My 12.5 hour overnight train to Savannah last weekend was my second train trip I’ve taken in the past 2 months (check out my guide to taking the train here). I know it’s really not the standard way to travel in the US, but seriously, why all the weird looks and reactions? Why is it that train travel is perceived negatively in the US when in Europe everyone sees it as the norm? What was your initial reaction when you heard I took the train? Would you ever consider taking the train for an upcoming trip? I’m working on a piece for a class I’m taking and I’d love to hear your thoughts/perceptions.
P.S. Don’t miss Amtrak’s National Train Day on May 9th. Get the full scoop here.
May 1, 2009 at 6:36 pm //
i think that sounds really fun. i can’t wait to do it in europe and definitely wouldn’t rule it out here in the u.s. my grandmother takes the train sometimes to dallas and always seems to enjoy it.
a friend of mine is wanting to take a verrry long trip by train to nyc from okc this summer. we’ll see how that goes.
May 1, 2009 at 10:24 pm //
I’ve loved taking the train ever since my first ride to Toronto when I was about 15. Unfortunately, for those of us who don’t live on the east coast, train travel is a bit more difficult and onerous.
I like to be able to get up and walk around. I like not having middle seats. I like not having to hassle through checking luggage that may have more than 4 oz. of liquid! With fewer hassles, people are train travelers seem more friendly.
I don’t like that there are few direct trains. I don’t like that freight takes precedence over passenger trains, thus making rides long and arrival times unpredictable.
May 2, 2009 at 12:08 am //
I took 3 trains to get to a wedding in Long Island New York last weekend. Metro to Union Station in DC, Amtrak Northeast train to Penn Station NYC, and then the Long Island Railroad to Valley Stream, NY, which was a half a mile walk to the church. Total price: $70 and about half the time if I had driven the traffic clogged route. Love the train!
Prêt à Voyager
May 2, 2009 at 11:22 am //
i took the [MARC] train down to DC last night but they wouldn’t let us off for 15 min once we were at union station because VP biden was coming through!!
May 4, 2009 at 3:22 am //
OH that sounds kind of fun – although those long hours – must be fun with a friend though!
May 4, 2009 at 9:28 am //
Sure. Lots of trains around Europe and here at home, Sydney to Melbourne and back (overnight).
Prêt à Voyager
May 4, 2009 at 7:05 pm //
it’s not so long when you’re sleeping for the majority of it :)
May 6, 2009 at 1:12 am //
I’m all for the train, or any mode of transportation other than the dreaded driving, although my experiences heading north on a train (in the US) have been a million times more efficient than my experiences heading South back home to NC. There’s always a major hold up for some reason- I attribute it to the south being less dense and therefore less people use the train- at least up here some people use it for commutes and hopping between close cities. (ie, I’ve never heard of people taking the train from Raleigh to Charlotte. Does such train even exist? But from Baltimore to DC? totally!) Its just a half-baked theory, though. Anyway, for my anecdotal reason, I totally cringed when I heard you were taking the train down to Savannah.
May 6, 2009 at 8:27 pm //
I’m totally stoked for a train trip I have planned Chicago-Denver in June. Saved up enough to take a sleeper on the way back. So I guess my first reaction was – Train On!
June 29, 2009 at 6:05 am //
I love train ever since i was a kid. Your trip sounds really just fun, i can’t wait to travel again by train… By the way, just wondering if you might want to check out some reviews about Travel by Train. I bet you’ll find it interesting and resourceful.
July 11, 2009 at 10:59 pm //
My son and his bestfriend talked me into taking them on an overnight train trip from B’ham, AL to Boston, Mass several years ago. With a girlfriend along for company we took off for a 10 day adventure and had an absolute blast. We found the train very relaxing and the scenery was gorgeous. Watching the sunrise while feasting on “Bob Evans” breakfast bowls was a particular favorite of the 15 year old boys. My friend and I loved reading, sipping wine and watching the country go by out of our huge picture window. We had such a good time, we have since taken 3 more trips (2 on the same route but staying in DC and NY and the third last summer to Chicago). I can’t imagine what Americans have against train travel – I guess we are in just too big of a hurry. We have scoured the net for other US trips hoping to, perhaps, find another train co. to provide some variety; however, we have been thus far unsuccessful in locating anything starting or terminating anywhere near our native Montgomery, AL. Please clue us in if anyone knows of other possibilities. Thank you so much.