ATLANTA – For train fans, the only thing better than watching trains is riding them. And that’s what I’m about to do.
I decided rather than sitting around for my vacation, I’d hop on No. 20 (that’s the Northbound Crescent, for those of you who might not know) and take a trip to Washington, D.C. I’ll depart Atlanta at about 8 p.m. and arrive at Union Station at about 10 a.m. tomorrow morning. Yes, it’s a long trip, but it’s also an experience.
I reserved a coach seat. I thought that would provide me with the best train experience. Besides, I can still go to the bar and lounge car. And if I get hungry, there’s always the diner car.
Train travel isn’t even considered an option for most people today. We’re in too much of a hurry to wait for a train. Airplanes have taken over as the primary method of transportation. But there is still a mystique about trains – they’re an American romance, part of the country’s heritage.
And that’s why I decided to take the train. I used to live in Metuchen, N.J. – a stop off the Northeast corridor and a hop, skip and a jump away from the Big Apple. I remember watching the trains go by and asking N.J. Transit conductors for old, used tickets. I had amassed quite a collection of tickets.
It’s been about 15 years since I was last on an AMTRAK train. I last boarded at Metropark, in Iselin, N.J., en route to Newark, N.J. From there I took the PATH to the World Trade Center. This will be a different trip with a different destination. But I think the adventure will be just as much fun.