If you’ve ever been on an Amtrak train anywhere along the route from DC to Boston on a weekday, you know the drill. Crowded, rushed, commuters glued to their laptops and cell phones, working, working, working. Or on the way home, barely loosening the ties, still in the office.
With all that multitasking going on, there’s no time to look out the window. Not that there’s anything to see. Everything you’d expect along a rail line. Junkyards, industry skeletons, modern-day factories spewing who-knows-what into the air. Remember the open from The Sopranos, with beautiful metro Newark as the backdrop? Like that.
Of course there are Amtrak trains all across the nation that are a different animal altogether. Never had a chance to try one, until this extended stay in the Golden State. When I found out there was a regular train between San Diego and L.A., I was all aboard. (It actually goes on to San Luis Obispo, north of Santa Barbara; but I didn’t have time.)
Interestingly, the ride between San Diego and LA takes the same amount of time is it does from Lancaster, PA, where I live, and started the trip — to New York City; just under three hours. And it costs about $10 less. And this one is so laid back, there are never reserved seats, and you don’t even need to pick a time. Any train is fine, at least on the weekday I chose.
But the duration is about the only thing they have in common.
Not exactly Lauren Bacall in Murder on the Orient Express. The only thing that was murder was the wind — on my hair. Whaddya want; I was in a rush. As usual.
Spanking-clean cars, with Margaritaville-style cafe car.