The year my family moved to Maui, 1967, was the year the railroad there shut down. The Kahului Railroad was Hawaii's last and the only to dieselize. The locomotives sat by the harbor for a year or so before being shipped to South America. (Later on vacation, my father tracked down the locomotives and asked an engineer about them. The engineer replied with a toothless grimace that he hated those locomotives and they were how he lost his teeth. They were designed for use on flatlands and in Costa Rica "the magnetos overheated" on a mountain grade.) When I was a child, we used to like to play along the abandoned railroad right of way. We had a collection of ties, spikes, and tie plates--and lots of old bottles too.
My first trip on a real train was from Boston to Washington and back on Amtrak in 1974. Of course, we had a GG-1 locomotive from and to New Haven. The smoking coach on the southbound train had linoleum floors. We took the Night Owl home, and had some trouble getting fresh sandwiches in the lounge car.
My family also traveled across Canada by train on CN's Super Continental in 1975. I had the lower berth of an open section, and that is the widest bed I have ever enjoyed on the rails.
In 1977, I took a cross-country trip that is described here http://discuss.amtra...-rain/?p=679712. I also took the train to Florida a couple times while I was at prep school. One night on the train, we hit not one but two cars that were on the tracks in separate towns. I remember buying beer from the lounge at the age of 16--I don't think that would happen today!
I did not graduate from either prep school or college, and married an older woman who had grown children. Her daughter was a United Airlines flight attendant, so I had free travel privileges. It was really hard to justify buying a train ticket for our frequent trips from Maui to my wife's hometown of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, when we could fly free--usually first class. But we did make two cross-country trips--one on the California Zephyr and Broadway Limited, and another on the Sunset Limited, Crescent, and Capitol Limited. We used the Capitol Limited several times in later years to travel to Chicago or Washington from Connellsville.
On a trip to Britain, we bought a first-class rail pass and traveled all over England, Scotland, and even Wales by train. I have also traveled on a New Zealand Railways and Road Services train from Napier to Wellington.
Alas, my first wife passed away and I married the girl next door. Very early in our relationship, we visited Orcas Island, Washington, and then took the Coast Starlight from Seattle to Los Angeles. While on that train in a bedroom suite with my sister and her son, we made the decision to move from Maui to Orcas, where I have lived since 2004. Since then, I have been on the Starlight and Cascades as well as the Empire Builder just as far as Idaho. I am planning a train trip to Florida in January to visit my aunt and cover some route miles I have not seen.
Edited by Maglev, 08 September 2016 - 01:26 PM.