The Unexpected Pleasure of Travel by Amtrak

September 8, 2015

The sun slowly turned the dark purple night skies a faint shade of yellow as my wife Karen and I sat on a metal bench outside of the closed, near-deserted Miami Amtrak station far from the center-city lights. It was 6:30 a.m. and no one else seemed to be around until an outstretched leg stirred just beyond a wall 20 feet away. It was a homeless guy. I remember wondering, “Who takes Amtrak?”

It turns out a lot of people take Amtrak. In 2013, ridership hit an all-time high of 31.6 million passengers, the most in the rail line’s history. That year Amtrak also recorded the tenth annual ridership record in the last 11 years.

More than 86,000 passengers ride aboard more than 300 Amtrak trains every day. While ridership declined slightly in 2014 to 30.9 million passengers, Amtrak is clearly a successful and valued travel product.

Which was all news to me. Growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, I was as familiar with train travel as any other urban American kid: I’d seen countless movies and TV shows that took place aboard passenger trains, but my real-life train experience did not extend beyond the New York subway.

In fact, with the exception of some Amtrak trips between New York and Boston during my high school days, I hadn’t traveled by train in years. I was even naive enough to imagine train travel was largely a forgotten relic, like so other things from my youth.

Read Brian Major’s full account at Travel Pulse by clicking here.


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