Keri Cronin

Trains vs. Planes

4 Comments

I’m in Boston for the NEASA conference. The theme of the conference is “The Arts and the Public.” Should be good.

I opted not to fly to Boston this time. With each recent flight I have found myself growing more and more fed up with airline travel. I realized that even “short flights” become agonizingly long by the time one factors in security, customs, weather-related delays, over-crowded runways, etc.

For this trip I decide to take Amtrak down from Niagara Falls. It was a lovely trip, but the goddesses of travel wanted to make sure that I understood loud & clear that things like weather-related delays are not just limited to air travel. Ho hum. I was hours late getting into Boston because high winds knocked out power on the rail lines between New York and Boston.

Ok. Message received loud & clear. Travel can be a royal pain in the butt no matter what form of transportation one takes. I get it.

Having said that, I still think I’d opt for a train over a plane in the future if circumstances permit. It is just a more pleasant way to travel. On both the Niagara Falls – NYC and the NYC – Boston journeys the cars I rode in were nearly silent. It was quiet and peaceful, and I found the gentle sway of the cars relaxing. (so much so that I had a few naps along the way. I can’t recall the last time I was able to sleep on a plane!) The autumn scenery whipping along outside my window was beautiful to look at, and the dining car (yes, there was an actual dining car!) had vegan burgers and Sam Adams. I wouldn’t say it was the world’s best burger, but it sure the heck beats any airline food I’ve had recently (oh wait, that is because they generally never have anything I can eat!). Even the several hour delay in NYC wasn’t so bad — I mean, really, there are worse places to have to kill a few hours! I was thinking about how easy it was to just walk out of Penn Station and go for a stroll. Compare this to when you are stuck at an airport — airports are generally in the middle of nowhere and even if you decided to take a cab from the airport to another part of the city, there is the whole matter of having to go back through security, customs, etc. upon your return.

Plus, it is just a whole lot more fun to take pictures along the rail lines, and, really, doesn’t it always boil down to visual culture in the end anyhow?

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4 thoughts on “Trains vs. Planes

  1. As someone who is writing from a train that’s taking me from Vancouver to a conference in Vancouver, I wholeheartedly agree with your championing of rail… It does take a rather long time, at least to cross the continent. (I couldn’t do it if I weren’t on sabbatical.) But I get to write the paper on the train, too!

  2. These pictures are beautiful! I love taking pix from the train window!

  3. I have always wanted to travel by train. Everyone who does says it’s wonderful. The Bing website had an article of great train trips recently: http://www.bing.com/travel/content/search?q=Thrilling+Train+Trips%3a+The+Rocky+Mountaineer&cid=msn1145293&form=TRVCON&gt1=41000

    ‘Hope you’re doing well, Keri. :)

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