Tell us your favorite train story.

Have you had an interesting train ride? Were you a foreign visitor who toured the US by rail? Did you ride on top of a passenger car through India? Perhaps you met someone unexpected? (On my last trip I had someone telling about how the Cat Man happened to be on his train.) How about a fabulous destination? Tell us about it! I'd love to add your tales to my own!

(Please remember that this website is a celebration of train travel. I'll be the first to say that riding the train isn't for everyone. Flames against Amtrak or horror stories - unless they're really good - will probably get your story deleted.)

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If you left a story, please also sign my guestbook - Tuesday, September 04, 2007 at 23:15:35 (PDT)

How I ended up on the Train!! Oh what an adventure . I left Fla on the 9th at 7am from my home to the airport in Orlando. My flight was at 10 25 I live 30 mins from the airport I needed the extra time cause I have Vertigo and needed to take the neccesary precautions to ensure a less than stressful flight. I found myself 30 mins later on the side of the road with a shredded serpintine belt going nowhere! I was 4 mins from the airport,with a car smokin from both ends! Im a all growed up woman but I was scared. i called the boyfriend, he had to remind me I had AAA. Cars flyin bye me at 80 and no shoulders. Got through it thank goodness for AAA. Needless to say I didnt get to the airport till 10 after 10. Got on the plane and to put it bluntly I puked from Orlando To Oakland..... No love for Lisa Marie. I was so sick . I could not appreciate anything but a shower and to lay down and everything to stop spinning. i had to go to Calif. for an estate sttlement, I have 2 brothers and 2 sisters they had all gone in Jan. I couldnt take the time off. When I left that lawyers office the next day I was still dizzy from flying. I knew I just could not get back on that plane. I had a brainstorm and the time off to do it. I was gonna take the TRAIN. - Wednesday, July 11, 2007 at 05:31:48 (PDT)

I was going to start my story with my first meeting with Ebony but apparently I cant Copy Paste . Im so glad I* met cha My trip was strengthened(is that a word?) by sharin the down time with someone who Loved being where you were. Thanks too you it was more than just a way to get home. It was an adventure.Lotsa o Love LM

Darin Volpe - Tuesday, February 27, 2007 at 00:27:00 (PST)

I'll start the ball rolling with an early tale from my travels...

Darin's Big Gay Train Ride.

It was my first train trip. I had been in the North County Model Railroaders club for a while, and could often be seen lurking the SLO Amtrak station. I decided it was time to take a trip. I got on Amtrak's Rail Sale page (now called "Weekly Specials") and found round-trip tickets from SLO to Seattle for $104 round trip. It was a deal I couldn't refuse. I called my friend Tom Hollis who was going to the San Francisco State and he volunteered to meet me in San Jose for the trip.

I got in my seat in coach and headed over the grade. Not being a trained professional train rider yet, I stayed in my assigned seat almost all the way to San Jose. Somewhere north of Paso Robles, as I was sitting there minding my own business, what I can only describe as the Crazy Train Lady decided she wanted to sit next to me and chat. She must have been 20 years older than I was (she looked even older) and had to have been a little toasted. She started telling me her story, much like the drunk in the next bar stool at the Merrimaker would. I don't remember most of what she said, except that somewhere along the line she asked "Are you gay?" Excuse me? I tried to explain that no, I didn't want to disappoint her, but I really wasn't gay. "You look like my cousin, and he's gay." I guess there's no arguing with that logic. All the while that Crazy Train Lady was talking a nice lady across the aisle, who I was chatting with before I was joined by my new companion was hardly containing her laughter. Crazy Train Lady couldn't see her because she was in the aisle seat looking in my direction. At some point she got up and said "I'll be back", to which I replied "Ok, but you only have until San Jose because I'm meeting a friend." She just smiled and walked out of the car.

When the train got into San Jose I practically ran downstairs to meet Tom at the door. We hauled his bags up and stuck them over our seats, then I said, "We're going to the lounge" without even giving him a chance to settle in. I didn't see Crazy Train Lady until late that night (must have been 10 or 11pm, or perhaps even later) when Tom and I were talking in the lounge. She just walked by, gave me a smile and a nod, and continued on her way. By that point I didn't really care what she thought, as long as she left me alone for the rest of the trip. She had said that she was going all the way to Seattle, but I guess she decided to leave the two of us alone, because I didn't see her again after that.

The Final WHAT?

Ok, so Crazy Train Lady was just a fond memory. After breakfast or lunch in the diner the next day Tom and I decided to walk to the back of the train. I don't know how we made it past the diner. This was in the days when the Starlight had the sleepers in back, so we just must have looked like we knew where we were going. We made our way through the sleeper cars and to the window in the door at the back of the train. As we were watching the scenery go by someone joined us jabbering away into his cell phone. When he got off he said, as is pretty standard custom, "Where are you guys going?" We told him Seattle and he says "So, you going for the Final Four?"

Now, I didn't know then what the Final Four was, and if it weren't for that question I still wouldn't know. We planned this trip to be in Seattle on a random Wednesday or Thursday. We didn't make any kind of reservations in Seattle...I mean, how hard could it be to get a room in a city like Seattle on a Wednesday? In case you also don't know what the Final Four is, it's the college basketball championships. Our random mid-week stop in Seattle just happened to be on the day that the whole city was booked. Cell-Phone-Boy had been on the phone all day trying to get a room - and he wasn't having any luck. Well, too late to do anything about it now, so we just continued up the line, wondering what we were going to do.

We ended up getting into Seattle at around 6 or 8 pm and headed off to the nearest phone booth. We called and called and called, but there were no rooms to be found. I was starting to get worried. Finally, we called a place that had a sign on one of those kiosks that you see at train stations and airports and they said they had one room left. It was about two blocks from the train station. We took it. Once upon a time, train stations used to be in the good part of town. Then town grew and the good part moved off somewhere else. So here we are, walking through Seattle in the dark with our bags, me with my camera bag over my arm.

You can tell you're in the good part of town when you get to the hotel door and you see a guy at the desk reach under it with his hand and then the door lock clicks so you can get in. Once inside he says "Room's on the third floor (or wherever), bathroom's down the hall." I guess it's better than a bench at the train station. We survived the night, and decided to stick it out and spend the next night there instead of looking for another place. I learned a valuable lesson that day: no matter what day it is, or where you're going, always make reservations. Train rides aren't like road trips (of which I've taken quite a few) - if there's no room at the inn you can't just drive to the next town.

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