I’m on the train, the Cascades, returning to Seattle from Eugene. The Cascades, unlike the Coast Starlight, is only one level. So, that, combined with the fog and, most importantly, the very dirty windows, is posing severe restrictions on taking pictures. My window has so many dots of mud on it that its very difficult to tak a decent image. Which is too bad because otherwise, the fog is recreating a wonderful feel to the view. I would have brought a squeegee if I’d known! I really that I would have given it a whirl, at least try to clean it.
The Cascades is the local train that runs the Oregon to Vancouver BC route. The seats are wide, leather and very nice. My sense is that the ride is more cushioned/dampened and smoother. They have small t.v’s set about the cabin similar to airlines and there is a movie playing as I write. But the cabin, as well as the windows, could have used a good cleaning. The leather needs a good cleaning, the seats were full of crumbs and so forth. Too bad, as the coach is nice, just, as I said, needs a good cleaning.
The Eugene paper this morning talked about how the recent stimulus money for trains is only the federal governments contribution and that the State governments are going to have to kick in almost matching funds to make it all happen. Of course, with all that ‘s going on in the financial crisis, states such as California and Florida, who stand to get the most money from the fed’s also have the least money to contribute to their lines. Which is unfortunate because they have the most to gain from the developement of high speed rail and it’s contribution to reducing greenhouse gasses.
The train personnel on the Cascades are much nicer than what I experienced on the Coast Starlight. It’s how I remembered it to be when I was commuting down from Vancouver, BC. I wanted to make that point after complaining about the Coast Starlight crew. It’s good to see that it isn’t all Amtrak employees.