This was only a 3 hour trip, so I travelled coach – they say there are two reasons people go by train – one because its cheaper (coach class) and the other is because its a relaxing and fun way to travel (Sleeper class). Both classes have twice as much leg room as a plane. And you can even get a sleeper with its own bathroom if you pay a bit more.
My friends Sandy and Melissa delivered me to the Seattle amtrak station, and we boarded on time.
Problem one – someone had thrown a rock at the engine and it had to be replaced. So we were one hour leaving the station.
Problem two – an hour and a half into our trip and an announcement said there had been ‘an incident on the tracks’ involving a freight train ahead of us. Half an hour later, an announcement that someone had walked into the train, the federal police were involved and it would be sometime before we moved. It was about 2 hours before a cheer went up as the train began to move. Thank God for mobile phones – everyone was texting friends to let them know of the delay.
Problem three – a bucks party got out of control – nothing to do but drink I guess, and we stopped again to clear them off the train.
All in all the three hour journey took 8 hours – the toilets stopped working when they ran out of water and the complimentary snacks disappeared before we got anywhere near them. I was looking forward to watching Prince Caspian on the screen, and paid $4 for some earphones, but it appeared that the sound was not working anywhere in the train, so it was a silent movie.
The one nice thing was the comraderie that developed in the coach as train jokes and stories emerged – as one of the young men I was sitting with said “We got to know each other four hours better than we needed to”. A big cheer went up when we arrived in Portland – one thing I got a very good value journey for $28US!