Sunday, 22 March 2009

Tales from the rails in America

"I think all Americans should take the train once, it would do wonders for the American spirit", says Jackie, a traveler aboard a cross-country train in America. Jackie is one of the 5 travelers who shares her story and appreciation for train travel in one of the brilliant short videos for the New York Times article 'Riding the rails'.

Train travel may be a routine occurrence here in Europe, but in the US, where the distances are vast and a large majority drive their cars everywhere, train travel is rare. But with global warming becoming a more mainstream concern and Obama focusing on better public transport, rail travel is gaining popularity.

Jackie points out that people talk to each other more on trains - it's normal to ask fellow passengers where they're going, where they've come from and just enjoy watching the changing landscapes together from the observation deck. In tune with the slowmoves ethos, one man, Gerald calls it therapeutic because it's less fast-paced. As opposed to the airplane, or even the car, you can watch farmlands, desserts and rivers, observe the changing seasons and comfortably walk through the carriages.

The Cardinal
This U-shaped train journey takes you from New York to Chicago, taking 27 hours and stopping 31 times at many of the hot spots of American history - Baltimore, Washington, Cincinatti...
Fares start at $84

The California Zephyr
Runs daily from Chicago all the way to Emeryville, California. It can take less than 4 days and passes through the Rocky mountains, the Nevada dessert and the Sierra Nevada.
Fares start at $145

All photos from New York Times:

One of the most beautiful train journeys I ever took was along the coast from Marseilles in France to Nice. There's something so dreamy and inspiring about seeing the coastline change little by little. What are some of your favourite train journeys?


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