Fifteen Years and Counting.

After something like 15 years with this web page, I’m still amazed at what has come from it. It’s helped me to develop more than a few friendships, not only with people interested in train travel, but with folks from both left and right politically. These days, train travel is, I think, one of the few common denominators left to us. 

On one of my train trips a couple of years ago, I found myself engaged in conversation with a young man—I’d guess late-20s—who suddenly paused, then asked if I was THE Jim Loomis.  He had a copy of my book in this roomette and asked me to sign it. I have no idea what it was that tipped him off, but we sat for an hour or so chatting in my roomette. I’m sure he had no idea what that did for my ego. 

I’m also astonished by the number of people who have visited this site in search of some specific bit of information related to train travel. A few years ago, I wrote that in my opinion a Superliner bedroom was not worth the difference in cost over a roomette. Just over 75,000 people have visited that one post. It’s quite humbling when you’re confronted with a number like that.

Of course, if I had had any foresight and weren’t already so damn old and tired, I might have wound up like Mark Smith, the gent behind the ultimate train travel website, I gather that Mark spends a great deal of his time riding trains all over the world, then writing about them on his website. Next to Mark Smith, my efforts with this web page over the past dozen years are pitiful and amateurish. He told me once—it was in an exchange of emails—that he started the website as a hobby, but it has taken over his life and has become a full-time job. And how lucky that is for all the rest of us! 

Incidentally, it is Mark’s opinion that the best seat on the Eurostar high-speed train is—You got it!—seat number sixty-one. I asked for—and was assigned—that seat on my last visit to France.


  1. I have booked a bedroom only twice, and both were for travel from Chicago to the West Coast. It is a matter of convenience for me. I’d rather have a bathroom in my bedroom for long trips so I don’t have to go down the hall. My mobility is limited. And since I travel alone, the added benefit is having easy access to views from both sides of the train.

    1. A valid point of view. My other complaint with the bedrooms is the flimsy partition between bedrooms B and C and bedrooms D and E. Even conversations conducted in low tones are easily overheard in the next compartment.

  2. Even though I haven’t written often, I always look forward to your newsletter. I ride Amtrak often and learn a lot from your writings. I often refer to you when chatting with other passengers. Today I learned I’ve been doing the right thing by sticking with my roomette accommodations.

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