Last week I went to six states, which sounds daunting until you know that I went to five of them in one day, via train. The train trip was an easy way to get from a family vacation in Maine to a business trip in New York, with an overnight in Connecticut thrown in for good measure.
I packed my little blue handbag and my friend in Maine packed a snack pack for me, and I rolled my suitcase along to the train station.
The first leg of my Amtrak train trip was mostly full of people commuting from Maine and New Hampshire down to Boston via the Northeaster line. It's a good thing I bought a ticket ahead of time, as the train was sold out. I waited on the small station's platform, facing a mural, while an elderly station manager asked us all kindly if we had our tickets in hand.
Here comes the train, exactly on time!
Although I love to read in the car and often take naps on airplanes, I found myself mostly looking out the window on the train. Other trains, houses, backyards, farms, rivers, fields, trees.
The train arrived at the North Station in Boston, then I walked a bit to the "T" and rode that to the Back Bay Station for the second leg of my trip, aboard the Acela Express. I researched this transition in advance and found a forum with exact directions (turn left, out double doors, down stairs, turn right, to T station, buy ticket, thank goodness).
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The Acela Express moves fast. All of these Amtrak trains are very clean and spacious inside, by the way. Much more roomy than an airplane, and there are tables where four people can sit together and eat or play cards. I've traveled this way in Europe, but never in the USA. I was glad that my friend made the snack pack for me, as the cafe and snack cart are both expensive. The couple opposite me may have spent close to $40 on burgers, chips, cheese, and drinks. I tried to eat my lunchmeat wrap and juice box in a not-smug way.
Then we approached New Haven, Connecticut, and it was time for me to disembark again. The train slowed and stopped, but I didn't hear an announcement or see the doors open. Then a man got on the train and I realized the doors were, in fact, open. I scrambled to gather my suitcase and step off, and the doors began to close. I stuck my hand out to block the door, thinking it would snap open like an elevator.
It did not snap open. It smashed my hand.
Then the train started to move and my hand was still stuck in the door. A bit of panic rose in me and the conductor in my car made a call and jogged to another car, and the train stopped. I pulled my hand free, but my ziplock bag of cherries (still in my hand from my snack pack) was sadly stuck in the door. If only I had a picture of those sad cherries, and of my bruised knuckle with black smudges.
I walked a walk of shame to the very back of the train and was able to get off the last car, onto the station platform. It is NOT COOL to make a train late. But I still have my hand and made the stop.
Another ticket purchase for the Metro North Railroad took me further along in Connecticut, where I met another friend. The next day I continued on the Metro North into New York City, ending at Grand Central Station.
This was the end of my train trip, and I returned to foot and car travel in the Big Apple. The Subway was used as well, but not so grandly as the above-ground trains. The Subway in August is what I imagine Dante had in mind for his epic poem.
Trains are a regular part of most New England and Mid-Atlantic lives, but where have you ridden the rails? I can't wait to take my boys on a real train trip!
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