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How to Spend 47 Hours on a Train and Not Go Crazy
NY Times ^ | February 28, 2013 | NATHANIEL RICH

Posted on 03/03/2013 2:46:18 AM PST by iowamark

Vickie, Alice, Lisa, Debbie, Barbara, Chris, Clair and Cootz boarded the Los Angeles-bound Sunset Limited in Schriever, La., and immediately took residence in the glass-sheathed Sightseer Lounge car. The eight women squeezed into two booths on either side of the aisle and began to scream with laughter.

With a quiet, pneumatic exhalation, the Sunset Limited left the station; it was 90 minutes into its journey, with 45 hours and 5 minutes to go... It climbed steadily for two miles before passing over the dizzyingly narrow span of the Huey P. Long Bridge. From up there, 145 feet above the Mississippi River, the river’s full double turn, like a lowercase m written in a lazy cursive, was visible; you could see why they called New Orleans the Crescent City...

Long-distance-train passengers tend to belong to one of four categories. The first, perhaps most obvious category is occupied by people who refuse to fly, whether because of religious beliefs, fear or health reasons, but there are fewer of these than you might expect. The second category belongs to train buffs, known less commonly as rail fans, GERFs (glassy-eyed rail fans), or foamers, a term coined by railroad employees to refer to people who became so excited by trains that they seem to foam at the mouth like rabies victims.

In the United States, there are more than 100,000 train watchers, according to one estimate, a number that includes a 70-year-old retiree from Germantown, Md., named Steve King, whose first job, in 1959, was to serve as an operator for B & O Railroad. Though King identifies himself as a “transportation geek"

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Travel
KEYWORDS: amtrak; railroad; trains Comment #1 Removed by Moderator

To: iowamark

Two days, NO to LA?

I can drive faster than that.

Probably cheaper, too.


2 posted on 03/03/2013 3:28:22 AM PST by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: DuncanWaring

I doubtyou can do it much faster , but damned sure cheaper.

When you figure the cost of the train plus meals that they have a monopoly on and a price to match. I believe you can buy a round trip flight for the cost of a one way train trip.


3 posted on 03/03/2013 3:53:02 AM PST by Venturer
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To: Venturer

“When you figure the cost of the train plus meals that they have a monopoly on and a price to match. I believe you can buy a round trip flight for the cost of a one way train trip.”

Plus, the price of your train ticket doesn’t include the taxpayer subsidy of the service.


4 posted on 03/03/2013 4:16:34 AM PST by Soul of the South (Yesterday is gone. Today will be what we make of it.)
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To: iowamark

I have journeyed from Dallas to Seattle by train once, and it was indeed a strange odyssey flush with curious characters as described in this story, the most memorable of which was a particularly frisky female trucker from Henderson, Tx. The Air Force chick from Vista, Ca was cool and her company seemed to speed up time. There were drunken fights over card games and a great many people just smelled horribly. I remember a businessman from N Ca remarked to me that he was going to burn his clothes when he got home. I understood. The scenery was unforgettable in a different way, but I will never do such a thing again. Once is enough. But if you are contemplating a similar ride make sure you have a pvt sleeper cabin with a functional safety lock, because those trucker ladies get lonely something fierce.


5 posted on 03/03/2013 4:22:07 AM PST by Dysart
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To: DuncanWaring

Two days is nothing flat. In the 70s I rode in passenger cars that were connected in cross country freight trains. A New Jersey to California trip took TWO WEEKS. Of course, most of the time was spent in rail yards. But we could only go a few feet from the car, because there was never any hint of when the train would leave.


6 posted on 03/03/2013 4:32:05 AM PST by norwaypinesavage (Galileo: In science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of one individual)
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To: Dysart
ROTFLMAO--Mine was a nurse. She kept buying me drinks. I was on my way home from college, so I didn't care.

Funny part was when they poured us off the train in Chicago. My dad was there to pick me up, and the look he gave me when he saw the red-headed floozy on my arm was priceless.

7 posted on 03/03/2013 4:37:24 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: DuncanWaring

I guess I’m one of those train fans. I’ve taken the train from NJ to New Orleans (and back) twice. I’m commuting by train now and I love that too.

My grandfather was a conductor on the 20th Century Limited that ran from NY to Chicago. He knew many celebrities from his job. So it’s in my blood I suppose.

In fact, it’s one of my life’s dreams to take the train across country, but it would be expensive.

I will say that by far the best crab cakes I ever had were the ones I had on Amtrak. Crab cakes and fried green tomatoes, delish!


8 posted on 03/03/2013 4:59:21 AM PST by jocon307
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To: 1rudeboy
ROTFLMAO

I swear some of the best story threads are the ones we'll never see.......

9 posted on 03/03/2013 5:13:16 AM PST by onona (KCCO, and mind the gap)
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To: DuncanWaring

Refusing to fly “because of religious beliefs”??? C’mon. Who refuses to fly because of religious beliefs?? The NY Slimes making up crap as usual to make people of faith look like loons.


10 posted on 03/03/2013 5:25:14 AM PST by bigdaddy45
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To: DuncanWaring

Riding on the City of New Orleans,
Illinois Central Monday morning rail
Fifteen cars and fifteen restless riders,
Three conductors and twenty-five sacks of mail.
All along the southbound odyssey
The train pulls out at Kankakee
Rolls along past houses, farms and fields.
Passin’ trains that have no names,
Freight yards full of old black men
And the graveyards of the rusted automobiles.

CHORUS:
Good morning America how are you?
Don’t you know me I’m your native son,
I’m the train they call The City of New Orleans,
I’ll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done.


11 posted on 03/03/2013 5:25:36 AM PST by Mercat (Never laugh at live dragons)
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To: DuncanWaring

When I was in college my dad worked for Greyhound. I rode a lot of buses. I remember counting up the miles once and could have gone around the world but that could be wrong. I was never good at math. But whenever he could my dad put me on the bus and told the driver not to let anyone sit with me. I was told to sit on the aisle until the bus left and then spread out my stuff to claim the whole seat. It usually worked. There were some pretty sketchy people on buses in the 60s. I was shy. I probably missed learning a lot about life.


12 posted on 03/03/2013 5:28:12 AM PST by Mercat (Never laugh at live dragons)
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To: onona
Wife and I plus another couple got on Amtrak at Osceola, Iowa for a ski trip to Glenwood Springs, Colorado. We got the sleeper compartments which was a good idea.
They stopped the train for exactly 4 minutes and two conductors jumped down and tossed our gear on the train. We brought our own adult beverages and some snacks.
We stopped once more at Omaha, then went screaming into the flatlands along I-80 at 80 + mph on smooth, continuous welded rail.
We got to Denver at noon and had lunch on the train, stepping off for ten minutes to look inside the train retail store.
The uphill pull was slow out of Denver but we arrived Glenwood at about 3pm. The station was across the street from the hotel and we walked over and checked in. The hotel package included a ski pass and rental skis. Good fun, good chow.
We flew back.
13 posted on 03/03/2013 5:35:34 AM PST by Eric in the Ozarks (NRA Life Member)
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To: jocon307
Find a few friends and charter something like this:

http://www.northernsky.com/video1.asp

14 posted on 03/03/2013 5:35:50 AM PST by Paladin2
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To: iowamark

“Cootz”?

No, thanks...I’ll drive...


15 posted on 03/03/2013 5:54:15 AM PST by mrs. a (It's a short life but a merry one...)
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To: DuncanWaring

I’ll bet Willie Green was on that train writing his national rail system manifesto.


16 posted on 03/03/2013 6:02:13 AM PST by TADSLOS (The Event Horizon has come and gone. Buckle up and hang on.)
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To: Soul of the South

I don’t recall prices. but a couple of years back I wanted to go across to California on the train and fly back. When I saw the cost of a compartment to sleep in and food and the price of the ticket, I soon changed my mind.


17 posted on 03/03/2013 6:06:43 AM PST by Venturer
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To: DuncanWaring

Bring a few books, a pillow, a blanket, and couple of bags of cookies?


18 posted on 03/03/2013 6:16:33 AM PST by Little Ray (Waiting for the return of the Gods of the Copybook Headings.)
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To: DuncanWaring
In 1980, I took an Amtrak train from Los Angeles to Ann Arbor, Mich. and back. It was 14 hours late getting in and 12 hours late getting back. Its air conditioning also failed, and the windows couldn't be opened. As a result, it quickly ran out of beer, and passengers stormed a liquor store in La Junta, Colo. to fill up.

After that trip, I swore that I would never again ride Amtrak--and I never have.

19 posted on 03/03/2013 6:34:55 AM PST by Fiji Hill (Io Triumphe!)
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To: bigdaddy45

Even the Amish do not see technology as evil or “satanic” instead they see it as making life easier, which is against their philosphy that work should be hard and meaningful. There is also the idea that by having less the chance to covet and envy is greatlly reduced.


20 posted on 03/03/2013 6:37:15 AM PST by LukeL (Barack Obama: Jimmy Carter 2 Electric Boogaloo)
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To: LukeL

On September 11, I took the Path train into lower Manhattan from Jersey.

That was the last time I have been on a train.


21 posted on 03/03/2013 7:12:53 AM PST by EQAndyBuzz (Got a problem? Nothing a drone strike can't fix.)
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To: All

How about London to HongKong? Although there were stops along the way, the TransSiberian part of the trip was all train, night and day. I’d do it in a minute again!


22 posted on 03/03/2013 7:32:23 AM PST by Exit148
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To: Exit148

When was your trip and how long did it take? It always nice to have an idea of when events happened because things change so much. (They don’t do it like they used to.)

P.S. I’m envious! What a trip! I can’t imagine the scenery.


23 posted on 03/03/2013 8:00:10 AM PST by Perseverando (Gun control? It's really not about gun control is it? It's really about PEOPLE CONTROL!)
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To: DuncanWaring

I thought about taking the train from Houston to Raleigh, looked at the schedule, the massive layover in Charleston and the price and drove.

The train in this country is a novelty except in the East and Chicago area. If it can’t be run right and profitably and affordably it needs to be shut down.

To experience train travel Dad, my Son and I made the loop from Houston to LA, Seattle, Chicago and back to Houston. That was in the early 90s. We had a good time save for the tension in LA from the Rodney King mess and in Chicago where the station polarized to a near riot over a smoking Black and some cancer survivor who didn’t want the Black to smoke in an area that said no smoking. Adding to the tension was that Amtrak was late and lied many times about when the train would board.

Amazingly, or maybe not, travel was much better in the 30’s than it is now. People from the little Eastern Oklahoma town of Marble City on the Katy commuted to Kansas City for jobs. They would board the train on Sunday evening and arrive before work on Monday. On Friday they would board the train after work and be home for the weekend by Saturday morning having slept all night on the train. It was affordable. The commuters were school teachers.

Try that today. Won’t work.


24 posted on 03/03/2013 8:46:20 AM PST by Sequoyah101
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To: DuncanWaring; Venturer; iowamark

“Two days, NO to LA? I can drive faster than that. Probably cheaper, too.”

Driving distance, 1900 miles
Driving time, 27 hrs (based on average speeds, within speed limit)
Fuel cost, $274 (based on 27 mpg highway, $3.90/gal gas cost)

And that is a $550 rt fuel cost, if you don’t drive around LA.


25 posted on 03/03/2013 9:04:35 AM PST by GGpaX4DumpedTea (I am a Tea Party descendant...steeped in the Constitutional Republic given to us by the Founders.)
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To: bigdaddy45

Agree.

What he really meant was people take the train because they DON’T have a RELIGIOUS BELIEF IN THE TSA.

So, by the thinking(?) of the NYT reporter, that makes them loons.


26 posted on 03/03/2013 10:15:36 AM PST by Hulka
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To: All

Anyone have have knowledge of Trans-Canadian train?
I have heard it makes stops, when you ask, for hunters and campers.


27 posted on 03/03/2013 10:46:35 AM PST by GOYAKLA (Waiting for the Golden Screw to be removed from Obama's navel and his a$$ falls off!)
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To: Paladin2

Thanks. I went to your link. Per person cost of $1000/day is pretty steep. But for those who can afford it, sounds great.

I am glad we have our travel trailer. Heading out for a 2-week trip pretty soon, AAMOF.


28 posted on 03/03/2013 10:50:25 AM PST by Bigg Red (Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved! -Ps80)
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To: Perseverando

It was 1990,(Late August, September, to the middle of October) and it took 6 weeks because of the tourist stops.

The Berlin Wall had just come down and the remnants were still there, as was Checkpoint Charlie. Mongolia had just shaken off Russia and was an independent country. There was a stark contrast between drab Russia and the color of Mongolia! The Russians all wore dark, plain colors and walked without pep — or so it seemed. I didn’t think anything of it, until we went into Mongolia and the people were spirited and were brightly dressed. Marked difference! And a difference in the farmlands of Russia and China. Busy workers all over the Northern Chinese farms, but deserted in Russia.

I’d love to do the trip again just to see the differences, now.

One thing about train travel is that you get a bird’s eye view of what you see in the countryside as compared to the modern cities. There is the intrigue of foreign geography, of course, but you also see the people just living their lives. Impressions I will never forget.

Scenery? I’ll never forget those White Birch forests in Russia — or the living Gobi Desert. I always thought of deserts as being deserted. Well the Gobe changed my mind. So much wild life!!! Little tiny villages — I mean TINY, and lone horse men off in the distance. A life I can’t even imagine!


29 posted on 03/03/2013 11:16:58 AM PST by Exit148
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To: 1rudeboy
Mine was a nurse. She kept buying me drinks. I was on my way home from college, so I didn't care.

I've never tried it on a train (all my trips were short hops) but I have it on good authority that there is nothing like sex on a train. Something about the "rhythm of the rails" providing all the motion...

Of course, you might not remember those details.

Regards,
GtG

30 posted on 03/03/2013 11:50:47 AM PST by Gandalf_The_Gray (I live in my own little world, I like it 'cuz they know me here.)
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To: EQAndyBuzz
On September 11, I took the Path train into lower Manhattan from Jersey

Yikes..in 2001?

How did you get home?

31 posted on 03/04/2013 5:36:38 AM PST by what's up
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To: Exit148

Thanks so much for sharing some of the details of your journey. I am so envious!


32 posted on 03/04/2013 7:20:22 AM PST by Perseverando (Gun control? It's really not about gun control is it? It's really about PEOPLE CONTROL!)
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To: what's up

Ferry to Jersey. Hitched a ride to Short Hills Hilton. Wife picked me up from there.


33 posted on 03/04/2013 9:34:17 AM PST by EQAndyBuzz (Got a problem? Nothing a drone strike can't fix.)
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To: EQAndyBuzz

Wow. That must have been quite a day.


34 posted on 03/04/2013 9:43:35 AM PST by what's up
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To: Paladin2

That looks “mahvelous!”

If I hit Lotto I will do it, and invite you for sure!


35 posted on 03/07/2013 4:13:31 AM PST by jocon307
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