What Does It Mean To Travel

Train under a fluid sky.

On a Sunday morning. I realized I haven’t published multiple pictures in some time. I’ve been photographing bits and piece of trains forever because I like them. I grew up riding the Super Chief and the El Capitan and eventually The City of Los Angeles from Los Angeles to New York City via Chicago.

Of course passenger service isn’t what it was. Amtrak is always broke because Congress won’t fund it properly. When they do money is poured into the Eastern Corridor which is mostly a long distance commuter line The runs from Boston through New York City and into Washington D.C.

The trains there are already pretty good. Soon that line will be getting trains that are capable of European fast speeds. Of course, timing is everything. How many people are commuting anywhere in the age of the pandemic?

It’s the long haul trains that are getting worse by the minute. Amtrak markets them as being great. Read the comments on Facebook to find out they aren’t. I rode trains at the end of their glory years. They weren’t good then and they are worse now.

The last time that I travelled on a train from the West Coast to the East Coast was in 1969. In 1970, amid massive losses in profit, passenger service was nationalized into Amtrak.

History shows us that passenger trains were never money makers, except for the years during World War II. Even in the days of fast steam engines and streamlined cars freight subsidized passenger revenue.

There’s some history for you.

That’s the long way of saying that I still like trains and I’ll photograph them where I find them. If you like them too, type #trains into the search box in Facebook and watch the fun.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Look after each other. And, always take a ride on the Reading Railroad. If you pass go collect $200.

Pictures, pictures, everywhere. I’ve been just making railroad pictures whenever I see something that catches my eye.

I try very hard to let the picture guide me in post production. That’s why each picture has its own look.

Unfortunately, the picture in the middle of three wanted to go off into outer space. I tried to guide it back but it liked it out there so I left it alone.

GT. What is GT? Not only did the government scoop up all the passenger lines, but they bought most of he freight lines on the east coast and called it ConRail. Eventually, the government got out of the freight transportation business and sold ConRail to different carriers. Canadian National came along later and started buying up railroad companies east of the Mississippi River. Grand Trunk was one of them even though they weren’t much of a company by then.

Most engines were branded CN. Sometimes, they just left them in their original livery. Those are the ones I like. They are beat up, rusty and look their age, which is this case is 40 years old.



9 responses to “What Does It Mean To Travel”

  1. Sharon E. Cathcart Avatar

    When I first moved to California, it was still cheaper to take the train to visit my family at the holidays than it was to fly — and I didn’t drive at the time. So, I took the Coast Starlight many times. I would buy a coach ticket, but sat in the club car during daylight hours so that I could see the sights. I chatted with nice people along the way as well.

    The last time I took a train was from San Jose to Sacramento, and while it was fun it just wasn’t the same. 😦 And I don’t just mean because of the brief distance.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ray Laskowitz Avatar

      Once Amtrak took over everything changed. I remember cooked to order meals in the dining car. “Dinner in the diner” was a big deal once. Now, airline meals are served supposedly because millennials don’t care what they eat. It is different.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sharon E. Cathcart Avatar

        Yep. $10 for a hot dog (shrink-wrapped and kept in a warming oven) and a can of Coke the day I went to Sacramento. :-/

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ray Laskowitz Avatar

        If we can, we bring our own food. Especially leaving from down here. A po’boy and a bottle of Barq’s will cost closer to $15. But, we can eat two meals.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Sharon E. Cathcart Avatar

        After my first trip, my former housemate started packing me a small cooler with all kinds of beautiful goodies in it for the long ride up to Oregon. It was definitely a money-saver.


  2. Debra Avatar

    I love train travel and have since I was a child. We’ve never gone further than Los Angeles to New Orleans, which I’ve done several times, but we’ve traveled home different routes, and been both north and south. It isn’t as “luxurious” as I recall as a child, certainly, but it suits my temperament. I would love to plan a coast to coast, and may still have that in my future. My husband retired after 44 years as a Southern Pacific/Union Pacific switchman, so when we travel by car we still check out railroad yards. We’ve seen some interesting graffiti and boxcar art! Your photographs make me want to travel, Ray!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ray Laskowitz Avatar

      That’s far enough. You get the same sense as long haul traveling. Don’t you get some kind of lifetime travel benefits with your husband working for railroads for so long? My photographs make me want to travel considering many train pictures are made 1/4 mile from home. I wonder when that will happen?


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