Worst ride on Amtrak

Posted by Fred Frailey
on Saturday, August 6, 2011

My taxi to Washington Union Station was making the final turn to its destination when it hit me. Really hit me. Like ouch! Then hit me again. And again. No, I was not having great ideas or magnificent insights into the problems of the world. What hit me was the rear-seat window of the taxi, because Amtrak is trying to kill its customers as they try to reach its trains.

The worst ride on Amtrak is not aboard the Cardinal on the Buckingham Branch Railroad, nor on the Southwest Chief in western Kansas, courtesy of BNSF Railway. Those trains can toss you around a little bit, but nothing like what happens when you approach Washington Union Station at 60 Massachusetts Ave. N.W. (Amtrak headquarters, I might add) by car.

A spur off Mass that permits vehicles to reach the station and its parking garage is an obstacle course that attacks young and old, rich and poor, redhead and brunette. If the pavement were marked by potholes, that would be one thing. Just slow down. But no, the pavement heaves up and sinks down for maybe 50 feet, much like the surface of the seas. Speeding up can kill you. Slowing down only prolongs the agony.

Mr. Boardman, I know you cannot move mountains. I realize the difficulties you face persuading Union Pacific to do the right thing and cooperate in making the Sunset Limited a daily train. I understand how hard it is to get a buck out of Congress or even get along with Representative Mica. But here is one thing it is within your power to do. Mr. Boardman, fix your street. — Fred W. Frailey

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