Thursday, January 12, 2006
Lookit! Part 2
The Reno Fun Train left the snow at the Sierra foothills.
According to the bartender in the dome car, this was the most low-key group he'd ever seen on the Fun Train.
One of the reasons seemed to be that most of the passengers had stayed up all weekend and drank too much in Reno, so the majority of them were in their seats sleeping.
This worked out well since we were able to spend the whole day in the elevated dome car, which usually gets too full.
We chatted up a programmer from Citrus Heights, an ugly suburb next door to Sacramento. She told us that downtown Reno had become frightening to her because all the riff-raff was being allowed to hang out freely. "It didn't used to be that way. The casinos wouldn't allow it."
There were plenty of people who were still ready to play cards...
...and happily drink the afternoon away.
...until the sun went down.
At Sacramento, half the passengers exited at their great old train station.
The destruction of American passenger rail service during the last half of the 20th century is one of the great shames of our time, involving greed, stupidity and above all short-sightedness.
Besides employing lots of people, including Regina, who was working her first run ever as an Amtrak employee...
...it's also ecologically superior to car culture in every way.
Plus, there is a sensuality about train travel...
...with its constant movement...
...and the squeezing past fellow passengers in crowded aisles...
...that is unparalleled except while traveling on a boat, which has a very similar feel. Check it out.