Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by ADbassman, Jan 17, 2006.

  1. Over the summer I took an Amtrak train from Alton, IL up to Bloomington-Normal, IL for a band camp. After that trip, I was hooked. I've been on a number of Amtrak trains since then going across the state and up into Illionis. Over the summer I want to take a long distance trip from Saint Louis, MO to Fort Worth, TX or Chicago, IL to Portland, OR.

    Trains are really a cool experience and seem to be a mostly forgotten form of travel (in the US anyway). Anybody else here ever taken a train trip? What was your experience?
  2. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    Never taken a train. But, there is an amtrak station in Champaign here. Ever been there?
  3. IotaNet

    IotaNet Supporting Member

    I used to take the train all the time from School to Home (SIU-Carbondale to Chicago) and back. It was always cool -- especially if you had some friends with you for the ride.

    I have taken some longer trips too and the best thing about the train is how much ROOM you have in the seats -- not like being sardined into a 737.

    I too, am interested in what it would be like to take a cross-country trip (in a sleeper compartment) one one of the trains with the observation dome. My Lady and I would probably enjoy something like that! :)
  4. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I love trains. So much more room than planes, and so much less waiting and crazy security paranoia (for now at least). Train stations are often grand old buildings with history and classic architecture from the 19th century. A stark contrast from modernist depressing airports. You can get up and walk to the cafe car and get a hot dog or something to drink any time. So much more civilized than airplane travel.

    Not to get too political, but I wish the US government would spend more money on them to make them a major form of transportation as part of a whole transportation system. Instead they demand that Amtrak be "profitable" while sinking hundreds of billions of dollars into Airport infrastructure and roadbuilding, which private companies reap profits from. :mad: Doesn't make any sense. I guess there's nobody specifically lobbying for more passenger rail since there aren't private companies involved.:eyebrow:

    I rode the TGV in France on my honeymoon. Now that is a passenger rail system!!!!:eek:
  5. jkritchey


    Jul 23, 2002
    Northern Va.
    Major +1. The attitude in this country towards trains is bizarre.
  6. jkritchey


    Jul 23, 2002
    Northern Va.
    Is your lady Eva Marie Saint?


    This what I think about every time I think about taking the train...:D :hyper:
  7. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    I recommend taking an over-night train with a bed in the sleeping compartment - train cafes an hour or two before the closing time are one of those places where you can sit on a table and share a pint with people of any kind of background. You meet both the best and the weirdest of people this way.
  8. Ask champ he might be able to tell you :).

    trains = fun.
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I was just wondering that very thing !!

    As when I look up terms like

    "Train Timetables"

    on Google , I get the British Railways website; whereas with most general searches on Google, it is very much a US-biased thing!!
  10. This is for a number of reasons, one of the more prominent being that except for in inner cities, driving is more convenient.

    I had to ride the Metro (Washington, DC subway system) over the past summer to get to and from work because parking/driving in DC is an expensive PITA. Instead, I had to drive to the Metro station, wait for a train, switch trains, wait again, and walk to my final destination. Driving is point to point.
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Why - what can be more convenient than having somebody else do the driving and letting them take the strain, while you sit and read or listen to music etc etc?:confused:
  12. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    It's a mindset. The passenger rail system in the US is pretty poor for the most part, with some exceptions. Amtrak in the Northeast Corridor (between Richmond and Boston) is oustanding. The DC Metro is a fairly rudimentary subway system with no express trains and many stops. Pretty much all passenger rail with some very few exceptions in the US is chronically underfunded.
  13. +2, Phil. ;)

    It's as though the government wants Amtrak to go under. :rollno:


  14. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    I've taken the Amtrak out of Chicago on a number of trips, but I would only recommend it for six hours or less. That seems to be the zone for me before I get a little stir crazy.

    Once we took the train to Denver. It took FOURTEEN hours. We also didn't spring for the sleeper car, another big mistake. Oy, that got old fast. I did not sleep very well.

    Overall, though, I love taking the train. :D I used to take the Metra from the 'burbs into the city for school every day, and that was great. I actually miss it.
  15. Driving is point-to-point.
  16. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    If we're talking about journeys that take 14 hours on a train - then how long would that be by car!! :eek:

    So I can see how people might say that Air Travel is more convenient than rail, but I can't see how car travel can be considered more convenient - surely it's just a recipe for over-tiredness and road accidents? :meh:
  17. Ohh. I think I misunderstood this. For long trips, eg 14 hour ones, trains are a much better and faster way to go. I was talking more about commuting/traveling locally.
  18. jkritchey


    Jul 23, 2002
    Northern Va.
    Actually, I think driving is almost always faster in the US, because the Train Tracks are controlled by the Freight companys (generally speaking) and the arrival time windows for longer travel on trains is way too broad.

    In addition, because of the trillions of $ the US has pumped into it's highway system, and the driving mentality here, driving those types of distances is not uncommon at all. I would undertake a 12 hour drive with no major stops with out thinking twice.
  19. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Both things horrify me - so it is terribly wasteful on resources, if railways are slower :rollno:

    So trains have the potential to be at least twice as fast as car travel - and safely!!

    Secondly, I would never contemplate driving for more than 3 hours without a break - anything else is just inviting accidents!! :meh:
  20. jkritchey


    Jul 23, 2002
    Northern Va.
    No question on the resources. As Phil pointed out earlier, for some reason Passenger Trains are expected to be a part of private industry, while Air and Car travel have been federally subsidized in the trillions of $.

    And a lot us in this country have grown up with long car travel. I can honestly say that I am just as tired after sitting on a train, bus or plan for 4 hours as I am driving. (BTW, I do stop for Bio breaks).