February 10, 2007

I loved traveling on trains. I haven't done much of it though, and none in recent times. I did most of my train traveling during my time in the military. I think the longest stretch was going from the Midwest to Wyoming for a tech school I had to attend. This was in the fifties and trains were on a downward trend at that time. Airplanes were taking over as the mode of travel preferred. I could understand the reasoning at the time, but now that I am older, and getter old fast, I would prefer to do any traveling I may be required to do on a slower mode of getting from one place to another.

Airplane travel is great, but it's much akin to time travel. You enter the aluminum body, or whatever metal airplanes are made of, sit back, and presto you are at your destination, waiting for jet lag to catch up to you.

Train travel, on the other hand, seems designed for the traveler who is not on a stressful schedule, and can enjoy the ride by actually seeing the passing scenery that marks your passage, and also affords the opportunity to get up and stretch your legs when the need arises.

I have read recently about the re-emergence of the grand old Oriental Express. A very rich person has collected what he could of the old carriages (that would be cars to peons like me) and brought them back to their former opulence. Russia, I understand, also now has a train similar, and they would say better than the Oriental Express. All of which is good news for the grossly rich that want to one up their friends and neighbors.

But it is good news for us commoners, maybe. It might mean that improvements could be made to our Amtrak system, or even better something else that could offer competition, although I doubt the good business sense in spending too much on a train system for the hoi polloi. I think it will probably fall to the rich and famous to enjoy the resurgence, and for the rest of us to read about it and remember perhaps how it used to be and smile contentedly for the memories of the past.

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