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August 21st, 2014

By Philip Turner in: Personal history, Family, Friends; Travels

On the Rails Headed Home

Canadian train travelers, I’m sure VIA Rail gives you headaches at times, but consider yourself fortunate you don’t have Amtrak as your national passenger rail carrier. On our recent vacation, my wife and I flew to St. Louis, and after seeing family for a few days there, began voyaging back east on the rails. From St. Louis, we took Amtrak to Chicago, arriving almost ninety minutes late that night. After three days there we took a 9:30 PM train, the Lakeshore Limited, that actually left at 10:30, then arrived the next morning in Cleveland at 9:30, instead of 5:30. Following three days in Cleveland, we boarded the Lakeshore Limited again, a 5:50 AM train that left at 7:10. It arrived thirteen hours later in NYC, about two hours later than its scheduled arrival.

In the course of these trips we learned that Amtrak doesn’t really own the track its trains ride on, and is thus subject to the schedules of the freight haulers who do own the rails. I love train journeys, but Amtrak makes it really hard to love it at all.

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