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billyskank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 07:33 AM
Original message
In praise of...the train
The heroic uplands of the railway story were ironically in the country that now has least time for trains, America. Few engineering feats can compare with the Union Pacific/Central Pacific crossing of the continent, which saw 150,000 passengers in its first year. American railroads are in a league of their own for celebrity: the Rock Island Line, the Santa Fe, the Grand Trunk Pacific, the Mohawk and Hudson, the New York and Erie. Their engines were called Hiawathas, Eagles, Dixies and Chiefs, stupendous machines that could haul a hundred wagons across the prairie.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1727924,00.h...
:bounce:
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billyskank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 07:51 AM
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1. Kick
:bounce:
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-14-06 02:12 AM
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2. Kick
:bounce:
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tjwmason Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-14-06 03:48 AM
Response to Original message
3. These are what my local trains look like.


They used to look like this though:
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In_The_Wind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-14-06 04:38 AM
Response to Original message
4. I'm going to take a long train ride someday.
My longest one was 130 miles. :) I'm thinking 500+ miles.
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tjwmason Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-14-06 04:47 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. I used to do one fairly frequently.
From university to home - which is just under 500 miles.
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In_The_Wind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-14-06 05:15 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. The one round trip that I did was awesome.
I want to travel during the daytime. Most of the passenger trips I've checked out (because there is a DUer friend on the other end) were overnight rides. :(
500 miles doesn't take very long by rail maybe I should go 1000+ miles instead.
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tjwmason Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-14-06 05:20 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. 500 miles can pass quickly.
The route I used to take is the East-coast mainline - it encompasses a great variety of scenery. For a long time in the Scottish borders and northern England is literally follows the coast-line with some gorgeous views out over the sea.
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In_The_Wind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-14-06 05:37 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. I think I'll check out train trips to Florida.
I have an old friend who wants me to visit him. I truly dislike airports so the train may become an option after my first flight.
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billyskank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-14-06 05:45 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. I really like trains
If you're not in a great hurry, they are by far the best way to travel.
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In_The_Wind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-14-06 06:12 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. My biggest challenge will be learning to pack light.
I've got no reason to hurry about anything these days. I'm on vacation for the rest of my days.
My fathers family wasn't blessed with longevity. I lost one aunt when she was 39, an uncle at 49 and my father at 52. I expect to live longer because I have taken care of my body but I'm not wasting any of the time I have left for any reason. :)
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billyskank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-14-06 06:20 AM
Response to Reply #10
11. Yes, packing light is a hard thing to do
We always overestimate what we need to take and end up bringing loads of things we don't use.
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In_The_Wind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-14-06 06:26 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. I think if I only pack the things I had to wash after my last trip ...
it might be enough to take on the next adventure.

But I've got all these really great clothes that never go anywhere. x(
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billyskank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-14-06 06:29 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. That's good thinking
Do that, and take maybe one or two other things you think you might want to wear.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-14-06 09:03 AM
Response to Original message
14. I went from Minneapolis to Chicago and back on the train
It was great fun, and it made me angrier than ever at the Republicans for badmouthing Amtrak out of one side of their mouth while decrying America's dependence on foreign oil out of the other.

For great train experiences, go to Japan:



This is the interior of a Shinkansen "bullet train," standard coach. Plenty of room, the seats can be flipped around to create groups of four, and vendors come by constantly selling tea, coffee, beer, sake, snack foods, and box lunches.

Here's the exterior of one of the newer models. It looks like a lizard.



This one looks like a racing car:



Here's the route map:



But you don't have to travel far to enjoy the trains. Here's a map of the Tokyo-area surface rail and subway systems:


The solid dark lines are surface trains run by the JR (national) railroad. If you get a Japan Rail pass, you can ride those for no extra charge.



For the others, you can get a Passnet debit card in denominations up to 5000 yen ($42), which automatically deducts your fare at the turnstyle.



In the Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe area, you can use the Surutto Kansai card, which operates on a similar basis.



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tjwmason Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-14-06 09:10 AM
Response to Reply #14
15. Pass card systems are very helpful.
From here I can get a day travel-card into London - that includes return, and unlimited use of tubes or buses inside London.
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