Taking the “A” (as in Auto) Train

As I write, I am watching the sun setting over a rural landscape, somewhere between Jacksonville, Florida and Jesup, Georgia, all sailing by at seventy-miles-per-hour. I have not traveled by train since I was twelve years old, but I won’t wait that long again. This is the way to travel. It is clean, quiet, smooth-riding, and exceedingly comfortable. My excellent grilled chicken with roasted red pepper sauce dinner was served at a table with a linen table cloth, real silver ware, and a vase with roses. Beats the heck out of some unidentifiable mush in a plastic box you might get on an airline. Actually there is no comparison to airline travel. While there’s no water slide or all-night buffet, perhaps a cruise ship would be a better comparison. The Amtrak Auto Train runs both directions between Sanford, Florida (just outside Orlando) and Lorton, Virginia (just outside Washington DC). You, and your automobile, board mid-afternoon, and arrive mid-morning the next day. I’ll check back in tomorrow to let you know how the rest of the ride went. Photo below of the upper-deck lounge car.

Next Morning Update: Did I say a cruise ship? Let me revise that—more like a very, very long RV, but one that doesn’t follow the interstate, and of course someone else drives. This morning I woke up in Richmond, Virginia. Last night my pull-out bed was sufficiently roomy and comfortable. My “bedroom”, with its (RV-sized) shower/toilet is cozy for one, but it would be quite snug for two. They’re serving breakfast in the dining car but it’s a bit early for me, so I’ll stay here and watch the scenery roll by. It’s foggy and drizzling outside, as we are passing through quaint Fredericksburg, Virginia, and I’m glad I’m riding instead of driving, at least until we arrive in Lorton.

Bruce Hunt

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