All aboardFri 29 August 2014 by Rick Gilmore
My grandfather was a railroad man. He worked the freight line from Rawlins, Wyoming to Green River. He'd always tease us by saying "I say UP on a boxcar," but that really meant he was a proud employee of the Union Pacific. One employee benefit was discounted tickets on the UP's passenger line service. Some of my best memories of traveling to Rawlins from Denver involved long bouts in the observation car watching that beautiful Wyoming emptiness roll on by.
I've loved trains and train travel ever since. I love subways, cable cars, you name it. I took the train from Berkeley to Eugene once. A trip that should have lasted 12 hours took 18. Thank you freight owners for ignoring the federal rule that passenger trains should have the right-of-way. But, in truth, I didn't mind. The long, slow approach to Mt. Shasta was gorgeous, only exceeded by the slow crawl around that magnificent cone and the twisty descent along the Wilamette into Eugene. The route from San Diego to LA is also a must-see.
Today, I'm on the Empire service along the mighty Hudson, another scenic route. America has decimated its train service, but it's still the best way to travel if you really want to enjoy the ride. The seat room is better than United, too.