|Subject: Re: Train Travel|
I haven't traveled by train a great deal recently, but it's definitely in my blood. My father was an attorney for the Santa Fe Railroad. We had free passes, so growing up in the 1940s, 50s and into the 60s, when we traveled, it was always by train.
One of my earliest memories is taking the train from Los Angeles, to San Diego, and spending the day at the zoo. I was usually too tired to remember the trip home. I also have memories at a very early age of taking the train to the Grand Canyon. I remember being scared of an Indian and a nun.
In 1948 when I was four, I made my first trip to Chicago on the Santa Fe Chief. I don't remember all that much about the trip on the train other than that my mother was exhausted from trying to keep me and my sister entertained. We also took a number of trips on the Southern Pacific's Sunset Limited to San Francisco. That was always a pleasure.
In 1952 my father was transferred to the Chicago office and the whole family, including the dog and cat, moved by train. (They actually held the train up at a couple of stops because the dog wanted to do his business on his own time.) After that we traveled back and forth between Chicago and LA almost yearly. One of the more memorable trips was when I was 13 and my sister was 17. My parents trusted the finances to my sister who decided to see if we could make it out to California and back on $10. I nearly starved.
The train trip that most sticks in my mind, though, took place in 1960. My father and his boss needed to go to Los Angeles and my father's boss was of a rank where he was entitled to a private car. In those days, he had both a male and female secretary and he always traveled with the male secretary. This time, though, the male secretary was unable to go for some reason, so he had to take his female secretary -- something that was frowned upon in those days, so my mother and I were invited along as chaperones!
This was the very same private railroad car that Eisenhower had used during his campaign for president. I, of course, spent many hours standing on the observation deck shouting Kennedy's praises to anyone who would listen -- the prairies dogs, maybe? The private car was totally luxourious and, since I was in my teenage rebellion years, I also spent much of the trip riding up forward with the passengers in coach!
Some random memories are of the dining car. The French toast that seemed to be half a foot high, the cream in the silver pitchers, the minscule galley in which incredible meals were prepared.
Maybe that's part of the reason that I don't travel much by train any more. It could never live up to what I remember from my childhood.
Landra in upstate New York