All aboard

rail.jpgJust back from a week on Amtrak. Flew to Chicago and rode to Seattle on the Empire Builder; continued to Los Angeles on the Coast Starlight and returned to the Valley on the Texas Eagle. It was the first time doing long distance train travel since, as kids, my sister and I rode from Dayton to St. Louis for summer grandparent visits. Moving to Arizona with its proximity to the west coast, I often spoke of taking the Coast Starlight . Finally, putting words into action, Amtrak and I became one.

This trip created a love/hate relationship with the railroads including much love for Amtrak and much frustration with Union Pacific (train personnel say UP doesn’t mean Union Pacific – instead, it stands for Usually Parked). Our trip ended in Maricopa, AZ – a doublewide trailer and 50 feet of concrete comprise the full extent of the station. Informed sources tell me Phoenix used to host train travelers, but now the nearest place to hear “all aboard” is Maricopa. Sadly, the Valley’s autolovefest keeps freeway building a priority over public/mass transportation. Even LA, with its traffic-clogged highways, makes use of subways and trains. Oh well, no one around here seems to care. Even though Phoenix and UP have done their best to make it difficult, try the train sometime – you might be surprised and like it.

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