What is train travel and what is it like? Train travel is a variety of railroad cars, services provided, socializaation, and a safe travel mode for getting from point A to point B. In addition, train travel is fun, relaxing, and can be a vacation in itself while going to a destination.
Trains usually have a variety of cars: coaches, sleepers, a diner, and a lounge. The coaches have large, comfortable seats with reclining backs and adjustable leg rests. To add to the comfort, a pull-down tray is at hand for eating, writing, playing games, or anthing useful. Students, children and adults put these trays to good use. On any day, students are seen studying and writing. Younger children are busy coloring or drawing. Snacks and drinks are also enjoyed by passengers at their coach seats as these trays are so convenient.
Space in the sleeping cars cost somewhat more, but gives privacy and comfort in a bedroom or a roomette. Private bathrooms are in each bedroom. Beds are in each compartment with train staff nearby to help with the setups. The beds can be folded away, then, comfortable seats are remade for daytime travel. Tables are also available for use in these rooms. For example, when traveling with young children the table is a positive feature as coloring books, crayons, and small games occupy the tabletop to make for a funtime.
Service is not only available in the sleepers, but in all cars. However, it is more noticeable in the diner and the lounge cars. Here, people are always looking for a meal, a snack, or just socialization, so these are the places most often visited while traveling on a train. The lounge and dining car personnel are always busy. There is never a minutes’ rest for them. When traveling long distances, the dining car crew may serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Of course, snacks and light meals are also obtainable in the lounge car.
Meeting and talking with different people traveling by the same means and going to, perhaps, the same destination is stimulating. Train travelers are foreigners, vacationers, and some are just out for a day’s ride. Each person has a different view of his or her travels, some good and some bad, but generally there is a good feeling amongst everyone on the train, especially in the diner and lounge cars. Foreigners may strike up a conversation and tell their story. They ask questions about the US trains and sometimes discuss the differences with trains in their country. Passengers also enjoy the scenery from wherever they sit in the train. Sometimes in the lounge car, someone will play a guitar and others start singing or humming. Great socialization happens.
Compared to automobile travel with new highter speed limits and numerous large trucks that are on the roads today, this means of travel is safe. Along with being safe, getting lost while traveling from point A to point B is unheard of since the tracks go in only one direction—to point B.
Train travel is fun and is a mini vacation in itself. Resting, sleeping, whether in coach or sleeper; playing games; talking with other people or family members; reading; eating—each of these is a part of train travel. The realization of this comes upon arriving safely at a destination rested and relaxed. Whether the destination is New York, Miami, New Orleans, Seattle, or Portland, the train travels that way.
Note: WOW! Time sure flies! I wrote this 16 years ago!