Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I went down to Pennsylvania for about 48 hours this past weekend. Now that Mrs. Gerbil and I live on the East Coast, it's much easier to plan last-minute trips to my parents' house. Instead of being cooped up in a plane for 5 hours, plus enduring all the aggravations of the airport, I stretched out on Amtrak for 5 hours.

In my experience, time passes much more quickly on the train than on the plane. For one, there's cool stuff to see outside. You can gauge your progress by which stops the train has yet to make. The seats are wide, there's lots of legroom, the bathrooms are reasonably sized, and you can walk up and down the aisles the whole time without getting stuck behind a beverage cart or being ordered to go put your seatbelt on. Because the train doesn't have seatbelts.

I think there's a certain beauty in the run-down structures that one typically sees along the tracks. Also, I find trainyards absolutely fascinating. I can't explain it. This journey definitely did not disappoint on either the dilapidated building front or the trainyard front.

In one of the trainyards in Connecticut, I spied the most amazing maintenance of way cars. I am not sure what they are called, but they are flat and have a big metal steering wheel type thing on one end. They can be connected to each other or to an engine, and they are obviously not for transporting anything beyond the yard. One of these cars was particularly awesome. At one end was stenciled the following instruction:


I'm sure this means something very particular in train-speak. At least, I hope it does. Either way, it's very good advice.


Lavender said...

I have never ridden on a train. I'll have to try that sometime. :-) Sounds relaxing.

Heather said...

Helllooooo. How's about you tell me before you make one of these trips to PA? I know a one-time alien cow who would love to see you.

Of course, I was in D.C. last weekend... but it's a good theory.

Lea said...

It is a twoish hour train ride to my parents' house and I do enjoy that mode of transportation. I observe the same details of the inside of the train, PLUS electrical outets in case I need to curl my hair.

I will certainly be looking for DO NOT HUMP signs on my upcoming trip on the rails.

Gerbil said...

Moo: but of course! Perhaps next time I'll be there longer than 48 hours :P

jcat said...

One of my favourite things ever was catching the Amtrak from NY to Denver with my ex-BF. Going by train is just such a different way of looking at things.

Took two nights and 2 1/2 days, and the only bad bit was freezing my butt off in Chicago even though we were wearing ski gear.