Sunday, February 27, 2011

Train travel....under appreciated.

VP Joe Biden spent 20 years commuting between Wilmington DE and Washington DC, by train.
Now I know why.
After spending the last 3 plus weeks aboard a tug, rockin and rollin, I now find myself, pulling away from Penn Station, in New York, in the quiet luxury of an Amtrak captains chair.
Window seat thank you.

This-is- living!
As my fellow tug crew members wait in JFK airport, probably just having gone through, the always fun exercise of disrobing before gallivanting through the screening machine of their choice, I calmly walked into the bowels of Madison Square Garden to purchase my train ticket.

That experience was as painless as ordering a water ice at the county fair. When was the last time you said at the ticket counter of a airline?
A 40 minute wait for my train afforded me the opportunity to sip on a Heineken and talk to a gentleman who was traveling home to Albany.
He had a funeral to go to in DC.
I felt bad.
Nice guy.

The big board tells me my train is coming in on track 7E. Walking up the stairs, I'm at the tracks. A friendly porter is pointing in the direction I should go. As I walk on the platform beside the train, I glance in and notice a sign.

That has my name written all over it. After spending 3 weeks with ear plugs in to deaden the ever present noise of the engines.......I want the damn quiet car.

I walk in the half empty car and choose a comfy recliner by the window. I take out my laptop, and before I can pull my blog up on the internet provided for free by Amtrak, we're quietly pulling out of the train station.

As I write this, we just stopped at, and left Newark New Jersey. The ticket lady came by and asked for my ticket.

She was whispering.

A female passenger across the isle asked to borrow my pen.
She was whispering too.

I love the quiet car.

As I look out the window I see neighborhoods slipping by. I see a Ford dealer and wonder how business is.

A minute later, a golf course, all green and lush, empty.
It's quiet there too.

Over the PA system our next stop is mentioned.
It's somewhere in New Jersey.
I think of my crew members again. They have 2 1/2 more hours to wait in the airport before their planes even begin to board.

Right now my wife is climbing into our car. She'll be picking me up in 40 minutes, when my train arrives in Wilmington DE.
I called her before I left the boat and suggested we do dinner in Wilmington.

I'm telling you, if you have a choice of traveling a few hours in the car, or relaxing on a train, you gotta go train.

40 minutes to go.


I wonder where that Club Car is?


Joey said...

I did a stint working in NYC and took Amtrak to and fro 5 days a week - in the quiet car!! It IS so nice. Have a great, relaxing few weeks at home, Mark. And enjoy dinner!

Jerral Miles said...

...puts me in mind of the Orient Express... and if there had been a murder aboard your train, I'm confident you'd have found the killer. Good writing!

slommler said...

Sounds heavenly!! I have taken several train rides and loved each of them. The last train I took was too Chicago from Ohio. We had such a wonderful time!! So I agree with you! Glad you had that time in the "Quiet Car"!!

Karen said...

I have never taken a train trip. And now I'm wondering why?

Enjoy your time at home - I would imagine after weeks at sea you might feel alittle disoriented on land (quiet land)

Diahn said...

Oh, my...I need a quiet car...

Melinda Owens said...

It sounds so inviting. Thanks for sharing. I've always wanted to ride a train and you just reminded me why. Hope you enjoyed your dinner...I have family in Wilmington that I haven't seen in quite a while.

beth said...

wow. i really want to take a train somewhere now. like right now.
and especially in the quiet car.
but with my luck, i'd end up meeting someone like you and we'd start talking and the other quiet people would get mad at us. i guess if we whispered we'd still be okay.
but you would make me laugh and i don't do that in a whispering voice at all.

Sandy said...

What a great trip home. Hope you enjoy your time off. I am sure it is truly deserved. Keep up the interesting stories. It is like reading a good novel.


Marilyn said...

This sounds totally delightful! I would love the quiet car. We have taken the train to Seattle a couple of times and I thoroughly enjoyed it.