A Report on Travels to Date.

What follows are some of the highs and lows of my trip to Washington, DC, for the annual meeting of the Rail Passengers Association. Suffice to say, things are a long way from normal.

The Southwest Chief (L.A. to Chicago) was on time, start to finish. There was a full-service dining car on board and the food was quite good.

I was unable to get sleeping car space from Chicago to Washington on either the Capitol Limited or the Cardinal, so I opted instead for the Lake Shore Limited from Chicago to New York City, connecting with an Acela from there to Washington.

Alas, there was no dining car on the Lake Shore. Meals came out of the microwave in the lounge car. And may I say for the record that the Jimmy Dean Breakfast Sandwich is no substitute for breakfast in an Amtrak dining car.

I had never ridden first class in Amtrak’s sort-of-high-speed train, the Acela, so I decided to try it on this occasion. We were still in the tunnel under the Hudson River when a young man came by with a menu and took my drink order. Impulsively, I ordered a marguarita. He nodded, went away, and was back in less than a minute with two premixed drinks and a chilled glass. That was the high-point of the experience. The food, when It came, was just another microwaved frozen dinner, albeit with semi-exotic ingredients.

In Washington, I began to complain to my RPA colleagues about not having a diner on the Lake Shore until I learned that those who came to Washington on the Capitol Limited learned upon their arrival at Union Station in Chicago that their train did not have a sleeper!

At any rate, I am leaving Chicago tomorrow by plane for Toronto where, on Sunday morning, I will once again be traveling on VIA Rail’s train #1, The Canadian, to Vancouver, B.C. It’s a wonderful ride and as opportunity and access to the internet presents, I will report in along the way.