I am a 56 year old RN working with cancer patients in an outpatient clinic. We live in Benton Arkansas (just outside Little Rock). We grew up in Arkansas, moved to Memphis when our kids were small then moved back a few years ago to be nearer to my family. We are working toward our retirement and hope to do more traveling. we've only taken one train trip, Memphis to New Orleans. We then went on a cruise and train home. it was a wonderful way to travel so we are planning a trip from Little Rock to LA in a few years. We will take a cruise to Hawaii from there. I am really glad I was directed to this board because I am learning so much!!! I follow cruise critic for cruise info and now I have a great place to learn about traveling by train!
Who in the world are you???
Posted 17 July 2017 - 08:03 PM
I discovered this board only a couple months ago and regret that I was so late to the game. Have really enjoyed the information and opinions shared here. I have always thought of myself as fairly knowledgeable about rail travel but have since discovered I do not hold a candle to many here. This is a daily highlight. And I am even more pleased to see this discussion topic revived so that I can get the scoop on all the major contributors here.
I'm 58 years young and have ridden trains since I was an infant. My grandfather, who I never knew, was an engineer during the steam days of the Pennsylvania Railroad and my father inherited the train gene and passed on to my brother and me, for which I am grateful.
I have a poor recall of dates, but in pre-Amtrak days I had the pleasure of riding such trains as the Denver Zephyr, California Zephyr, Western Star, Coast Daylight, Sunset Limited, and an assortment of very lousy PRR and Penn Central trains in the late 60s. In Canada, rode the CNR's Super Continental and Scotian, the old Rapido and Turbo trains, the CPR's Canadian and even VIA's version of the Canadian as well as the Polar Bear Express. There are many others that I cannot remember. I wish I could do as some have here by adding up my total rail mileage.
Been on every Amtrak LD train with the exception of a few Eastern trains, including the Silver Star, the Silver Meteor and the Crescent. Those are on my bucket list.
I became politically left of center about five years ago after following the political mantra of the right for much of my life. I am happily divorced for 18 years with two adult children in their mid 20s. I enjoy travel in all of its forms but obviously the train remains at the top of my list. I spent 18 years in private higher education in staff positions and have been in the corporate world for the last 16-plus years. Other pastimes include comedy, dining, short trips, exploring big cities and small towns, nature, high school and college sports with just faint interest in the professional world.
Posted 17 July 2017 - 10:59 PM
Your post is living proof that you can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks!😎
"..My heart is warm with the friends I make,and better friends I'll not be knowing,
Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay
Posted 06 August 2017 - 11:42 AM
Although relatively new to Amtrak Unlimited, my wife Pat and I have been riding Amtrak trains across country since 1993.
I’m originally from Cleveland, Ohio and am old enough to remember when New York Central and Nickel Plate passenger trains still stopped in the lower level of the Terminal Tower building in downtown Cleveland.
We also had the Rapid Transit, the light rail system that we used whenever we went downtown. (Its platforms were also in the Terminal Tower, right next to the train platforms.)
My first cross-country train trip occurred in 1960 when I traveled from Ohio to Colorado on a special train carrying a contingent of Boy Scouts bound for the national Boy Scout Jamboree held in Colorado Springs.
Pat and I met in Columbus, Ohio when we were both music majors in college.
Shortly after graduation, I enlisted in the Navy as a musician. My first duty assignment was to a unit band stationed at the North Island Naval Air Station in San Diego. At that time, the water taxis between North Island and downtown San Diego used to dock at the foot of Broadway, not far from the Santa Fe’s 1915 train depot. At that time, the Santa Fe Depot was the largest and most impressive building in that particular section of the downtown area. (Little did I realize back then how often Pat and I would be using it during our future train trips.)
In 1971, I accepted an appointment to Naval Officer Candidate School and later served three years (in a non-musical capacity) as a junior officer on board the aircraft carrier USS RANGER. After being released from active duty, I was affiliated with a Navy Reserve Combat Camera unit, eventually attaining the rank of Lieutenant Commander.
Following active duty, I returned to San Diego and became involved in the local professional music scene. This included playing for touring musical theater productions, participating in network TV soundtrack recording sessions, and playing in the band of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus during its annual one-week appearances in the San Diego Sports Arena. (Although I was able to take photos and shoot movie footage of the circus train being unloaded in San Diego, I will always regret not having had the opportunity to ride on it.)
In 1981, I returned to school under the GI Bill to earn a Masters degree in film & video production from San Diego State University. My Master’s thesis-project was a 16mm documentary film on the Lake Shore Electric Interurban Railroad, which once ran between Cleveland and Toledo. While doing location filming in northern Ohio along the old LSE right-of-way, I was often working right next to the former right-of-ways of the Nickel Plate and New York Central railroads. It was at that time that I began collecting and reading books about the great passenger trains of yesteryear such as the 20th Century Limited and the Super Chief.
Following graduation, I worked for the Navy as a civilian Teleproductions Specialist, writing, producing, and directing training videos for Navy pilots. Once, when my official duties required me to travel to Seattle, Pat and I used the Coast Starlight to get there rather than flying.
Because of my background in both music and film, in 1996 I started my own music & sound project studio. Working from my home, I prepare and record music scores for classic silent films that are released to the home video market and to TV outlets such as Turner Classic Movies. On one occasion, Pat and I had to travel to Portland when the Oregon Symphony performed one of my silent film scores. Once again, we used the Coast Starlight to get there.
Our first Amtrak cross-country train trip was onboard the Empire Builder, which we rode from Seattle to Glacier National Park in 1993. Over the years, we’ve made cross-country trips on the Southwest Chief, the Coast Starlight and the California Zephyr. (Some of our earlier trip reports are posted at the On Track-On Line website.)
One of my hobbies is collecting and photographing vintage O-scale toy trains. (Having been born too late to photograph steam locomotives while they were still a common sight on the nation’s railroads, I use my O-scale trains to stage trackside photographs similar to the ones that railfans took back in the 1940s and 1950s.) Although I occasionally sell a photo or two to Classic Toy Trains magazine, my toy train photography work is done primarily for my own satisfaction.
Pat and I live in Descanso, a small mountain community located about 40 miles east of San Diego. Now semi-retired, we are planning on taking even more train trips in the future. We thoroughly enjoy reading the trip reports and comments posted on the Amtrak Unlimited site and look forward to submitting more of our own trip reports.
Edited by Eric in East County, 06 August 2017 - 11:59 AM.
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