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, www.seat61.com. 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.