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Why do you travel by train?


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#21 EmCee Al

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 09:56 AM

There are many reasons why I prefer to travel by train, but in sum it is because the train becomes a magic carpet for me!  Just get on board, put your watch in your pocket, and look out the window at the passing wonder of geography and humanity!

 

I do have to admit that avoiding TSA is another motivation.  I also admit that most of my travel is on western LD trains, but when I do ride between Niles and Kalamazoo at over 100mph, my background and memories of that part of the rail network become a big reason why I love to travel by train!



#22 trainfanmom

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 10:19 AM

We travel by train just to be on the train.   First and foremost, my son is a huge rail fan (hence my user name, LOL).  Second, I love the relaxation of the train compared to flying.

 

So when we travel by train, the train is part of the vacation and not a means to get there.   We have used the CS to get from LA to San Jose, CA multiple times to visit family.

We also did the full CS route from Seattle to LA after a cruise, just to continue the vacation on a little longer.

We have done a few trips on the Pacific Surfliner from LA to SD for a day trip.

 

Our trip next month (me and my son) is to try out routes other than the CS and to see more of the country, so riding the train is the primary part of the vacation.   We are counting down the days until we do our round trip CS->EB->SWC trip next month :)



#23 ciship

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 12:46 PM

It started out because I couldn't fly anymore after a nose dive on a plane (that I miraculously survived!).  Terrified to step foot on a plane now.  Anyway, the moment I took the train I was HOOKED!  



#24 Rockymtnchris

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 01:06 PM

For the past several years I go back and forth from Denver to central California (Modesto, to be exact) twice each year, usually once in the spring and the second time for my birthday in August (family pays part of that one as my gift). I've actually driven the grueling 1,100+ miles twice, once in May of 2014 and the other time last May due to having to deliver items too large for carryons. Otherwise I've always flown with one exception being in May of 2015 where I rode Amtrak along with my father (resides in the Modesto area) who is in his 80's and we shared a roomette of which he paid mostly for. Next month I'm riding Amtrak again, mainly due to my sister's remarriage on the 23rd. I ended up choosing Amtrak this time due to certain advantages pertaining to wedding gifts I'll be carrying. First, those gifts will easily fit into my two free checked bags on the CZ, while most budget airlines would charge me extra nowdays. In addition, changing trains at the Sacramento Amtrak station is way easier than flying to SFO, claiming my bags, and then changing to rail which ultimately ends up with me purchasing a SJ Amtrak ticket in the east bay anyway to reach Modesto. In other words, I'll be using the same transportation service for the duration of the journey, making less worries with my checked baggage which I generally don't have with most of my visits out there. I think I pointed out on another thread that my destination of Modesto does not have commercial airline service, so flying out there has always required tickets to either SAC, OAK, or SFO, the latter of which tends to be cheaper to fly into. I love travel, but my income forces me to be frugal, usually avoiding situations that require gratuities such as taxis, bellhops, skycaps, or dining car meals on trains.


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#25 Johanna

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 02:17 PM

I don't drive, but I still like being able to travel independently.  I don't mind flying when I want to cover a lot of distance quickly (or when I want to cross an ocean), but I don't like the feeling it gives of how cities are isolated islands of interest and all the "flyover country" in between is unimportant.  I like the sense I get from train travel of how places are connected to each other.  I like how a 3-day cross-country train trip can make something as simple as a vacation to California seem like capital-T Traveling.  I like how trains in Europe (since this question wasn't limited to Amtrak) are fantastically fast and impossibly cheap if booked in advance.  And I like the views of stunning scenery that can be hard to see any other way.



#26 CelticWhisper

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 03:25 PM

Avoiding TSA in particular, and searches, scans, screenings and other forms of forced safety in general, is 95% of the reason I travel by Amtrak and the factor that drove me to start taking trains in the first place.  I don't consent to others in positions of authority keeping me safe - I insist that any safety I enjoy come from my own actions and measures I institute myself to provide it for myself.  DHS and TSA disagree with this, so as a result I go as far out of my way as necessary (and have voluntarily incurred severe inconveniences in the past in the interest of doing so) to avoid them.

 

Aside from that, the comfort, scenery, social milieu on trains and other amenities make up the rest.  Nothing like the moment when you get on the train, close the door to your sleeper and enjoy roomy, comfortable travel in your own private corner of the world.



#27 JayPea

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 03:15 AM

I enjoy traveling by train because to me it is so relaxing. I can sit and look out the window at the passing scenery, and not have to be doing the driving.  I have been on many routes several times, and the scenery never gets old no matter how many times I have been on that same route. I even to some degree enjoy the social aspect, though I am very introverted.  Something about train travel tends to help me open up just a tiny bit, to the degree I am able to do so.

 

I began riding trains as a three year old lad in 1963, and have enjoyed it ever since, though my experiences with train travel had been few and far between until just over a decade ago.  I do enjoy a good road trip, too, as I can go at my own pace and not be limited to where the train goes.  I do fly, too, and have since I was seven years old.  I'd rather take the train but don't usually have time to travel by train both directions.  If I lived in a more centrally located spot in the country than the Pacific Northwest, it might make a difference.  As it is, I fly once or twice a year.  Train travel is much more relaxing but air travel in my situation is a necessity.


Edited by JayPea, 17 March 2017 - 03:19 AM.

Amtrak Routes Traveled: City of New Orleans, State House/Lincoln Service, Empire Builder, California Zephyr, Southwest Chief, Cascades, Crescent, Capitol Limited, Coast Starlight, Texas Eagle/Sunset Limited, Silver Meteor, Lake Shore Limited, Pacific Surfliner, Cardinal, Vermonter, Northeast Regional, Downeaster
 
Pre-Amtrak Routes Traveled:
Empire Builder (Great Northern), North Coast Limited (Northern Pacific), Abraham Lincoln (Gulf, Mobile, and Ohio), City of Hinkle  (Union Pacific) Panama Limited (Illinois Central)

Bustitutions: Portland-Spokane (EB),Galesburg-Bloomington (CZ/Lincoln Service )
 

Amtrak Miles: 85410

Pre-Amtrak Miles: 8478

Bustitution Miles: 450

Excursion trains ridden:  Centralia and Chehalis Railroad, Mt. Hood Scenic Railroad, Alaska Railroad, 1880 Train (Black Hills Central RR) and trains at the Illinois Railway Museum, California Railway Museum, and the Monticello (IL) Railroad Museum.

#28 dlagrua

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 07:26 AM

Travel exclusively by car (local) and train for long distance trips. My wife feels the same way. The train provides a relaxing comfortable way to arrive at your destination. We have an opportunity to travel as ladies and gentlemen and not be treated as an animal on an aircraft. When I look at the TSA boarding lines at the airports they look exactly like lines of prisoners entering a correctional facility.  The inside of an aircraft passenger compartment is a capsule of people all breathing the same filthy, bacteria and disease laden air.  The seats are built for a midget, the leg room getting tighter. The whole experience is negative and to top it off you then risk the luck of the draw by being seated next to someone with very poor sanitary habits. Its a filthy, disgusting, dehumanizing, degrading experience that people accept like sheep.   What does that tell you?



#29 AmtrakBlue

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 08:09 AM

Travel exclusively by car (local) and train for long distance trips. My wife feels the same way. The train provides a relaxing comfortable way to arrive at your destination. We have an opportunity to travel as ladies and gentlemen and not be treated as an animal on an aircraft. When I look at the TSA boarding lines at the airports they look exactly like lines of prisoners entering a correctional facility.  The inside of an aircraft passenger compartment is a capsule of people all breathing the same filthy, bacteria and disease laden air.  The seats are built for a midget, the leg room getting tighter. The whole experience is negative and to top it off you then risk the luck of the draw by being seated next to someone with very poor sanitary habits. Its a filthy, disgusting, dehumanizing, degrading experience that people accept like sheep.   What does that tell you?

Well thank you so much for describing me and others in such a nasty way.  I'm not an animal or a prisoner.  I'm not some filthy, bacteria and disease laden person poisoning your air.  I'm not a midget, but I do know the seat pitch is tight for those taller than me.

I do not find flying "a filthy, disgusting, dehumanizing, degrading experience that people accept like sheep."

 

You must live in a bubble because those same people on the planes ride trains, shop in stores, go to country clubs, theaters, etc etc.


2011: Jun: WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER) // Nov: WIL=>WAS=>CHI=>PRO (NER=>CL=>CZ)
2012: Apr: WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER) // May(NTD): WIL=>PHL=>WIL (NER) / PHL=>PAO=>PHL (Keystone) // Aug: WIL=>WAS (NER) / BWI=>WIL (NER) // Oct(Gathering): PHL=>WIL (NER) / PHL=>HAR=>PHL (Keystone) / SEPTA, NJT, PATCO, River Line, Princeton Dinky
2013: May(NTD): WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER)  // Oct (Gathering): WIL=>CHI (Card) / CHI=>MKE=>GLN=>CHI() / CHI=>JOL=>CHI () / CHI=>WIL(CL=>NER) / CTA, Metra. SEPTA (WIL=>NRK) // Nov:  PHL=>PHL (Autumn Express) 
2014: May(NTD):  WIL=>PHL=>WIL(NER) // May:  WIL=>BOS=>WIL(NER) day trip

2014: Oct(Gathering): WIL=>NYP=>TOL(pd-NER=>LSL) / TOL=>CHI=>LAX=>EMY(pts-LSL=>SWC=>CS) / EMY=>CHI=>TOL (pts-CZ-CL) / TOL=>WAS=>WIL(pd-CL=>NER)
2015: May: CHI=>CIN(pd-Card) / CIN=>WIL(pts Card)
2015;  Oct(Gathering):  WIL=>WAS(Acela) / ALX=>WAS(NER) / WAS=>BAL(Acela) / WAS=>WIL(NER)

2016: Mar: WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER)  // Oct:  WIL=>NYP=>NYP=>WIL (Autumn Express) 


#30 JayPea

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 09:49 AM


Travel exclusively by car (local) and train for long distance trips. My wife feels the same way. The train provides a relaxing comfortable way to arrive at your destination. We have an opportunity to travel as ladies and gentlemen and not be treated as an animal on an aircraft. When I look at the TSA boarding lines at the airports they look exactly like lines of prisoners entering a correctional facility.  The inside of an aircraft passenger compartment is a capsule of people all breathing the same filthy, bacteria and disease laden air.  The seats are built for a midget, the leg room getting tighter. The whole experience is negative and to top it off you then risk the luck of the draw by being seated next to someone with very poor sanitary habits. Its a filthy, disgusting, dehumanizing, degrading experience that people accept like sheep.   What does that tell you?

Well thank you so much for describing me and others in such a nasty way.  I'm not an animal or a prisoner.  I'm not some filthy, bacteria and disease laden person poisoning your air.  I'm not a midget, but I do know the seat pitch is tight for those taller than me.
I do not find flying "a filthy, disgusting, dehumanizing, degrading experience that people accept like sheep."
 
You must live in a bubble because those same people on the planes ride trains, shop in stores, go to country clubs, theaters, etc etc.

What she said goes double for me. I am tired of being called a sheep (maybe not personally, but thrown in as a group) because I fly. Next year I plan to take myself for a birthday gift to Hawaii. How am I supposed to get there??? Swim???? And a couple of years ago, I went to Alaska to ride the Alaska Railroad. I had neither the time nor the money to take a cruise there. How was I supposed to get there????Walk???? I can appreciate the fact you and your wife don't fly. Perfectly fair, perfectly reasonable, perfectly fine. I too believe that taking the train is so much more relaxing. I get that. But to demean everyone for choosing to fly because YOU abhor it doesn't cut it with me. Among the foibles of the human condition I find the most disgusting are arrogance and condescension. You seem to have an overabundance of both.
Amtrak Routes Traveled: City of New Orleans, State House/Lincoln Service, Empire Builder, California Zephyr, Southwest Chief, Cascades, Crescent, Capitol Limited, Coast Starlight, Texas Eagle/Sunset Limited, Silver Meteor, Lake Shore Limited, Pacific Surfliner, Cardinal, Vermonter, Northeast Regional, Downeaster
 
Pre-Amtrak Routes Traveled:
Empire Builder (Great Northern), North Coast Limited (Northern Pacific), Abraham Lincoln (Gulf, Mobile, and Ohio), City of Hinkle  (Union Pacific) Panama Limited (Illinois Central)

Bustitutions: Portland-Spokane (EB),Galesburg-Bloomington (CZ/Lincoln Service )
 

Amtrak Miles: 85410

Pre-Amtrak Miles: 8478

Bustitution Miles: 450

Excursion trains ridden:  Centralia and Chehalis Railroad, Mt. Hood Scenic Railroad, Alaska Railroad, 1880 Train (Black Hills Central RR) and trains at the Illinois Railway Museum, California Railway Museum, and the Monticello (IL) Railroad Museum.

#31 AmtrakBlue

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 10:06 AM

 

 

Travel exclusively by car (local) and train for long distance trips. My wife feels the same way. The train provides a relaxing comfortable way to arrive at your destination. We have an opportunity to travel as ladies and gentlemen and not be treated as an animal on an aircraft. When I look at the TSA boarding lines at the airports they look exactly like lines of prisoners entering a correctional facility.  The inside of an aircraft passenger compartment is a capsule of people all breathing the same filthy, bacteria and disease laden air.  The seats are built for a midget, the leg room getting tighter. The whole experience is negative and to top it off you then risk the luck of the draw by being seated next to someone with very poor sanitary habits. Its a filthy, disgusting, dehumanizing, degrading experience that people accept like sheep.   What does that tell you?

Well thank you so much for describing me and others in such a nasty way.  I'm not an animal or a prisoner.  I'm not some filthy, bacteria and disease laden person poisoning your air.  I'm not a midget, but I do know the seat pitch is tight for those taller than me.
I do not find flying "a filthy, disgusting, dehumanizing, degrading experience that people accept like sheep."
 
You must live in a bubble because those same people on the planes ride trains, shop in stores, go to country clubs, theaters, etc etc.

What she said goes double for me. I am tired of being called a sheep (maybe not personally, but thrown in as a group) because I fly. Next year I plan to take myself for a birthday gift to Hawaii. How am I supposed to get there??? Swim???? And a couple of years ago, I went to Alaska to ride the Alaska Railroad. I had neither the time nor the money to take a cruise there. How was I supposed to get there????Walk???? I can appreciate the fact you and your wife don't fly. Perfectly fair, perfectly reasonable, perfectly fine. I too believe that taking the train is so much more relaxing. I get that. But to demean everyone for choosing to fly because YOU abhor it doesn't cut it with me. Among the foibles of the human condition I find the most disgusting are arrogance and condescension. You seem to have an overabundance of both.

 

Well said!


2011: Jun: WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER) // Nov: WIL=>WAS=>CHI=>PRO (NER=>CL=>CZ)
2012: Apr: WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER) // May(NTD): WIL=>PHL=>WIL (NER) / PHL=>PAO=>PHL (Keystone) // Aug: WIL=>WAS (NER) / BWI=>WIL (NER) // Oct(Gathering): PHL=>WIL (NER) / PHL=>HAR=>PHL (Keystone) / SEPTA, NJT, PATCO, River Line, Princeton Dinky
2013: May(NTD): WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER)  // Oct (Gathering): WIL=>CHI (Card) / CHI=>MKE=>GLN=>CHI() / CHI=>JOL=>CHI () / CHI=>WIL(CL=>NER) / CTA, Metra. SEPTA (WIL=>NRK) // Nov:  PHL=>PHL (Autumn Express) 
2014: May(NTD):  WIL=>PHL=>WIL(NER) // May:  WIL=>BOS=>WIL(NER) day trip

2014: Oct(Gathering): WIL=>NYP=>TOL(pd-NER=>LSL) / TOL=>CHI=>LAX=>EMY(pts-LSL=>SWC=>CS) / EMY=>CHI=>TOL (pts-CZ-CL) / TOL=>WAS=>WIL(pd-CL=>NER)
2015: May: CHI=>CIN(pd-Card) / CIN=>WIL(pts Card)
2015;  Oct(Gathering):  WIL=>WAS(Acela) / ALX=>WAS(NER) / WAS=>BAL(Acela) / WAS=>WIL(NER)

2016: Mar: WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER)  // Oct:  WIL=>NYP=>NYP=>WIL (Autumn Express) 


#32 the_traveler

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 10:51 AM

I agree with both of the above!

I only fly if I have to. And even then, a trip by train is included in there somewhere. Later this year, on a multi-segment trip, parts 1 & 3 will be by air (due to time constraints) and parts 2 & 4 will be by train!
Take it easy .......

Take the train instead and enjoy the ride!

The view is much better at 3 feet than it is at 30,000 feet!

#33 Lonestar648

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 11:20 AM

I do know that my doctors stopped me from flying for a couple years because of the air quality on planes.  It is a fact that only the pilots get continuous fresh air for safety reasons, while the cabin gets recycled air.  The issues with this for my doctors is that others who may have or just starting to get sick are putting out germs that the air system sucks in and the blows out through the air vents into your face.  It is not possible for the airlines to provide continuous fresh air for the cabin.  I don't feel unclean on a plane, though sometimes the bathroom can become a challenge.  The only unhealthy aspect of flying is the air system.  On trains air is circulated with inside and outside air and it is also possible to redistribute someone's germs, but with the introduction of fresh air you are not circulating the same air over and over.  I have always preferred train travel, but schedules have made flying or driving a necessity way too often.


Trains Traveled On:
Texas Eagle                                      Sunset Limited                            California Zephyr                                Southwest Chief                Empire Builder            Capitol Limited           Lake Shore limited (NYP & BOS)      Crescent
Kentucky Cardinal                             Cardinal                                       Pere Marquette                                  Wolverines                        Lincoln Service            Empire Service          Keystone Service                               Acelas
NE Regionals                                    Pioneer                                        Desert Wind                                       Broadway Limited             Three Rivers                 Coast Starlight                          
 
Amtrak Miles Logged: over 211,000


#34 Ryan

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 12:40 PM

You people need to educate yourselves on how airplanes actually work and stop spreading dumb stuff like this.

Air inside the fuselage is changed over many, many times per hour.

Its a filthy, disgusting, dehumanizing, degrading experience that people accept like sheep.   What does that tell you?


It tells me that you're a poorly educated, narrow minded person that can't think outside of your own experience and can't imagine a world where it is acceptable for people to hold differing viewpoints and have different priorities.

Perhaps you should talk less and listen more to the people around you and try and understand their viewpoint rather than insult them constantly.
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#35 niemi24s

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 01:29 PM

Ryan is spot on as can be seen here:  http://www.askthepil...in-air-quality/ Some think cabin air should all be nice fresh air from the outside, but fail to recognize that above 18,000 feet there is  insufficient oxygen available in the low pressure outside air to sustain normal human functions.  That's why there are oxygen masks for all passengers and why cabin air can't all be from the outside - unless you want to fly below 18,000 feet.  Above about 18,000 feet be thankful you're not breathing uncompressed 100% outside air - mild hypoxia is not fun at all. 


Edited by niemi24s, 18 March 2017 - 04:07 PM.


#36 Ryan

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 01:45 PM

Technically, since the air is completely changed over every few minutes, you are breathing 100% outside air, just more of it than is out there due to the beauty of air compression. Some of it has just been in the cabin for a little bit longer than others. :D
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#37 neroden

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 02:53 PM

There are a lot of documented studies regarding poor air quality in recirculated airplane air.

But to be fair, most of them were from the days when they allowed smoking on planes. That... is no good.

Even the newer studies which show poor air quality are of older airplanes. You may be better off in a recently-built plane than in a 737-300. The complaints about air quality have been going on for a long time, and it appears the manufacturers eventually responded.

Edited by neroden, 18 March 2017 - 02:55 PM.

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#38 niemi24s

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 03:44 PM

I'm guessing many airplane air quality complaints are about low humidity and exhaust gas odors.  At altitude, there is very little moisture in the outside air and I don't think many (if any) airplanes have humidifiers.  On the ground at the gate, wind direction plays a role in blowing exhaust gasses from the idling engines toward the air system's intake, which is usually at the aft end of the airplane.    


Edited by niemi24s, 18 March 2017 - 04:04 PM.


#39 Dakota 400

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 06:10 PM

Why do I travel by train?

 

#1:  It is a scenic journey through whatever part of America I am traveling.

 

#2:  My first train trip was in the early 1950's as a child with many other trips following.  Returning for another rail trip is a journey down memory lane.

 

#3:  I have met some very interesting and pleasant people on my Amtrak journeys and have shared travel experiences with them.  I have observed some "other" characters as well as one "gentleman" on the SWC that had to be removed not to long after we left Los Angeles.

 

#4:  Breakfast, Lunch, and/or  Dinner in the Dining Car is still a special occasion for me.

 

#5:  Even flying domestic First Class with TSA Pre-Check, Amtrak is a more pleasant travel experience.

 

#6:  I am blessed with the time and resources available to make such trips. 



#40 SarahZ

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 07:50 PM

I travel by train to Chicago because it takes about the same amount of time as driving, and I can do homework, read, and relax. The cost is higher than gas and tolls (parking is moot, as I park for free), but the benefit of being able to rest instead of driving balances that out, especially during the winter.

 

In the past, I traveled on the SWC every year because my then-boyfriend was afraid of flying, so it was the only way to see his family for the holidays. I also traveled on many LD routes I'd never been on before, and I was able to see some states that were new to me.

 

When I had the choice of plane or train, my choice depended on a few factors: 

 

If my goal was to see the city at the endpoint and/or a person in that city, I flew so I'd have more time in that city/with that person. When you only have a week for vacation and you're dying to see some new city or a friend you haven't seen in five years, time is more important than scenery.

 

If my goal was to see the scenery along the route and/or experience a new train, I took Amtrak. In those cases, the train was the vacation.

 

If I was on a business trip, I flew since it saved time. The exception was a trip to Dallas; I'd never been on the Texas Eagle, and my company gave me permission to take the train as long as I covered the roomette charge.

 

I honestly enjoy flying. I love the hustle and bustle of airports. When I have enough time and I'm in a new airport, I wander around and check it out. I get through the TSA check pretty quickly, unless I'm stuck behind a bunch of idiots who can't figure out the belt/shoes/tray system.

 

Takeoff and landing are my favorite part. I always get a window seat so I can watch. :) As far as "fresh air" is concerned, I just turn the nozzle so it points at my face. As a result, I never feel like it's stuffy. I think being near the window helps since it's colder and doesn't feel as confined. Plus, I'm 5'5", so the seat pitch isn't an issue. If the plane has screens, I keep it set to the map because I like to see where we are when I glance up from my book, just like people who watch maps on the train.

 

People claim you can't see anything from the plane, but I've seen many wonderful things. If it's cloudy, I feel like I'm in some awesome fantasy movie where we live on top of the clouds. I've see the Rockies in the U.S. and Canada. I've seen the salt flats in Utah. I've seen Chicago's skyscrapers looking super itty bitty, not to mention the beauty of Chicago's grid at night. On a flight from London, Ontario to Winnipeg, we flew across northern Michigan and I was able to pick out I-75, Houghton Lake, Sleeping Bear Dunes, and the Mackinac Bridge.

 

Yeah, clouds get boring after a few hours, but I could argue that some of the scenery from the train gets boring after a few hours too. I've seen enough junkyards, grain silos, and corn fields to last a lifetime. ;)

So, honestly, it's a toss-up. I enjoy traveling, whether by train or plane, so it just comes down to time, money, and other circumstances.


Amtrak Miles: 39,318

 

Amtrak Routes: Blue Water, California Zephyr, Capitol Limited, Carl Sandburg, City of New Orleans, Coast Starlight, Crescent, Empire Builder, Hiawatha, Illinois Zephyr, Lincoln Service, Southwest Chief, Texas Eagle, Wolverine

 

Metropolitan Rail: Chicago Metra, Chicago L, Dallas TRE, Detroit People Mover, New Orleans RTA, San Francisco MUNI, Seattle Monorail, South Shore Line (NICTD), Toronto Subway & RT, Washington DC Metro





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