: Train or plane?



Jesda
11-30-06, 12:55 PM
Its a $30 difference between Amtrak and a major airline to get me from St Louis MO to Spokane WA for Christmas. I dont really care how long it takes, but the train ride only offers coach, which from my last and only 3-hour Amtrak experience was extremely comfy. I hate flying because I look like Osama's cousin, and airports and airplanes are crowded cattle herds.

Has anyone here taken the train over long distances? How are the accomodations? Is there on-board entertainment? Can I plug my laptop in? Is dining expensive?

jonnyd
11-30-06, 01:07 PM
I like taking trains for scenario purposes...if i want some scenary...I most often would take a plane because it gets me there faster. lol yea planes are always crammed...but if you can get an aisle seat than its all good...hahahah you look like osamas brother.. I was in china flying back here...and there must have been 15 of osamas wifes on there...all in black only seeing their eyes...

I do like train rides because it is a lot more comfortable...especially if its not really packed on the train....mega comfy. It's all on personal preferance...

You want to get there fast fly a plane...want to get there slow and enjoy scenary go train ;)

Elvis
11-30-06, 02:30 PM
I've never been on one, but I think everyone should take a long trip like that by train once in their lives.

But considering the cost differential, I'd fly instead.

EcSTSatic
11-30-06, 02:37 PM
Go for it! :thumbsup:
I use to travel by train in Europe and Japan but never overnight. I think it's great watching the countryside go by. Fewer hassles than flying too I would bet!

90Brougham350
11-30-06, 03:11 PM
Train all the way, althought I've never used Amtrak or anything American.

EDBSO
11-30-06, 05:21 PM
Fly but first shave and dye you hair blond!

DILLIGAF
11-30-06, 06:37 PM
I have taken the train from here to Alb on several occasions.I love it!Some trains have an observation deck(very cool),a dining car.Go for it!The scenery will be spectacular!

BLACK_CTSV
11-30-06, 07:48 PM
St Louis MO to Spokane WA for Christmas.

Sorry to hear you have to go to Spokane - that's where I'm from. This is about all you can do there: :alchi:

LS1Mike
11-30-06, 08:22 PM
Train would be a nice ride if you have the time.

SpeedyArizona
11-30-06, 08:36 PM
For $30 more, I'd rather fly. I have never been on a train but I've been on plenty of planes. Think about it though: a train will take you a couple days, flying will take you a couple hours; you'll have more time to spend with family if you fly:D.

I guess if you want a scenic experience, then take the train but otherwise take the plane:thumbsup:.

Elvis
11-30-06, 09:38 PM
Another thing to consider, that Amtrak that crashed near Chicago a few years ago. I have since met a man who lost his wife and daughter in that crash. Amtrak has a long history of derailments and strange accidents.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
11-30-06, 09:44 PM
Train!




Jesda's riding off the rails on the crazy (lazy?) train!!!

Jesda
11-30-06, 09:49 PM
Sorry to hear you have to go to Spokane - that's where I'm from. This is about all you can do there: :alchi:

I keep telling my friends and family to move away but they just wont listen!!!

dp102288
11-30-06, 10:43 PM
I hate flying because I look like Osama's cousin

So you look like Pinball...:getaway: :D

Leeb
12-01-06, 09:00 AM
Ever since I was onboard ship I've disliked flying and unless I can sit at a window and watch the horizon I'll have a 10-alarm headache before I get there.

Grew up w/ a paranoid fear of trains but I'd rather do that than fly.
:bouncy:

JimHare
12-01-06, 09:52 AM
If time is NOT a problem, then it might be interesting to take the train, at least this one time - as several posters have noted, a long train journey can be very enlightening, if for no other reason than the scenic enjoyment.

You're probably talking about a two-day trip, at least, so you would have time to meet people and have a bit more 'social' an experience than the typical plane flight is.

Food on Amtrak trains (if I remember) can be pricey, just like in any other captive environment. Take a doggy bag of any essentials, because they might not have the exact brand of beef jerky or smoked trout that you crave...

When I was just out of high school, I took a train from Philly to Chicago, then Chicago to Denver, then Denver to Grand Junction on the D&RG, up through the Rockies. Great ride, have to recommend it to everyone to try at least once.

If you can sleep on a train seat, you'll be cool. A compartment is nice, but pricey.

EcSTSatic
12-01-06, 10:44 AM
Ever since I was onboard ship I've disliked flying and unless I can sit at a window and watch the horizon I'll have a 10-alarm headache before I get there.

Grew up w/ a paranoid fear of trains but I'd rather do that than fly.
:bouncy:

How does 'board ship life affect your attitude about flying? :hmm:
I catapulted and trapped on a carrier a few times. The "best" of both worlds. I'd still like to take a long journey on a train.

CadillacGurl
12-01-06, 02:14 PM
What airline are you taking? If you want a cheap airline try southwest... I fly them all the time. I'm surprised no one flys with them, most of them time theres about 25 people flying with me to or from chicago...

Trains are nice, I mean I've never taken amtrak just the standard Metra in Chicago which I ride for 40-50 minutes out to the suburbs to be with my family if they come in.

BLACK_CTSV
12-01-06, 03:23 PM
What airline are you taking? If you want a cheap airline try southwest... I fly them all the time. I'm surprised no one flys with them, most of them time theres about 25 people flying with me to or from chicago...



Southwest is a great carrier. They are usually ontime, and have pretty good coverage on the west coast. You have to print your boarding pass from home, though, or you will get a middle seat. I'm flying them to LA next Friday to get on a cruise ship...

CIWS
12-01-06, 03:35 PM
If you are in no hurry and have the time, take the train. If you need more time at your destination then take a plane. :)

EcSTSatic
12-01-06, 04:04 PM
Someone provided some interesting statistics (http://www.geocities.com/dtmcbride/travel/train-plane-car.html) on the three modes of travel.

dp102288
12-01-06, 10:52 PM
^^ Very good link! :thumbsup:

davesdeville
12-02-06, 05:48 AM
Take the train. I took it from ABQ to LA a couple years ago (because it was only $50 round trip.) I brought my old laptop along and beat Starcraft somewhere in AZ. If you can sleep in a seat you'll be fine. I don't remember there being any onboard entertainment. Dining is pretty expensive, I was too cheap so I brought a bunch of sandwiches.

Jesda
12-02-06, 07:01 AM
Score! Thanks for all the info.

I signed up for Amtrak's rewards program (free) and used a 20% coupon. One-way ticket was only $130. Then, I'm flying home with Southwest for $129 in January.

I'll bring some 20s for dining and stock up on computer and PSP games. Hopefully, I'll be able to pick up analog cellular service in some areas and get on the Internet.

dp102288
12-02-06, 10:17 AM
^^ Cool. Make sure you take some pics of "Jesda and Amtrak, the USA is finished!"


:rofl:

Jesda
12-16-06, 04:32 PM
The train ride was freaking sweet. I got to the St Louis Amtrak station two hours early, so they put me on the early train to Chicago. That gave me four hours in Chi-town to explore a bit and take some cool pics. I sat there in front of a building on Jackson and did some people watching, talked to some strangers, ate an Italian beef sandwich, and got a nice feel for the city. Went up Sears Tower too.

At Chicago's Union Station, they said "now boarding seniors over 62 and disabled" -- EVERYONE but me and this other guy got up. Union Station was like a massive underground airport. St Louis's Amtrak station is basically a shack wedged under a bridge.

On the way from Chicago to Spokane on the Empire Builder, there were a fair number of stops. The engine computer had some problems and then the emergency brakes had another problem, adding a few hours to the trip for repairs.

Otherwise, smooth sailing. I was in coach, but had two HUGE seats to myself. The leg rests came up to create a tidy little bed. I did my share of beer drinking and bratwurst eating, and met two nice guys heading to Alaska. One was covered in tattoos and the other revealed a criminal record. They were really friendly, we joked around and shared some amusing stories, and they bought me breakfast (not cheap). I met another guy who worked at a youth center, and told me some stories about young people whose lives he turned around. I also met a girl who played college soccer somewhere in Wisconsin. She was so tall she had to crouch to get through the doors (why not play basketball?).

There were few outlets on this train, and I had the only extension/multiplug on board, so I was popular. I made sure my laptop was loaded with episodes of The Office, Criminal Minds, and The Unit.

Its funny, after 48 hours on a train I feel like I never left home. Except for the flight I booked home in January, I don't think I'll ever fly again (unless I need to go to overseas).

Took pics. Will post later.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
12-16-06, 05:01 PM
Jesda, so when are you leaving on the midnight train to Georgia? That would be the next logical move.

JC316
12-16-06, 07:38 PM
Blah, trains and plane, I hate em both. I would drive before going on a train and take the shoe leather express before flying.

ewill3rd
12-16-06, 08:01 PM
I rode a train from Alabama to New York when I was a kid. I don't remember a whole lot but I know I had a good time.
I never think of the train but when I do it always seems crazy to me that I didn't think of it sooner.
I hate to fly anymore. I used to think it was great but like others said, I have to sit by the window and see the freaking ground or I get really freaked out.

By the way, if you are looking like Osama and flying one way.... get ready to know a new meaning to the phrase "security check".
I am as white as white guys get and when I flew one way they probed me every which way through every doorway I passed through. Most guys who don't plan to get off the plane usually don't buy round trip tickets if you know what I mean.
They never x-rayed my wife's prosthesis but they sure checked her over right along with me. She took it off and handed it to them even though they didn't ask her too. The look on their faces was priceless!
:D

I'd love to travel by rail for a few days and take in some scenery. Maybe I'll ride the rails next year to St. Louis when I want to see my family.

I wonder what the statistics are on train deaths vs. plane deaths?

dp102288
12-16-06, 09:43 PM
Jesda glad you enjoyed it and traveled safe!

JimHare
12-16-06, 09:45 PM
I wonder what the statistics are on train deaths vs. plane deaths?

It may seem odd, but in terms of passenger-miles, air travel is probably dozens of times safer than any other form of mass transit.

What skews the numbers somewhat are the long distances planes tend to fly, but there is simply no getting around the fact that literally thousands of flights take off and land every day with no incidents.

We remember the accidents but forget the incident-free flights.

There are numerically fewer train accidents, but when you weigh the numbers in terms of miles travelled, passengers et cetera, you're probably 10 times more likely to die in a train crash than in air travel.

Just semi-educated guesses...

Leeb
12-17-06, 06:54 AM
How does 'board ship life affect your attitude about flying? :hmm:
I catapulted and trapped on a carrier a few times. The "best" of both worlds. I'd still like to take a long journey on a train.

I was on a cruiser (cg-47 to be exact) and the 'minute' changes in pitch/roll adversely affected me... at those minor changes there was a greater discrepancy between 'eye' and 'ear which didn't appear at the 'grosser' tilts (10+ degrees)...
It made me more 'sensitive' to the pitch/yaw of an airplane... I could recognize even a 2deg change in altitude (front/rear) change, and unless I sat at a window seat so I could view the horizon it would cause the headache I mentioned earlier...
:eek: