09 May 2012
A stamp to accompany some e-mail correspondence with my niece-in-law. A whole bunch of my relatives are traveling all over the world to celebrate with my nephew and his new bride, who live in (I'm not making this up) Punta Arenas, Patagonia. If I get to this shindig, I'll be taking the train.
The United States leads the world in slow, unreliable passenger rail. If I do take the train, it will be AMTRAK's only profit-making, on-time reliable route, the Boston-to-Washington DC Acella, or however they spell it. New Haven, Connecticut to DC was about $270 one-way last year. A big German shepherd dog leashed to some kind of SWAT paramilitary cop with a machine gun sniffed my elbow as the train sped south. I don't know if the dog was sniffing me for drugs or explosives.
There is a Special Room in Hell for everyone who allowed passenger trains in North America to get as crappy as they've become. The Room is a 2nd class coach on AMTRAK Local Night Train 66 from DC to New Haven. The coach reeks of the farts of 200 passengers, and the ride lasts for all Eternity -- which is less time than the actual Train 66 trip takes.