I love train travel. I am not a railfan but I've ridden many trains in my life - mostly, the New York City subway system, but also the Long Island Railroad, and PATH (a commuter train that travels between Manhattan and New Jersey). I traveled once on the late Atlantic Coast Line railroad (connected New York with Florida), and have traveled several times, most recently this past March, on Amtrak's Auto Train between northern Virginia and Sanford, Florida. Eventually, I hope to ride a train across the United States or even Canada - that planning, though, is in its early stages.
When you travel on a train, you see the country in a way totally different from a car (even on local roads) or from 35,000. feet. It is just, for many of us, a special experience.
I love the sounds and motions of the train. I find them soothing. Others enjoy the opportunity to make new friends, to socialize, and to be treated to excellent service (at least on the Auto Train, I have seen many examples of caring, patient service on the part of the Amtrak employees). In some ways, it is a window to a time past. We can get their quicker, but we make the slower decision on purpose.
My sister in law travels, a lot, on Metro-North trains between her home in the New York suburbs and Grand Central Station in midtown Manhattan. She attends a lot of cultural events in the city. My spouse and I have joined her twice to sightsee and shop. It's an enjoyable trip-it even travels through the neighborhood in the Bronx where I grew up in.
Train travel in the United States is normally quite safe. But, as demonstrated today, with a Metro North Hudson Line train traveling between Poughkeepsie, New York and Grand Central Station derailing in the Bronx, it can be dangerous. Of some 100 people on the train, some 63 were injured - four fatally. If this had happened on a weekday, and not on a Sunday, this toll would have been higher, perhaps much higher.
My heart goes out to the survivors, and the families, and all those who use this train to commute to and from work. Tomorrow will be a stressful day for many.
The Hudson Line travels through some very scenic areas of the Hudson Valley - and, if you have a few minutes, please treat yourself to some fall foliage video of the Hudson Line - taken not that long ago. So many people think of New York State as one huge New York City. It isn't.
There's been talk, although not recently, of building light rail service from Binghamton, New York, where I work, into New York City, through Scranton, Pennsylvania. We lost our Amtrak service many years ago. The way it looks now, it will never return.
But a part of me hopes for train travel to come back to Binghamton. We need some train romance here. Maybe one day...
Do you enjoy train travel?