Dreams and Train Smoke

Take the occasional trip to Dallas/Fort Worth? I have a question for you.

How much do you like to sit behind the wheel of your car for 3 or more consecutive hours buzzing down I-35’s two lanes of grey concrete glory while getting stuck behind 18 wheelers and passed by family trucksters?

If you love the aforementioned, stop reading now because you probably won’t care about the rest of what I have to say. Unless you love trains…

I don’t like driving for extended periods of time. In fact, I hate it. Sure you have an iPod to pass the time, but you’ve already listened to this week’s episode of This American Life and be honest, you haven’t put new music on your iPod in a few months.

It was on one of these mindnumbing drives that I vowed to find a better way and I did. It’s a train called the Heartland Flyer and it runs 7 days a week, 365 days a year from Oklahoma City to Fort Worth. A couple weeks ago, I decided to give it a try. I had never been on a train before so I compiled a list of things, cool & uncool, you might encounter.

  1. Leg room. It doesn’t exist on airplanes unless you’re flying first class, so I hear…
  2. You see things like massive industrial complexes that look abandoned but still serve some purpose.
  3. Larger, more functional restrooms. It’s still not like home but at least you can turn around without bumping into a wall.
  4. You see things like small houses next to a river and wonder who lives there.
  5. You can listen to Tom Waits while riding the train and understand.
  6. Possible delays due to something called “Freight Traffic.”
  7. The conductors actually says “ALL ABOOOORD!” awesome…
  8. You see things like giant “X” in the middle of a field and wonder what it’s for.
  9. A comfortable amount of passengers. The train was only half-full. Not rubbing elbows with strangers made for a comfortable trip.
  10. You see things like rusted out junk metal things.
  11. The café car serves reasonably priced coffee, sodas, juice, snacks, sandwiches and booze.
  12. There are regular electrical outlets for your electronics. No need to purchase a weird 30 dollar power adaptor that you’ll only use once.
  13. It’s cheap. 23 bucks one way to Fort Worth!

So if you ever need to travel to Dallas/Fort Worth, come on ride the train! Woot Woot! And ride it! You’ll still need to update your iPod.

Amtrak champion, frugal traveller and Anthony Bourdain wannabe.

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No Comments on "Dreams and Train Smoke"

  1. cassie
    05/03/2009 at 9:36 am Permalink

    I absolutely love riding the train! It’s such a magical experience. However, if you are going further than Dallas, note the delays due to Number 6 on your list. Like four hour ones…

  2. Andrey
    27/11/2009 at 6:43 am Permalink

    I love riding the train too. =)

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