Good-bye Classmates, Hello Red Sox.
My school reunion was enjoyable and, as always, it was wonderful to see so many of my old classmates. The school certainly has changed over this last half-century; this current generation of kids has facilities and equipment of which we could never have conceived. And more power to them, too! But this morning I left all that behind and headed for my absolute favorite big city, Boston.
Compared to what most of the rest of the world enjoys, passenger rail in the United States is a pale imitation. And yet, it still works and, at least in my case today, it worked quite well.
The first leg was from Windsor, Connecticut, to New Haven. Train 143 arrived on time at 6:56 this morning and pulled into New Haven at 7:56, a couple of minutes early. I had a little more than 45 minutes to wait before the train to Boston arrived, so I went down to take a look at the station’s very spacious waiting room.
One obvious need for improvement was very apparent: there is a Dunkin’ Donuts counter and today, on a Sunday morning without the usual hoard of commuters, there were 25 or 30 people in line. To be fair, I did see what appeared to be an empty storefront on another level with a sign saying “Dunkin’ Donuts”.
The Northeast Regional train #150 arrived at about 8:36 or so, and we departed spot on time at 8:40. Antrak has electrified the track all the way into Boston, so there is no longer any need to change locomotives–switching to diesel–in New Haven. To tell you the truth, I found that just a bit disappointing. It’s certainly a routine railroad maneuver, but I always enjoyed watching the engine swap taking place.
The ride to Boston was fast–just about two-and-a-half hours. I did notice that there were a number of rough spots along the way, bringing home the issue of deferred maintenance that Amtrak has been forced to deal with, thanks to budget cuts imposed by Congress. Isn’t it bizarre that the members of Congress would take the time to pass a law requiring Amtrak to carry pets, then cut something like 250 million dollars from the Amtrak subsidy, some of which could very possibly have been used for upgrading the track over which I rode this morning.
Rough track notwithstanding, we arrived in Boston on time. The day ended on a sour note, I must report, because the Toronto Blue Jays scored often, defeating the Red Sox, 13-5. Tomorrow, however, is another day . . . and hope springs eternal.