BootsnAll, Travel Challenge 2012
Week 12: Train Travel
What is it about train travel that captivates the imagination of travelers in every corner of the world? What about it makes the word “romantic” so apt? Do you have a rail experience that perfectly captures why we love trains so much? Or are you one of the people who actually avoids trains whenever possible?
I think the lure of trains is an easy question to answer - at least for me - and for two big reasons...
1) The romance. It could have something to do with watching too much Downton Abbey, but just being on a train makes me feel a little bit like I'm stepping back in time. There's no longer steam coming from the engine, but when I settle into my seat, I can imagine America coming into its own by laying tracks, or let myself disappear into a 19th/early 20th century novel. Perhaps while wearing a lovely, wide-brimmed hat. Trains are nostalgia -- a still-functioning relic of time gone by, and a way of life we've eradicated in almost every other way. Yet the trains hang on (thank goodness).
2) Why be in such a hurry? Most of the time (save a few night trains in Italy) trains give you a chance to sit back, relax, and watch the world go by as you move from place to place. You don't have to be in control of the vehicle. You can laugh and talk with your traveling companions (or make new ones), or shut everything out and lean your head against the window. Either way, it's a slower pace of travel, amidst a mass of people crammed onto freeways and airplanes, with only the destination in mind. On a train, you can enjoy the journey.
I can't say there's one particular experience that captures why I love trains so much. It's more of an "in total" situation, where every train, every trip, blends together in this really wonderful, romantic, easy way, where it's impossible to pin-point a moment; the love of rails is just there.
Ride that train,