Memo: to the Amtrak Brass

Two days ago, I rode your train, the Silver Star, from New York City to Deland, Florida. My sister and her husband live near there and I was overdue for a visit.

The two of them ran a small, but very successful construction company on Florida’s Gulf Coast, specializing in high-end homes for people with serious money.

I was fascinated to learn that two or three times during the construction process, the owners suddenly see their new house in a new and exciting way. One of those events–and this surprised me, but it makes perfect sense–occurs when all the windows are washed for the first time.

“Seeing their new home through clean windows,” my sister says, “always seems to delight them.”

Over the past two days, while on the Silver Star, I experienced that same phenomenon, but in reverse.

When I looked out the window of my roomette, there were streaks and a light brown film on both the large glass panes. It was the same in the adjacent roomette, in the next two sleepers and in the dining car, too. And so it was entirely reasonable to assume that all the windows on the entire train were also dirty.

This country offers some glorious scenery to rail passengers paying good money to travel through it. In fact, many people take long-distance trains for the specific purpose of traveling in comfort while they enjoy all that natural beauty.

The trouble is, when the windows on your trains are dirty, especially windows on your long-distance trains, it’s something that the passengers think is an easy fix. And they think you don’t care!

Trust me on this: dirty windows are a real problem. So give it some priority. Figure it out! Get it done!