L.A. to Chicago by Train—Final Part
At last we come to the point of this narrative, which is that for many reasons, Amtrak can be a better choice for long-distance travel than flying.
At the airport, we are required to hand over our personal belongings to be inspected and even searched. We are squeezed into narrow seats that won’t recline and have no leg room. And the food? Well, let me just say that the infamous “turkey wrap” offered by a major U.S. airline cannot compare to a “signature steak” and a half bottle of decent merlot in an Amtrak dining car.
Then there’s interaction with fellow passengers. On a plane, that can mean being strapped into a seat for four or five hours next to someone grimly working on a laptop.
On a long-distance train, it means an interesting conversation among four individuals enjoying a meal together. Or relaxing in the lounge car chatting with another adult while your kids play games with youngsters from another family.
How about convenience? Train stations are located in the middle of the city; airports are often 25-30 miles and a $75 cab ride out of town.
Passenger trains are the only civilized way left for travel and are far better for the environment. So may I humbly suggest that the next time the prospect of some serious travel comes up, don’t just automatically assume you’ll fly. Instead, think about taking the train.
And if you need some suggestions about where to go and how to get there . . .
Well, you know how to reach me.
Ah, if only more people would read and appreciate this. Even as it stands, Amtrak can’t get its hands on enough equipment for LD trains, and could probably successfully run two sections of some trains in the summer (heck, they could even run a SEA-Whitefish winter train that would be packed with skiers). In reality, the only thing planes have going for them is speed, other than that, they are stressful tubes of misery.