Saturday, August 25, 2012
After my work trip in Washington I went to Boston to visit Shawn and Kara and I got there with Amtrak! This is the intercity train company in America. I was so looking forward to this to compare it with European train travel. Above is a picture from Wikipedia of what the train looks like. So old compared to European trains, apparently the cars are from the 1970's!
There were a number of people that were really surprised that I was taking the train, they asked was flying too expensive. I answered I did not even look, I wanted to ride the train, it was a big part of my trip! Yes it took 8 hours to get there, but a nice 8 hours getting to see a lot of things like Baltimore, Philadelphia, NYC, little towns, and all kinds of cool abandon warehouses. It was really cool and the time really just flew right by between me reading and gazing out the windows. Really enjoyable.
Now, about the train. It was much better than I expected! Still no Thalys, but still. I road in coach and the entire ride was only $70! The weird things was that in Washington you had to go to gates like you were about to get on an airplane. Everyone lined up too like they were waiting to get on a plane...I was like WTF. When the opened the door I thought to my self, this is stupid, it is a train, and I just walked in front on the line to the train. First strange thing was, there was no platform! This is a major train station and you had to walk up the train steps to get on the train! Strangest thing was that this was the only stop on the entire trip that was like that...even the little tiny stations had platforms. Strange.
The seats were huge with lots of room. There were even power outlets which was nice but I did not use them. The windows were a bit small compared to most trains I've been on but not too small I guess. The whole inside look and feel kinda reminded me a bit of being in a plane. The bathrooms were also really clean. That was a nice surprise.
Going through NYC was pretty cool. It was such a bummer that it was not possible to get out there for a while to look around and then take a different train the rest of the way to Boston. I did get some nice pictures of the city from the train though:
Almost everyone got out in NYC and a whole new group of people got in even the train workers. Throughout almost the entire ride, the train was full. That was a nice surprise as I didn't think people in America rode trains. I think it's a bit different on the east coast though compared to Pittsburgh. This too was also apparently the only electrified tracks that Amtrak has and the only section of tracks that they actually own.
In any case, I would highly recommend taking Amtrak if you have the opportunity. So much better than a plane and much less hassle. Next thing I want to try is riding through the mountains in the west, that is supposed to be pretty cool.