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(Jalopnik)   "I took Amtrak instead of flying and it made me want to die"   (jalopnik.com) divider line
    More: Amusing, Rail transport, Amtrak, Railroad car, Public transport, Locomotive, Train, Amtrak tickets, tops of the train cars  
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2090 clicks; posted to Business » on 25 Mar 2019 at 11:43 PM (3 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2019-03-25 11:29:15 PM  
I prefer trains over planes for short distances. The ability to stretch your legs a bit on the way to the dining car is bliss and stumbling back to your seat is an adventure.
 
2019-03-25 11:34:21 PM  
If you're not taking a regional commuter, Amtrak is a bit of a weird dinosaur. People take them for various reasons, and you bump into ALL kinds of people on the long distance lines. I took the train from Chicago to San Diego, with a layover in Albuquerque, round trip.

It's slow going, a bit surreal at times. There are some very odd people on the train, and some very normal people. There are families hauling multiple children, retirees "seeing the country," and folks mortally scared of flying. You see some country (mostly flat and arrid), and some real scenery.

Food choices are limited. Bring your own booze, or pay staduum prices for beer.

American railroads are in poor repair. Expect delays. On the way back, the train stopes on the side of a mountain in, I think, Arizona. For 18 hours. The dining car ran out of food. They rationed water and fed everyone on the train a serving of rice the next day. It was a rough trip, but once you're on the train, you're on the train.

Amtrak is no luxury experience. It is technically an "alternative" to flying, but not any cheaper (and a hell of a lot slower, save for a few heavily traveled Acela type routes).
 
2019-03-25 11:49:04 PM  

beezeltown: If you're not taking a regional commuter, Amtrak is a bit of a weird dinosaur. People take them for various reasons, and you bump into ALL kinds of people on the long distance lines. I took the train from Chicago to San Diego, with a layover in Albuquerque, round trip.

It's slow going, a bit surreal at times. There are some very odd people on the train, and some very normal people. There are families hauling multiple children, retirees "seeing the country," and folks mortally scared of flying. You see some country (mostly flat and arrid), and some real scenery.

Food choices are limited. Bring your own booze, or pay staduum prices for beer.

American railroads are in poor repair. Expect delays. On the way back, the train stopes on the side of a mountain in, I think, Arizona. For 18 hours. The dining car ran out of food. They rationed water and fed everyone on the train a serving of rice the next day. It was a rough trip, but once you're on the train, you're on the train.

Amtrak is no luxury experience. It is technically an "alternative" to flying, but not any cheaper (and a hell of a lot slower, save for a few heavily traveled Acela type routes).


This. T did Philly to Seattle, then to Los Angeles and back round trip. I did it for the experience of traveling cross country, meeting folks, and kicking back in my roomette drinking and watching the scenery lesuirely roll by. No regrets

/Except when the train was so late getting to Chicago they made us get off, hop on a bus, and meet the train we would have missed in Chicago in Indianapolis instead.  Ironically They played the movie "Fly Away Home" on the bus.
 
2019-03-26 12:00:01 AM  
I personally prefer the train  especially overnight. I bring my laptop, plug it in and I'm good for hours.
 
2019-03-26 12:08:11 AM  
Back when I was in the Navy and stationed at Great Lakes (north of Chicago), I'd often take the train back and forth from there to north central Montana. It was often surreal, exciting, depressing, beautiful, and sometimes adventurously (i.e. sexually) fun. It was 13 hours and I have fond memories of it.

Nowadays, I occasionally take the Denver to Grand Junction route and LOVE it. It's never on time, but it's super-relaxing and pleasant (a 'first' class cabin) overall, plus the scenery is spectacular.

I wish we had high-speed rail like Japan and quality service like Germany. We'd be in such better shape if we did.
 
2019-03-26 12:11:18 AM  
I can't ever imagine taking a train. I'll either fly a 737 MAX-8 or drive. Faster, safer and cheaper.  fark trains.
 
2019-03-26 12:15:02 AM  
I was on a non commuter rail about 12 years ago... 4 hour trip into Chicago. I got drunk on Heineken because the other options were worse.

/meh.
 
2019-03-26 12:17:37 AM  

Non Sequitur Man: I prefer trains over planes for short distances. The ability to stretch your legs a bit on the way to the dining car is bliss and stumbling back to your seat is an adventure.


Trains usually put you into the middle of the city of your destination. And airports are increasingly abhorrent experiences.
 
2019-03-26 12:19:20 AM  
My family took Amtrak from the Chicago to DC line when I was in high school. It was actually fun, since most of the time was sleeping and overnight hours. The mini rooms on the train were fine, just cramped.

Boarding at 1am and getting to DC at 8am the next day was super easy. And on the way back, the train was delayed getting into Union Station. The girl at the counter gave us advice about the US Postal Museum, which was across the street. There is about 3 hours worth of fun in that museum, which was exactly how much time we needed to kill.
 
2019-03-26 12:22:08 AM  

majestic: I can't ever imagine taking a train. I'll either fly a 737 MAX-8 or drive. Faster, safer and cheaper.  fark trains.


Safer?   Shinkansen are safer than planes, about the same price and just a little less speed over short and medium distances, but with a hell of a lot more room and cheaper beer.
 
2019-03-26 12:23:42 AM  
Auto-train. Drive to Orlando, your car is loaded on the train.

You and your car show up just outside DC 21 hours later (if on time, lol).

About $190 with a substantial AAA discount.

Bring plenty of food and booze, arriving 3-6 hours late is typical. Stay calm if the train catches fire, they'll evacuate a car or two while they attack it with extinguishers.
 
2019-03-26 12:30:03 AM  
Amtrak? Yes, it will make you want to die, even if you don't mind that their trains are not super new. Because they don't operate a transport service, they operate a tourism service, one that runs on the whims of freight rail companies. Amtrak is what happens when rail is seen as obsolete and treated as such.

I took many older and newer trains in Japan, and even the regional rail that wasn't a Shinkansen line went far over 40 mph. I took the Kuroshio out to Kii-Tanabe from Osaka. It was comfortable and took a couple hours, certainly faster than Amtrak. I listened to some music, read a little, had a snack, took pictures. Then I arrived. That last bit is the important part that Amtrak doesn't seem to do.

I have taken Amtrak before, from Portland to Seattle, which was actually not bad. It's close enough to the speed of driving and instead of having to fark around in traffic you can read. That said, it's not world class by any means, and in a sane country it would be much faster than traffic. We are not a sane country.

Honestly, we are barely better than most of the "third world" countries we used to look down upon so condescendingly when I was a kid. We don't have the pollution they have (as much as the R team wants it back), but now a lot of those formerly very poor countries are getting better while we get worse. They're building health care systems and transit systems and education systems while we are busy tearing ours to pieces, or worse, spending a lot of money on half assed ideas (see Seattle or Honolulu, which seem to want to build transit without having a clue as to how to make it worthwhile or good).
 
2019-03-26 12:36:21 AM  
The SO took Amtrak from BHM to Greensboro NC for Thanksgiving. I couldn't make it this year...but he loved it.
Especially being able to avoid driving through ATL...Thanksgiving week.

He was ultra happy. I had packed a little soft sided cooler with sandwiches, juices...and another thermos with ice tea and he had Vodka and club soda. You can bring all that on Amtrak. With Free Wifi for netsurfing..and I DL some movies for him..he was happy as a clam. I called him about 5 hours in a and he was like "FARK THIS DRIVING CRAP..."

I'm really looking forward to next Thanksgiving and taking the train to NC. Yeah..I know it's overnight but being able to bring set ups, bring drinks, food, watch a laptop movie, and not have to deal with the cluster fark of TSA and air travel. yup...for this type of trip I'll do Amtrak.
 
2019-03-26 12:45:50 AM  
None of this was helped by the interminable slowness of the train, as it plodded its way through white-and-gray-and-black mottled wilderness and sad, forgotten little towns and abandoned industrial areas wearing mantles of rust and decay.
img.fark.netView Full Size
 
2019-03-26 12:59:40 AM  
My lottery winning bucket list is doing the Indian Pacific...from Sydney to Adelaide in a full queen sleeper and then changing to the Ghan to Alice Springs...(with short flight to Uluru) 
AUSTRALIA'S MOST LUXURIOUS TRAIN: THE INDIAN PACIFIC
Youtube CRjaHs-r6bc

https://www.greatsouthernrail.com.au/​t​rains/the-indian-pacific/all-inclusive​-journeys
Maybe when I get a pension...maybe.
 
2019-03-26 01:16:41 AM  

adamatari: Amtrak? Yes, it will make you want to die, even if you don't mind that their trains are not super new. Because they don't operate a transport service, they operate a tourism service, one that runs on the whims of freight rail companies. Amtrak is what happens when rail is seen as obsolete and treated as such.

I took many older and newer trains in Japan, and even the regional rail that wasn't a Shinkansen line went far over 40 mph. I took the Kuroshio out to Kii-Tanabe from Osaka. It was comfortable and took a couple hours, certainly faster than Amtrak. I listened to some music, read a little, had a snack, took pictures. Then I arrived. That last bit is the important part that Amtrak doesn't seem to do.

I have taken Amtrak before, from Portland to Seattle, which was actually not bad. It's close enough to the speed of driving and instead of having to fark around in traffic you can read. That said, it's not world class by any means, and in a sane country it would be much faster than traffic. We are not a sane country.

Honestly, we are barely better than most of the "third world" countries we used to look down upon so condescendingly when I was a kid. We don't have the pollution they have (as much as the R team wants it back), but now a lot of those formerly very poor countries are getting better while we get worse. They're building health care systems and transit systems and education systems while we are busy tearing ours to pieces, or worse, spending a lot of money on half assed ideas (see Seattle or Honolulu, which seem to want to build transit without having a clue as to how to make it worthwhile or good).


Let's not get too carried away with bashing America, at the very least with Amtrak you are guaranteed a seat inside the train which is not quite as likely elsewhere.

The Most Overcrowded Trains in the World!
Youtube bfMfXuNRRkY
 
2019-03-26 01:21:56 AM  

adamatari: I have taken Amtrak before, from Portland to Seattle, which was actually not bad. I


As long as the train works. ( sometimes, they put you on a bus to Seattle).
 
2019-03-26 01:26:49 AM  

crinz83: None of this was helped by the interminable slowness of the train, as it plodded its way through white-and-gray-and-black mottled wilderness and sad, forgotten little towns and abandoned industrial areas wearing mantles of rust and decay.
[img.fark.net image 425x340]


I want to do the Amtrack thing one day for the scenery but I think I'd fly out West first. This dude did Raleigh to Detriot. You probably need to get out of the east to see anything interesting from a train, there's nothing to see here by the tracks except warehouses, old shiatty woodframe houses, and crappy graffitti for the most part. Maybe some trees and cows if you're lucky.
 
2019-03-26 01:27:46 AM  
^^^Detroit to Raleigh, got it twisted
 
2019-03-26 01:33:15 AM  

Scorpitron is reduced to a thin red paste: Non Sequitur Man: I prefer trains over planes for short distances. The ability to stretch your legs a bit on the way to the dining car is bliss and stumbling back to your seat is an adventure.

Trains usually put you into the middle of the city of your destination. And airports are increasingly abhorrent experiences.


Airports generally stuck.  As noted, train stations are in the downtown area, and larger cities have commuter rail that connect.  For myself, the big airport is at least an hour away, plus check in, plus TSA, plus waiting.  For a trip under 400 miles, the time kinda evens out.

CSB: a dozen years ago my dad and I took a train from South Carolina to DC.  Saw all these little towns that look like they haven't changed since the thirties.  Hit DC at dawn.  Sunrise on the Washington monument and the Capitol dome was pretty awe inspiring.
 
2019-03-26 02:35:33 AM  
Ah, trains. Really takes me back 25 years ago. Heading out west and running into some kids in the smoking car who sold me some acid. Really took the edge off the things the author was baitching about. I'll do it again someday, if we aren't denied the freedom to move about the country in the near future.

/snark
 
2019-03-26 02:47:36 AM  
Amtrak is not so good if you need to be anywhere in a prompt fashion, but if you have the time it can be an amazing journey.

I took the Empire Builder from Seattle (well, Olympia, so that was technically the Cascades) to Whitefish, rented a car to get to Missoula to help my sister move out of her dorm. 1000% better than driving. Drunk off my ass through beautiful scenery the first half, had a lovely meal in the dining car which the author's rustbelt/hillbilly express apparently lacked, then wandered through Spokane for a bit while they joined up the train from Portland. Woke up in the morning just in time to watch an eagle teaching its fledgling how to fly on the outskirts of Glacier National Park. Only gripe was I forgot to account for mountain time and had to get breakfast for my hungover ass in town

Also took the Coast Starlight to visit family in the bay area. Only time I was ever happy for unscheduled delays. Hit Mount Shasta in late afternoon, and the scenery was absolutely stunning. Woke up on the way into Sacramento, going through rice paddies filled with birds of more types than I can name.

In both cases had lovely conversations with people I never would have met otherwise. Amtrack is great, so long as it's the right route, and you have the time.
 
2019-03-26 02:50:10 AM  
Been across Canada 3 times by train, Montreal-Vancouver-Montreal,1975, Toronto-Vancouver,1981. 3 day trip all 3 times, coach every time. Never doing it again, absolutely nothing to see once you hit the Prairies except the occasional grain silo off in the distance. The Rockies though are effing awesome, got off the train in Banff coming back the first time, took one look around and got back on immediately because I was tempted to stay as soon as I saw the scenery.
Europe, 2012, Eurail, Paris to Hamburg, Hamburg to Berlin, Berlin to Munich, Munich to Passau, back to Munich, Munich to Paris, Paris to Barcelona (overnight), Barcelona to Madrid. Great way to travel in Europe, fast, comfortable, interesting scenery and people. I killed a six pack with another passenger that I'd brought from Munich on the Paris to Barcelona run.
As another poster pointed out, the train system in NA is geared towards cargo, with passenger travel shoehorned in. Europe is another thing totally. And the stations are frigging incredible.
I hate flying, I sit there for the last 20 minutes of every flight watching our descent, praying for it to happen faster,  but not too fast.
 
2019-03-26 02:53:51 AM  
I live in Switzerland where the trains are of course excellent. In the USA I spent a summer commuting on Amtrak from Boston to providence and it was depressing. Just like the article. And the train was 7 minutes late every day without fail. No idea why they don't just change the schedule.

Here's a pic of a train I took while in Shanghai:
img.fark.netView Full Size
 
2019-03-26 03:28:55 AM  
CSB -- for some insane reason my parents sent me Amtrak tickets to visit them when they lived in Minnesota. I was in California. Three farkin' days each way. Holy crap. I had no smart phone at the time so I brought a few books and games. The trip to Minnesota was long, boring and delayed only once by a freight spill ( these are absurdly common ) on the tracks. The trip back, however, was interesting. Twice delayed by freight spills we were running too late to ever catch the connecting train in Seattle, Washington. They gave us a choice -- those not afraid to fly got a free bus ride to a flight to Seattle, those afraid get a bus to the nearest hotel and wait for tomorrow's train. I took the flight which was straight up then down and we were in Seattle. It probably would've taken the train a day to do that jump. In Seattle I got on the last train for home. They announced for some weird reason that this would be the very last train ever to allow smoking in the smoking car. Good thing, had my briar pipe. Got to talking with some dude in the smoking car and he up and gave me shrooms. Had plenty he said, enjoy the ride. So on shrooms i was in the observation car watching the forests of Washington then Oregon pass by as evening and then sunset came and went. Holy shiite.

/ But yes article is right, shabby, messed up, uncomfortable, musty, grimy and you had to pay for meals and drinks for crying out loud.
 
2019-03-26 03:48:08 AM  
I take the Northeast Regional from Boston to NYC a few times a year (as a matter of fact, going next weekend). I love it. The train pukes me out right where I need to be in NYC, whereas if I flew in I'd have to figure out transportation from a shiatty airport into the city. The seats are larger and I can walk around the train when I'm bored. My only issue is that the bathrooms seem to break very quickly and easily so I have to go to another car to find a working one. But a 4.5 hour train ride where I can sleep or lounge vs an 8 hour drive where I'm either controlling the vehicle or poking the driver so they stay awake? Train, please
 
Xai [TotalFark] [BareFark]
2019-03-26 05:35:31 AM  
Trains need government investment in the same way roads do.

If you want a high speed rail network you'd need to invest first to build initially in exactly the same way the national highway network was built., just like toll roads you'd get local links from private investment but not the national network required

For those who would say you can't afford it, assuming that you build only high speed track you could have built 25,000 miles of track over 10 years instead of trump's tax cuts. That would, with modern high speed trains, mean texas to New York in 6 hours and enough track to connect every major city in every state.
 
2019-03-26 05:41:07 AM  
Used it between Iowa and Denver a few times (to get across the boring part - Nebraska). Usually just one way.

I think of the four times I did it, two were very late.  But I'll continue to consider it. One of the directions leaves at like 10:30pm and gets you in early morning. So no hotel, no wasted day if it's a 3 day weekend.
 
2019-03-26 05:57:14 AM  

optikeye: My lottery winning bucket list is doing the Indian Pacific...from Sydney to Adelaide in a full queen sleeper and then changing to the Ghan to Alice Springs...(with short flight to Uluru) [YouTube video: AUSTRALIA'S MOST LUXURIOUS TRAIN: THE INDIAN PACIFIC]
https://www.greatsouthernrail.com.au/t​rains/the-indian-pacific/all-inclusive​-journeys
Maybe when I get a pension...maybe.


In 2017 the wife and I took the sleeper from Sydney to Melbourne.  It was an older train, but clean and comfortable.  Other than the late departure, it was a great experience.  Last year we took the sleeper from Edinburgh to London, also nice.
 
2019-03-26 06:36:55 AM  

comrade: Here's a pic of a train I took while in Shanghai:


I have a similar pic of that maglev train. It's pretty cool, and a hell of a lot better than the traffic between the airport and pudong.

The Acela "express" is a misnomer between Philly and New Haven, because it shares the tracks with NJ Transit and Metro North. And I think the CT / RI transit systems. Nothing like paying a premium for speed then slow rolling behind the New Haven local out of grand central.
 
2019-03-26 07:05:07 AM  
I'm pretty sure that, when thinking about my upcoming journey by rail, at least part of me almost believed there would be at least one point where I'd be running across the tops of the train cars, evading a murderer

Archer | Train Fight
Youtube lzPKjMgeSig
 
2019-03-26 07:57:33 AM  

beezeltown: It is technically an "alternative" to flying, but not any cheaper (and a hell of a lot slower,


And this is the number one problem with taking the train.  If it's going to be so much slower, it needs to be cheaper.
 
2019-03-26 08:32:11 AM  
I did Chicago to Carbondale enough times to never want to ride Amtrak ever again.  IIRC it was a 7 hour ride and felt like 7 days.

I reckon these days, with laptops and tablets, the time would pass a lot easier.
 
2019-03-26 08:41:36 AM  
Huh...the train. It sounds a little drawn out, but like it could be interesting in a way...

beezeltown:

American railroads are in poor repair. Expect delays. On the way back, the train stopes on the side of a mountain in, I think, Arizona. For 18 hours. The dining car ran out of food. They rationed water and fed everyone on the train a serving of rice the next day. It was a rough trip, but once you're on the train, you're on the train.

OK, then...booking the flight.
 
2019-03-26 09:51:18 AM  

Xai: That would, with modern high speed trains, mean texas to New York in 6 hours


HAH! NO!
 
2019-03-26 10:01:32 AM  
Train is great for regional and commuter distances. Taking it from Detroit to Raleigh if you don't particularly want to is pure insanity.

Used to live in Greensboro, NC right next to the Amtrak station. Took it to Durham, did some sightseeing, caught rare Pokémon, got drunk in Fullsteam Brewery and ran into a friend, sobered up enough to not get noticed by security and rode back without the millions of problems that driving would have caused. Did the same trip with the gf a year or so later and had a blast.

Also took it with the family from the Charlotte area to DC, and my mom couldn't believe how much better it was than driving. Not having to drive or deal with DC traffic, just relaxing and playing cards in the snack car and watching the world go by from a really interesting perspective. Costs more than driving depending on how many of you there are and takes a little longer, but well worth it.

It's really a matter of planning ahead and using common sense. You're really limited by where they go, what leaves at a reasonable hour, and what requires a long layover. Couldn't take it from Greensboro to Charleston for a 3-day weekend trip because the round trip would have taken half of our vacation, due to the route they use and a long layover in Bumfark. Couldn't take it to Atlanta because they only left at midnight (although I could have done it just to say I was taking a midnight train to Georgia), and I'm terrible at sleeping in weird scenarios like that. Couldn't take it to Nashville because...oh, lordy. An insane route to DC and then to farking Ohio and then a bus ride to Nashville that would have taken about 135% of my alotted vacation time. A 7-hour solo drive over the Appalachians made more sense.

/Have vague plans for another Amtrak trip to DC later this year
 
2019-03-26 10:26:35 AM  
All the leisure of driving, but with the cost of flying. I've tried to take a train several times. It never makes sense and always costs a fortune.
 
2019-03-26 10:27:15 AM  

Random Celebrity Insult Generator: I'm pretty sure that, when thinking about my upcoming journey by rail, at least part of me almost believed there would be at least one point where I'd be running across the tops of the train cars, evading a murderer

[Youtube-video https://www.youtube.com/embed/lzPKjMge​Sig]


"The good news is, now, I'm furious!"
 
2019-03-26 10:48:41 AM  
Mamarita and I took the Texas Eagle from Dallas to Chicago a few years ago to catch a Flaming Lips show at the Aragon and then hang out with a bunch of Farkers. The trip to Chicago was the absolute worst travel experience ever. It started off with a robocall about a "service interruption" before we even set out for Dallas. We get to Dallas and there is no parking for the station so to speak. So we park in a very sketchy lot nearby. Then we find out from the most unfriendly Amtrak employees the the "service interruption" was due to a freight derailment along our route but not to worry, the bus ride to Longview was only 2 hours. Oh joy!

Upon arrival in Longview we were greeted by our cabin attendant (we got a roomette sleeper) who, after we explained that we were first timers, took very good care of us. Hell of a nice guy. Away we go and things are going rather well. Since we had a roomette, we carried on our own libations and they have complimentary coffee, ice and juices which went well with the Tito's that I brought. The lady from the diner came by and got us set up for meal service. The food was damn good, the service was quite acceptable and we sat with a very nice lady and her grandson. Then back to the cabin for a nightcap and sleep. I slept quite well (the mystique of the train helped) until about 4 am when I hear the word "bus". I look out the window and we are in Little Rock...all of 225 miles from Longview.

Turns out that there was another derailment on the other side of Little Rock and we were ging to have to bus around it. So we wait.

And wait.

And wait.

Until 7:30 when the buses pull up. 45 minutes later and we're off to Walnut Ridge Arkansas, about 2 hours away. As we are pulling into town, we notice 4 buses leaving town. It turns out that they had just disembarked from the southbound train and we would have to wait while they prepped it for our boarding. 2 more hours go by and we finally get on. By this time, we are supposed to be pulling into Chicago. The rest of the trip was uneventful other than they really didn't have enough time to prep the train for us. Food ran low as did other supplies. As we pulled into Chicago 11 hours late the latrines were getting ripe coach was getting funky  and I was ready to GTF off. We missed the Lips but met up with everyone at a 3rd shift bar near the Trib building and had a great weekend*.

When we were getting gathered up to head back, Mamarita was ready to call SWA and fly back but we were packed for train and not plane so we thought we'd tough it out. The trip back was PERFECT. On time, clean, great food, great service and arguably one of the best travel experiences that I've had.

Would I do it again? Yep. However I would take the advice of a seasoned rider who told me to book travel a day before you need to be there. Not a ringing endorsement for someone who doesn't have a hell of a lot of time off to spare in order to accommodate an iffy method of travel.

*
img.fark.netView Full Size


Miss you Arise Chicken! Hope you're well!
 
2019-03-26 10:57:53 AM  

majestic: I can't ever imagine taking a train. I'll either fly a 737 MAX-8 or drive. Faster, safer and cheaper.  fark trains.


If you get on a MAX 8 right now, it's likely going to take MONTHS to get to your destination.
 
2019-03-26 11:09:35 AM  
Another article by a millenial who wants to run like hell to get someplace to do nothing.

The entire article is colored with his predisposition to hate train travel. It drips from almost eveyr paragraph.

Train travel is not for the person who is in a hurry. It's for the person who has realized hurry just blows you past life at a ridiculous rate. Train travel is very comfortable, soothing and relaxing. It isn't loud (try sitting in the rear half of an MD-80!) it isn't rough and they aren't going to make you sit in your seat, with a bladder demanding to burst, for the last 30 minutes of a flight or whenever the flight attendants decide keeping you out of the aisles makes their work easier.

It also has a smaller carbon footprint, by far, than air travel. And, if The Bartender has her way in Congress, it's how you will be forced to do all of your long distance travel. (While she will continue to fly on taxpayer paid government jets)

Shame, Jalopnik usually writes good material. This drek, on the other hand, would make excellent material for the bottom of a bird cage.
 
2019-03-26 11:16:40 AM  
I last took Amtrak roundtrip from Mpls to Milwaukee back in the late '80s. Yes, there were times that, due to shiatty track conditions (meaning the tracks were so old, not weather-related) that the train was going 20 MPH if that, but I enjoyed it. On the way to Milwaukee, I had breakfast (we had a legit dining car, which makes a huge difference) with 3 strangers, including a pleasant German man who was traveling by train across the country to see his daughter on the west coast (he was on the way back). I ended up meeting him again in the observation car and we had a great chat. He said to me "How do you stand it with your trains never being on schedule? In Germany, if the train is even a minute late, it throws the entire system askew." I had one of those little rooms on the way to Milwaukee but only a coach seat on the trip back to Mpls. It wasn't so bad, except it was winter and sitting near the window it was actually a little chilly. But something happened that has stayed in my memory crystal clear for all these years. An young Amish woman and her daughter, who was maybe 4 or 5, got off in a small town, I don't remember where exactly, except it was late in the evening, maybe 8 or 9 pm. I watched as she and her daughter exited the train. They were illuminated by a small light on the train platform, otherwise, it was quite dark. It was snowing lightly and she and her daughter paused under the light and it was perhaps the most hauntingly sweet and beautiful sight I had ever seen...dressed in their traditional Amish clothes, with the snow falling around them on the basically deserted platform in this small town...I can still see it plain as the night it happened.

Anyway, one of the things I was most disappointed in when it comes to trains is that one of Bill Clinton's campaign promises was to invest in maglev trains for this country and revitalize rail travel, basically trying to bring the US in line with Japan and France. Of course, he never did shiat about it. I know what's at the root of this, of course - the auto industry lobby. But, it's ridiculous that train travel in western Europe and Japan is so great and we positively suck at it. I hope to ride one of the maglevs in Japan before I die, but just watching any of the youtube videos of people traveling on one of them is amazing. A former co-worker, whose wife is Japanese, said it's almost surreal traveling so fast, yet with barely any sensation of speed at all.
 
2019-03-26 11:31:38 AM  
I have an acquaintance that purchased an Amtrak pass one year and spent over 100 days on trains.  He has other problems.
 
2019-03-26 02:09:19 PM  

Pats_Cloth_Coat: Auto-train. Drive to Orlando, your car is loaded on the train.

You and your car show up just outside DC 21 hours later (if on time, lol).

About $190 with a substantial AAA discount.

Bring plenty of food and booze, arriving 3-6 hours late is typical. Stay calm if the train catches fire, they'll evacuate a car or two while they attack it with extinguishers.


That isn't a current price as the auto train is $400 just for the car to come along plus the tickets.
 
2019-03-26 02:21:26 PM  

Gunner's Mate First Class Phillip Asshole: Pats_Cloth_Coat: Auto-train. Drive to Orlando, your car is loaded on the train.

You and your car show up just outside DC 21 hours later (if on time, lol).

About $190 with a substantial AAA discount.

Bring plenty of food and booze, arriving 3-6 hours late is typical. Stay calm if the train catches fire, they'll evacuate a car or two while they attack it with extinguishers.

That isn't a current price as the auto train is $400 just for the car to come along plus the tickets.



I'm on their web site right now. They ended the AAA discount, but for a trip booked in June, one way, it's $95 per person and $204 per car.
 
2019-03-26 02:27:50 PM  

Pats_Cloth_Coat: I'm on their web site right now. They ended the AAA discount, but for a trip booked in June, one way, it's $95 per person and $204 per car.


But why would you drive one of those directions and then train it back?  In comparison I booked a DCA to ORL flight in June for $97 each person round trip.  Flight is only a few hours long compared to the 17 hours plus that the train will take and if I wanted to take my vehicle a rental for 1 week is less than a one way ticket for my car.
 
2019-03-26 02:38:20 PM  

Gunner's Mate First Class Phillip Asshole: Pats_Cloth_Coat: I'm on their web site right now. They ended the AAA discount, but for a trip booked in June, one way, it's $95 per person and $204 per car.

But why would you drive one of those directions and then train it back?  In comparison I booked a DCA to ORL flight in June for $97 each person round trip.  Flight is only a few hours long compared to the 17 hours plus that the train will take and if I wanted to take my vehicle a rental for 1 week is less than a one way ticket for my car.


I'd much rather have my luxury car than a rental. I like being able to carry my stuff in the trunk - multiple suits, a couple of laptops, etc..

And sometimes I'm going for longer than a week, sometimes a couple of months.

Apart from that, half the time I'm billing the travel.to a client, so cost is irrelevant.
 
2019-03-26 02:42:40 PM  
When i was little mom and me would go see dad(on navy duty), la to san diego a couple times a month, i liked going on the train.
Back in the 90's me and my gf took the train from oakland to truckee for a ski trip. Took about 8 hours on the train for what was a 4 hour drive, met friends at the station, fun trip. We brought along some good sandwiches, fruit, wine and cheese, we almost never left our seats. Time consuming but it was a lot of fun...
 
2019-03-26 03:03:16 PM  
Three weeks ago I took a cross country trip from San Diego to NYC and back.Met some cool people and had some interesting conversations.I loved the scenery,and would do again.My only problem was the callous I got on my ass.Other wise I enjoyed my experience.I had my vaporizer for the fresh air breaks.(I called fresh air bakes) and my water bottle with the (V) on the cap.
 
2019-03-26 03:06:54 PM  

zgrizz: nother article by a millenial who wants to run like hell to get someplace to do nothing.

The entire article is colored with his predisposition to hate train travel. It drips from almost eveyr paragraph.


I disagree. It is absolutely ridiculous to move people at freight train speeds. It is also absolutely ridiculous to not properly provision a train. It's not like they are space/weight constrained like an airplane.
 
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