Away IV

So, if you’re scoring at home, you’ll see that we’ve taken the family up from the south to NYC. And as an airport avoidance system, we arrived by train.

A few things first: a sleeper room runs about the same expense as four plane tickets, plus, as noted above, no airport, which means no parking or driving in, or a cab into the city. Amtrak arrives right into Penn Station.

It’s an overnight trip, and a sleeper includes meals in the dining car – you only pay for wine or beer. Sleeping on our modern US train system in no way resembles sleeping or a modern train system, especially anywhere south of the Northeast corridor; the tracks are rickety and pale in comparison to the pristine state of our roads. This could change in five years with some major investment and high-volume use as the cities along the route are already connected. A high-speed route connecting the same network of towns and cities a la the TGV is easily imagined and only a question of will and prohibitively expensive gasoline.

South of DC, the trains are pulled by diesel engines; in the nation’s capitol they switch to electric, which powers the Acela line and the rest of the commuter lines around the region. One aspect of the new, high efficiency electrical grid that you hear about, the one we desperately need, is that it could be arranged along high-speed rail lines it would need to power. Then it could branch out from there. 

Now off to real bagels, museums and friends, in no particular order.