As I sit here writing, my mind wanders to the U.S. election, and I wonder how it will turn out. It’s been a stressful few weeks and my stomach is in knots. What will be our itinerary for the next four to eight years?
When I think of all that has happened of late, there is very little that seems positive. Perhaps, though, there are a few things to cheer. High gas prices have made staycations popular and trips closer to home a necessity. Folks are driving less, car-pooling and looking with fresh eyes at Public Transportation, something we have sorely neglected in this country.
Train travel, a staple of my youth and commonplace in Europe and other parts of the world, is having a bit of a renaissance according to a recent New York Times article. Amtrak ridership is up 11% this year alone and the trend is increasing. California has a Proposition 1A—a High Speed Rail Bond Measure on the ballot today, hoping to fund a high speed rail service from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The goal is to create a two-hour train trip, a journey both locals and visitors to the Golden State would likely use. The French, Germans and Japanese do it, why can’t we? Politics aside, it would be great to get people across the country back into rail travel. It can be fun, efficient, and even luxurious. On the East Coast the NY- DC route competes with congested air travel and certainly in the New England Corridor, train travel is often the way to go. But what about the rest of the country?
I still remember my grandpa Milo (I was the eldest and called him “Bampa” because I couldn’t say grandpa and it stuck), who was a bit of a train buff, taking me to the station to watch the trains and he always put a penny on the tracks to flatten for me. What a quaint memory, but certainly fond. I’d like my kids to experience train travel, not as a novelty but as a mode of transportation: a serious option in the 21st century.