When I was a wee boy, growing up in Argentina, we used to take the train all the time. We’d walk to the station, wait for the train, get on, and go places. I don’t remember where we’d go, and frankly, I don’t think that was too important at the time. I was on a train.
Years later, in Madrid and New York, I’d take the subway all sorts of places. When I came out to the Midwest, I met people who had never been on a train, much less commuted on one. It was foreign to me. And to them, I guess.
But now that I’ve lived here for more than a decade, I realize that I’ve been on trains… well, I can count the times on one hand. More importantly, my children have been on two trains in their lives, neither of which really count. One was fake Thomas at Thomas the Tank Engine Days in Baldwin, KS. The other was the light rail in Denver, CO.
Last night I found out the Lawrence has a working Amtrak Station. It gets visited by the Southwest Chief (video) twice a day, once on its way to Los Angeles, and once on its way back to Chicago. Even better, it stops in Newton, KS, which is a half hour from Wichita, where Grandma lives.
Unfortunately, a trip to Newton would have to start at 12:32 am, arriving at 3:25 am. And the return trip picks up at 3:01 am, arriving back home at 5:49 am.
Not exactly the trip to take a five-year-old on.
Other stops on the way include Chicago and KC in one direction, and Las Vegas, Flagstaff, and Los Angeles in the other direction. It might be a fun trip to make when the boys are older, and we can budget for a vacation (the trip to Grandma’s would cost $162!).
Or, I could wish really hard for Amtrak to start another train on a 12 hour offset from the first. That’s right, Congress, double Amtrak’s budget! Please?