My first trip on the train was as a little boy. My dad took me from Portland to Pasadena to see the Ducks play in the Rose Bowl. We got a sleeper car. My dad broke out caviar to celebrate our journey. I didn't want to eat fish eggs. Gross. But he made me. And then I got a bad ear infection going over the mountain passes.
I don't remember much else about the trip other than finding myself in a hospital with some lady sticking pointy stuff in my ear over and over. The game was a feverish blur. I don't even know if we rode the train back or not.
I do remember my dad complaining then and ever since about the service and cleanliness.
So 18 years later I gave them another chance. Took a trip to Seattle the past weekend and opted for Amtrak instead of driving. Loved it.
It was affordable, $66 round trip. Could have been cheaper had I booked earlier. Saved on gas. Saved on parking in Seattle, which was $30+ at our hotel.
It was quick. It took about 3 hours and 30 minutes. About the same as driving, if not less.
It was fun. I ate. I drank. I got up and walked around. I looked out the window.
It was clean. Quick. Convenient. Easy. I want to do it again. Trains aren't popular here like they are in Europe, but if my experience was indicative of Amtrak's new standards, that will change.