“Railway termini are our gates to the glorious and the unknown. Through them we pass out into adventure and sunshine, to them, alas! we return.” E M Forster
I’ve traveled across North America by plane time and again. It’s rather tedious. Traveling to an airport on the outskirts of a city in an expensive taxi or dirt-slow shuttle; waiting in line for ticketing; waiting in line to check bags; waiting in line for security; waiting in line to board; waiting on the tarmac; delays; turbulence; flatulence.
We take off. Then land. I’m magically in a new corner within hours. Maybe I crossed mountains. Perhaps a river. I’m pretty sure we passed farms, cities and villages. Flying is a friends-with-benefits approach to travel. You get there just fine, but it’s not as meaningful as travel should be.
So, when my schedule permits, I love to travel by train. Amtrak and VIA Rail are both awesome. Interesting fellow-travelers, plenty of space to stretch out and, of course, those incredible views. A chance to see the “real” America between glimmering cities. This is “slow travel” at its very best.
Many train stations epitomise a bygone era of travel… heightening the excitement and anticipation of fellow travelers waiting in grand concourses.
I’ve almost crossed America by train. Sadly, though, I have to wait until 2020 before a route might exist to complete my journey: Denver to Albuquerque. A neat interactive map heralds America’s hopes and dreams for an impressive high-speed network. This is exciting. This could be the future.
I mapped my rail and bus travel:
A couple of photos from recent train journeys…