Friday, April 08, 2011

Amtrak California

Amtrak service in California has been getting better over the last couple of years in a perverse inversion of the decline of other public transportation services such as Muni or domestic airlines.

Feeder buses arrived in Bakersfield from locations all over Southern California Thursday afternoon for the 1:20 PM San Joaquin Amtrak train traveling north to the Bay Area.

The weather was fabulously variable, with sun one minute and hail the next.

Michael Waite above shared a table with me, and he was a terrific traveling companion, telling stories of his huge Mormon family in Bakersfield, his solo escape to UC Berkeley to study philosophy, and his current plans for world travel starting with an English teaching job in Korea.

His palpable happiness the closer the train came to the Bay Area was infectious.

By chance, the other passengers in our car were an outrageously raucous mixture of every race and age, all drinking and shouting and laughing and screaming into cell phones.

The 13-hour trip from Palm Springs to San Francisco was grueling but it was also lots of fun.

1 comment:

Greg said...

Amtrak is awesome. I use the capitol corridor often, and I took a train to San Diego (Although we had to take the amtrak bus to Santa Barbara first, it was still cool), and most recently took the Zephyr as part of my DC-SF trip.

And the Acela? SUPER civilized.

That's what I'm always amazed at about train travel - the people at Amtrak always treat you so nicely, and the experience is easier than a long drive (which I've done plenty of times, too).