Train Travel

My First Experience at Train Travel

There I was - forty-five years old, and I'd never done any sort of train travel in my life. Of course, me being an American, that really was not that strange. In the United States, we love our cars and plans, and until recently, they were quite economical. But, as we've all seen, gas prices are going crazy. One month they're up, the next they're down, and who knows where they'll end up? And going by airplane; oh, what headaches. If the ticket prices don't give you a case of shock, the added costs for all the little services on board will! Plus, you have security to get through; they do everything short of a body cavity search.

As it happened, I was a little familiar with train travel. My Mother and her third husband would drive up to visit us here in Orlando at the start of every summer. They would be on their way to catch the auto train in Sanford, which wasn't far from us. My Mother raved about the train, about how nice it was to just relax and ride along. We were glad they took the train; with her in her 80's and her husband in his 90's, neither was fit to drive far.

Well, just last year, her husband passed away. My Mother was very nervous about the idea of train travel on her own. So, we had an idea: I'd take a long vacation at the same time that she was coming up on her way to the train travel, and we'd go along with her. Oh, was she happy - one of her sons, a daughter-in-law, and a granddaughter coming with her to her ultimate destination: Martha's Vineyard Island.

So, on the appointed day, she pulled into our driveway, and we loaded up our bags into her car. Now, other than my Mother, none of us had done any train travel; so we didn't know what to expect. She told us something about it, and raved about how affordable it was; especially as she'd gotten the tickets early - months in advance.

We drove into the train station, checked in, and the attendants took the car away. From the waiting area, we could see them loading the car into the special railway cars, and then they ushered us aboard. Here it was, my first experience at train travel. It started out slow and steady; as we were in an urban center and would be passing through a lot of cities. But, once we got out into the countryside, the engineer opened her up, and we really flew along those tracks.

I could see that train travel was quite comfortable. We could sit in our seats or get up and move around. The train had a dining car, a club car, and electrical outlets right next to our seats. Talk about an economical way to entertain yourself. We just plugged in our portable DVD player, popped in a movie, and relaxed. Myself, I had my laptop along, and I got some writing done. I was disappointed that the train didn't have any sort of internet connections, but I figured that was a small price to pay for the cheap price of the tickets.

As the day wore on, our train travel was interrupted a few times by stops at various stations, but not very many. As my Mother explained, the auto train travel route was almost an express. Since getting vehicles on and off was difficult, it was set up that way deliberately. Later, in the early evening, a movie was shown in the club car.

The next day, we got off in Washington, and continued on our way. I couldn't help but feel disappointed; I'd learned to love train travel, from just that one trip. Now, we're already making plans for next summer.