The Other Great Train Robbery

photoThere’s the legendary Great Train Robbery, the otherwise-known Cheddington Mail Van Raid, and that one was the classic sort of train robbery where mean and greedy people stole a big bunch of loot that was traveling by rail. Then there’s the other one, the baby version perhaps, but equally thoroughgoing: the way riding trains stole my heart. The first trip I remember taking by rail was when I was in junior high school and  went to help out a little at my aunt and uncle’s place across the state after the birth of their second child; I got to take the train home all by myself, and I sat up on the second, viewing deck watching the splendid scenery as we all rolled by, and that was it. I was smitten.photoThe marvelous European expedition I was privileged to share with my older sister when I was in college sealed the deal perfectly. Besides being convenient and allowing hands-free and restful travel with the simple ability to bask in the scenery, to rest or read or work, and no traffic or parking worries, train travel delights me with its multitude of stories to tell. It’s full of history and adventures–past, present and future–and the romance of all those tales surrounding me gives me an instant surge of pleasure and hope.photoAll subsequent opportunities to ride the rails have only fed my infatuation. I don’t much care if it’s for a short day jaunt on the subway or a cross-continent push in a sleeper car, I’m nearly always ready to get on board for another train outing. Is that a whistle I hear beckoning me with its come-hither siren song? Make way! I’m headed for the nearest station, and I’ve got my passport burning a hole in my pocket as we speak. All aboard!photo

10 thoughts on “The Other Great Train Robbery

  1. Train rides are really unforgettable experiences. I have heard enjoyable experiences of my friends of train rides in Europe. I have never been on a long train trip myself but intend to do so in future. Enjoy the train ride and travel safe my friend.

    • There is something almost luxurious about sitting on a train–even a fairly modest one full of busy people–and watching the world as I pass by, dreaming and wondering, and able to think about where I’ve been and where I’m going. Maybe that’s something of a metaphor for what I’m always seeking in daily life? I’ve had a few miserable times on trains (when I was ill or there were hooligans making it unpleasant for everybody) but they sink in memory beneath a sea of happier recollections from trips of beautiful and adventure-filled better days!

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  3. Love trains, live this post! Trains in Europe and Alaska are especially fabulous! I think we are going to take one in Canada to go see the Polar Bears in Churchill. This should be fun!

    • That will be truly spectacular! Richard and I have long dreamt of taking a trans-Canadian or Rocky Mountain train trip, but they’re pretty pricey, so we’ll have to save up for a long time. I’d love if the US would more truly get on board (!) with rail travel, since it’s so much more practical with growing populations, increased shipping, and inner-city congestion, and is a *long* proven mode of transport all over the world—not least of all, in US cities like NYC, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and Portland. But it’s expensive up front, and Americans think they’re being more independent by having their own zillion cars, so until that attitude shifts…. Meanwhile, I will happily take trains whenever and wherever I get the chance! I really do hope you’ll get to take that planned trip: it’ll be wonderful to see the scenery along the way while letting someone else do the driving, *and* you’ll get to see the polar bears. How fabulous, indeed!!!


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