Aboard the Amtrak, Thinking of the Possibilities
I’m heading southbound on the Amtrak train out of Greenfield, the second time I’ve taken this journey. Today my destination is Baltimore, where I am going to check out a new hotel that’s been opened by Red Lion hotels.
Once again, I marvel at the amount of debris that the recent track upgrade left on either sides of the tracks. It’s like they sent the crew to saw down all of the trees that might encroach on the tracks and left them all there, just pushed to the side. Add to that the piles of creosote-covered old railroad ties, rusting old rails, and it looks pretty jumbled along the route south from Greenfield to Holyoke.
I have found myself fascinated of late reading railroader fan bulletin boards, like Railroad.Net and others. Here, you get the pros who throw around lots of abbreviations and have strong opinions about topics like using freight tracks for passenger service and the merits of going backwards for long stretches to accommodate track layouts. “Trainsets” are what you call trains, and a big issue is how big the bridges are. Some times double tracks have to go down to single tracks because of an old bridge. The posters also bring up some interesting ideas like lie-flat beds on cross country trains instead of the rarely used sleeper compartments.
These forums provide lots of useful info for anyone who loves trains. Did you know that a private company is seriously building a route for high speed rail between Dallas and Houston? The main attraction is that as many as 50,000 people commute daily between these cities. They are called ‘super commuters’ with the longest drives of anyone. These are the target clientele for this project, which would make most of its money by developing residential and business projects along the route, especially at both ends.