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  • Blog Post: Cuff notes* on a rainy day

    I'm writing this in western Pennsylvania, less than an hour after leaving Pittsburgh. Out my window is a dark day, with rain and mist--not the best way to end a four-day trip across the country. I'd rather it be the other way around, that is, raining across the Sierra Nevada range and sunny in the Alleghenies...
  • Blog Post: Last-minute decisions (and the Dining Car From Hell)

    How would you solve this problem? You've used a jillion Guest Rewards points to book bedrooms on the Coast Starlight from San Jose, Cal., to Los Angeles, the Sunset Limited to New Orleans and the Crescent to Washington, D.C. The Starlight arrives in LA at 9 p.m., the Sunset leaves at 10 p.m., and therein...
  • Blog Post: Blues in the night: The whistle to end all whistles

    To my way of thinking, the wail of an Amtrak locomotive horn whistling in the distance is as good as it gets. It’s how we should all be beckoned to heaven. Next to an Amtrak whistle, every other locomotive horn emits just an out-of-tune screech. But for years I’ve been frustrated in my desire...
  • Blog Post: Amtrak's future: The short-distance network

    Amtrak and states that support its short-distance trains earned bragging rights over the past seven years. Between 2003 and 2010, ridership on this network of trains exploded, rising 77 percent. The honor roll goes like this: Chicago-St. Louis trains, up 192 percent in ridership; Chicago-Carbondale,...