I LOVE the train -- Let the Airlines go Bankrupt!

AcelaIt's been 20 years since I rode the train line between Boston and Washington, D.C. and man have I missed a lot.  Today I got on the Amtrak Acela high-speed train in New York City at 4:25 PM and by 5:45 PM I was having dinner with new friends in Philadelphia.

Copious thanks to Mary Zove, administrator of Jacoby Donner in Philadelphia for making the arrangements, and to Frederick Esposito, Executive Director of Fineman Krekstein & Harris and to Gail Ruopp, Executive Director of Flaster Greenberg for the delicious salmon dinner.

What a piece of cake the train trip was.  I went to Penn Station in Manhattan and found a ticket computer terminal, swiped my card and it produced my ticket. Total cost: $56!  I found a seat with ample legroom, and an extending tray that I could put my notebook computer on.  Plus the train had electric outlets where I could plug in! There was tons of room for carry on luggage, and none of the folderol prohibitions on liquids.  The seat was comfy and wide and leaned back so I could snooze.  The ride was silent and smooth and I had no trouble catching a few z's.

The aisles were wide -- two people could pass each other wish ease -- and every car had a large, clean bathroom.  I was not restricted to having to "go" in my ticket class, as with the airlines.  The were big windows where you could watch the scenery go by.  And my cell phone and computer sky card worked the entire way -- none of that "shut everything off" command when leaving the terminal.

The was a car entirely devoted to dining, and it included wine and some classy snacks in addition to hot dogs and chips.  The dining car had big tables where you could spread out, eat and read the paper.  No need to sneak food onto the plane and eat it off your lap.

The end car on the train was a "quiet car" where no cell phones or noisy electronic devices were allowed.  The train started in the center of a city, and dropped me off in the downtown of my destination.  I didn't have to bother with airport shuttles and expensive cabs. This is the way travel should be!

So I say: let the accursed airlines go bankrupt.  Don't bail them out, but instead sell off their assets and take the money to build high-speed rail lines between New York, Chicago, L.A. -- all the big destinations. I just hate air travel and would like to see the jets sold and the terminals turned into museums.  If people want to fly, let them buy or share an airplane.  But for me, I want a seat on a train, where they still remember how good travel can be.

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Allison - September 29, 2006 8:13 AM

Larry -- Glad you had such a great time on the Acela. There is no better way to travel between PHL and NYC. It's not as ideal for the longer trips, such as BOS-DC. You were lucky not to experience any of its many quirks - the unexpected stops along the way to let the freight trains pass (once for over 2 hours), the slow-downs to 30 MPH, the 55 degree temps in the cars, the food that wasn't loaded and my personal favorite: the frozen engine! In short, Amtrak can be as frustrating on any given day as the airlines. You were fortunate to hit it right!

dominic jaar - September 29, 2006 6:36 PM

Generally, I tend to agree. However, I am currently in Madrid and, as a Quebecer (french canadian), I would not want to take the train for a cross-atlantic... So please, no bankruptcy!

voip word - October 12, 2006 11:15 AM
voip word - October 12, 2006 11:16 AM
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