1st Class, Coach Class, and No Class.
When I was about 12 years old, I took a train ride all by myself for the first time. I was going to spend a weekend with my cousin, Bruce, who lived in Darien, Connecticut. I boarded the train in Hartford for what was, and still is, about a two-hour ride. When he put me on the train, my father tipped the car attendant—they were “porters”, then—and asked him to keep an eye on me and make sure I got off at Darien.
I remember that train ride very well to this day, and not just because it was my first time traveling on my own. It was memorable because my mother made sure I was properly attired: a long-sleeved dress shirt and a tweed sport coat were purchased especially for that trip. My shoes were shined and I wore one of my father’s ties. All that for a two hour train ride.
The last time I flew to the mainland, there were passengers in T-shirts and tank tops, baggy shorts and rubber slippers. Yes, a lot of them were coming from a vacation on Maui … and I certainly don’t think coat-and-tie should be the dress code for travel these days. But we have turned into a nation of slobs.
I must say, compared to the airlines, I haven’t seen as much of the “slobbing down” of passengers on Amtrak. Indeed, some people actually dress up a little for dinner. I suppose some of that is because sleeping car passengers are aware they’ll be sharing a table in the dining car with others. So men slip on a sport coat and ladies add a dressy sweater.
Of course, it could just be Amtrak’s universal A/C system which is always on full blast and is impossible to adjust. That’s OK . . . whatever works!