hen I was a young child my family used to travel from Long Beach, California to Brooklyn, New York. In those days we either took Santa Fe’s El Capitain or Super Chief.
Those were the days. The food was great. The cars were luxurious. The staff was helpful and friendly. Though the ride was very long, it was enjoyable. Four nights total. We were traveling coast to coast.
Usually, the train was at least three hours late. Once your train got late, it kept getting later because we’d pull over for passing freight trains. We didn’t know it at the time but passenger trains lost money, while freight trains were big earners.
That caused real problems for us.
If our late arriving train was any later than three hours, we’d have to stay over night in Chicago.
If we got a little lucky we could travel across the city to another train station to catch a New York Central System — later a Penn/Central — train to New York City called The Broadway Limited. That train was usually late too.
That didn’t matter because all we did was catch a taxi from Grand Central Station to 16th Street in Brooklyn.
Amtrak is a ghost of those days. In 1971 all but one of the legacy railroad companies joined a national system called Amtrak in an effort to staunch the flow of red ink. It’s never worked. One by one, routes were closed.
Coastal trains still flourish, sort of. Long distance coast to coast trains are not so great even with fairly new equipment.
Until this year.
President Biden is a big fan of Amtrak. He famously used to work in Washington D.C. and return home each night to Delaware. He supports Amtrak and is looking to fund it as part of the infrastructure bill.
Amtrak immediately started to plan new routes and restore older routes. Cities and towns are clamoring for new or restored service.
rain time. That’s a song. I cannot count how many train songs have been written.
There’s a reason for that.
At the very least, riding the rails is romantic. At it’s best, it is wonderful way to relax while still moving toward your destination.
This photograph is part of my Picture A Day project. I’m fairly fearless when I approach people. I asked if I could take their picture and they were happy to pose. But, they’re used to it. Train riders take pictures of them all the time.
All I did to the picture is darken it, which seems to be a trend for me these days.
Oh, and the headline?
This is post number two. I was trying to multi-task and forgot to schedule it.
So, you received two posts yesterday. Storyteller Squared.
Sorry about that.