Maui to DC, the Long Way ‘Round.
I’m going to be attending NARP’s annual April meeting in Washington, DC, and, as usual, I’ll be flying to the West Coast and taking the train from there.
Hawaiian Airlines will get me from here to Seattle, then I’ll take Amtrak up to Vancouver, BC, the following morning. Next comes my eighth time aboard VIA Rail’s marvelous long-distance train, the Canadian—this time from Vancouver to Toronto.
I purchased my Vancouver-Toronto ticket back in November when VIA Rail had a sale. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I began the rest of my ticketing: an Amtrak Cascades train from Seattle across the border to Vancouver, B.C., and the Maple Leaf from Toronto down to New York City on my return into the U.S.
On that subject, it is heartening to note that Congress has just passed something called the pre-clearance bill, which will become law when President Obama signs it. It’s an agreement that will establish U.S. Customs offices on the Canadian side of the border. In theory, that should speed things up when crossing the actual border.
Furthermore, the timing of this new legislation is fortuitous because for some time now there have been serious discussions about extending the route of Amtrak’s train, the Vermonter, another sixty miles or so farther north beyond St. Albans, Vermont, to Montreal.
It really does seem, with respect to passenger rail, that there is some positive movement in this country. People with actual clout (meaning Southern Republican politicians) are pressing to restore service between New Orleans and Orlando; a private company in Florida is going to be providing rail service linking Miami and Orlando; and in Texas, private money is behind a high-speed train to run between Dallas and Houston. And, in California, Governor Jerry Brown says (and I’m paraphrasing), “Screw the NIMBY opponents! California is going to have a high-speed train!”
Whadaya know! Things may be looking up for passenger rail!