January 21, 2010

TO RIDE THE RAILS IS TO LOVE THEM:

On the Rails (Ralph R. Reiland, 1.21.10, American Spectator)

I'm writing this somewhere in a swamp in Georgia, chugging northward on the Auto Train, the world's longest passenger train. [...]

Ticket prices depend on demand, like concert tickets. With the train packed with snow birds on our way down to Florida after Christmas, we paid $782 for a bedroom with a restroom/shower combination and a couch and chair that converted into bunks. The larger one's on the bottom. Forget feminism and equality -- I get the top bunk every time. I feel like a tuna in a can.

Coming back on a less crowded train, leaving most of the snowbirds in Florida, the price for the same room was $406.

The car, additionally, is $152 each way, plus there's a $70.65 rail fare each way.

Altogether, that's $1,633.30 -- not bad if you're staying for the winter and saving the cost of a car rental for 15 weeks or so. If a car rental is $200 a week, the train ends up as more than free, plus there's a complimentary wine tasting party in the lounge car during the first hour (this time with salmon appetizers -- usually it's only carrot sticks and those little cheese crackers), a free dinner at five or seven o'clock, a movie at seven and nine o'clock, and a complimentary continental breakfast (orange juice, coffee, a banana and those little boxes of Special-K and Rice Krispies). [...]

But it's efficient. Where else can you simultaneously read, drink, smoke, eat, talk, write, e-mail, and meet dozens of new characters, all while going 70 miles per hour?


If the train were headed North instead you'd really have to envy him.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 21, 2010 6:51 AM
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