"As a child I found railroad stations exciting, mysterious, and even beautiful, as indeed they often were."
- Paul Johnson
There is an allure to trains and train travel which is almost mystical. We've all been raised with the images and sounds of rail systems around the world, from the lonely high-pitched whistle of steam locomotives chugging through the European countryside to the deep-throated honk of Disney's monorails.
|L.A.'s Union Station|
|New York's Grand Central|
Being an American, I was raised with the romance of rail. It's an image highly ingrained into each of us, but one which is only dimly reflected in modern day reality. Unlike Europeans, Americans largely dispensed with rail service with the growth of the auto industry. We embraced our cars, and left the trains behind.
California, usually at the forefront of trends in the States, is building the first true high speed rail service across the state. (It continues to be controversial, primarily to those people who see only outgoing dollars instead of an investment in the state's future.)
|The author transiting The Chunnel|
None of this includes the uncounted trips on a variety of subways and light rail systems in cities around the world.
|BART, San Francisco|
It's often what you see on your way TO something else that makes an adventure worth having.
And that...is where rail excels.
|Train station, Monaco grandeur|
|Rain, in Genova|