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Friday, February 19, 2010

Taking the "A" Train

I recently rode Amtrak on the stretch of rail between Portland and Chico. I certainly don't envision a "passenger bill of rights" coming anytime soon for rail travel in the U.S. - there would just be way too many violations. My train was two and a half hours late to arrive at the station and whisk me on my way, which meant a really really late night waiting for it to arrive. And while the prospects of making up time en route looked good at first, hitting a tree 20 inches in diameter and later partially dragging the engine's snow plow (most likely because of our accident) prevented us from arriving even close to on time.

I suppose much of the problems with US train travel stem from non-dedicated rails for Amtrak trains, which causes them to yield to freight trains and slow down any forward progress. Also, the infrastructure is ancient and in need of huge upgrades if we ever might dream of European-like rail travel. But overall, if you have the time to travel by train and even the extra cushion for when your rail travel goes awry, I would recommend it! It was relaxing, comfortable, spacious, and even calming. When I wasn't struggling to stay awake, I enjoyed a power outlet for laptop use, a wide reclining seat, the ability to walk around the train, and gorgeous views of the diverse and ever-changing Oregon landscape.


My camera was packed away in my luggage, so you'll have to excuse the size and quality of these images. I did my best with my camera phone to capture the countryside. This shot is just outside of Chemult in Southern Oregon near Crater Lake. The sky was so blue, the trees a vibrant forest green, and the snow blazingly white.

As we traveled through the rugged Central Cascades, I captured the above image. The train was hugging an equally steep cliff and I snapped this between tunnels while waiting for a break in the trees.

And when we finally arrived in Portland, we stopped just short of the station and I tried to grab a photo of the early sunset and Portland's Broadway and Fremont bridges.

Eric Lovelin Photography

1 comment:

  1. Awesome. Did you ever travel by train in the Alps? I hear that can't be beat.