ons.
  7. Hungry? Amtrak trains include a café car that offers snacks, quick meals, drinks, even wine and beer. I enjoyed a glass of chardonnay on my trip home to Rochester.
  8. Need to charge your phone, tablet or laptop? Electric outlets are available at each seat.
  9. Wifi? Included!

My trip home took 12 hours, but every hour was worthwhile. I people watched, read, did crossword puzzles and simply relaxed. It was heaven and already I’m planning my next ride on the rails.

Want to know more? Check out  Amtrak National Facts for detailed information.

About

An author, a teacher, a candlestick maker? I am lucky enough to have followed my muse through a most eclectic life of many careers, many interests, and many friends and liasions. Two beautiful children, now grown and one their own, several books -- the penultimate accomplishment dream come true, a hores trainer, a college professor, and a stint in corporate America to validate my feelings that I never, ever want to go there again. So I donned my ruby slippers and dared to take those different paths, those diverging paths, and that has made all the difference! (Thank you, Robert!)

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