[Sca-cooks] OT OOP Amtrak Travel (was RE: OOP Bananas)

Lilinah lilinah at earthlink.net
Thu Jun 19 10:08:13 PDT 2008

niccolo wrote:
>Those times you quoted are not 'fixed', either.  The Amtrak has to share
>rails with freights that often do not cooperate with the time frames for
>passenger rail....
>I contend that if the time schedules could be firmed up and travel times
>reduced, then the trains would take on a chunk of the energy-expensive
>travel market.  It is just too relatively convenient, and takes FAR less
>time to drive myself or fly.

Keeping passenger trains running has been a money loser since people 
switched to flying a few decades ago - flying was still expensive 
through most of the 60s. I gather it became affordable in 70s. But it 
would be quite something to eliminate trains altogether, which is why 
some are still limping along.

Freight trains, on the other hand, are big money makers. So the loser 
defers to the winner... that is, passenger trains often have to pull 
over onto a siding to let freight trains pass. It was the opposite 
when i was a kid half a century ago.

But with the price of the cheapest gasoline close to and over $5 here 
in the SF Bay area, airlines raising their fares and decreasing their 
services and reducing the number of flights, etc., passenger trains 
may get a bump in ridership.

It took me 2-1/2 days to drive by myself from SF to Pennsic. IIRC, 
that was close to 3,000 miles. The train takes as long (well, longer, 
since one has to get from Pittsburgh to Pennsic), but one can do 
handwork, computer stuff, read, etc.

The drawback is sitting up all the way (i can't afford a bedroom). I 
can travel fairly rough - motorcycle around Europe for a month / 
weird modes of transport around Indonesia / busses in Morocco - and 
sleeping in the cheap places the locals use. But i can't sleep 
sitting in a "chair", even if it reclines - i sleep on my stomach. I 
remember some groggy 21-hour plane trips to Indonesia. I can nap a 
little, but not really sleep.

I'll definitely consider the train to Pennsic next year. But how does 
one get from the Pittsburgh train station to Pennsic with 100 lbs of 
baggage? A taxi would cost a bit much...

Question: When i went from (essentially) Berkeley to San Diego in 
1994 (a more than 12 hour trip), there was only greasy major corp. 
fast food on the train, but i gather that longer trips have dining 
cars. What sort of food to they have? I didn't see a menu on the 
AmTrak website last night, but i may have missed it.
Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
the persona formerly known as Anahita

My LibraryThing

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