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What is it like to travel by long-distance train?

I have to write a story for creative-writing class that takes place on a train, and I don't have the faintest what it's like. What is travel by long-distance train like in general? How do you get from car to car? What is the sleeping car like? Is there a specific time for sleeping and eating?

Thanks, I really appreciate it.

Update:

Thanks, I just finished my story and won't be needing any more answers. You've been a big help.

7 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Remember that you can write your storyline over the space of 4-5 days if it's a cross-country trip because old fashioned train travel still takes a lot of time.

    Especially up here in Canada. I once travelled by train from here to Vancouver and it was almost 4 days.

    But it was an awesome way to see the country, so that is something else you can use for your story. What the country(U.S. or Canada) looks like through the picture window of a train.

    And you meet the most interesting people and I do mean INTERESTING!

    I met a fellow that had lost his thumbs in a freak accident but the doctors had transplanted his two big toes to replace them. I met pro sports personalities, two of which had played for Stanley Cup winning teams, I met WWII vets with stories that made me bawl like a baby, there was a woman with terminal cancer who was just travelling by train because it was the cheapest way to see Canada before she died, and I even met Canadian musician Bruce Cockburn.

    So, the stories you can write about a several day train trip are only as endless as your imagination.

    So, grab your pencil and paper, lean back, close your eyes, and put yourself in the window seat of a train travelling from nowhere to nowhere, and write til your hand falls off LOL

    God Bless and thanks for reading.

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  • Eldude
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Talk to a person from the 30's 40's or early 50's when the age of rail travel was king.

    My longest trip by train as a child was from Schenectady NY, to Milwaukee WI., in the mid 1950's. I can't remember much, but it was fun, the dining car was an adventure and it was the first time I realized that there are clouds at night.

    It was the first time I saw a man in uniform "Navy" and I wondered if he was a war hero. I also laughed at the way the conductor waddled down the train collecting and punching tickets.

    I vaguely remember changing trains in Chicago and seeing the passenger cars backed up to the bumpers and thinking "Wow, so this is where the rail road ends."

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  • 1 decade ago

    I went by train from Georgia to California. We did not have sleeping cars, and the train was packed. The seats recline like those on a plane.

    No specific time for sleeping, but it's easier when it's dark... There is a dining car and a viewing car full of windows for scenery.

    You just walk to the end of one car, open the door and there is a space between cars that is enclosed for safety and you open the next car and proceed. There was a small gift/snack shop in one car. The bathrooms were downstairs. It was a long, long ride, very little freedom if you are antsy, and lots of stops to pick up and drop off passengers.

    You do get to see parts of the country up close that you cannot see any other way. The homeless population in Vegas was incredibly shocking as they were completely visible from the train. There were so many and you just cannot see that in the city by car.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I love it...There's nothing better than to be on a train. I travelled from Calif. to No. Carolina and back a few years ago. There was nothing bad about my trip. When you have a sleeper your meals are included in the price so you go to the dining car and eat at mealtimes. I had a porter that was the bomb on the Limited between Chicago and N.Y. He treated me like a queen and i'll never forget him. You meet lots of people and share stories and yes you can walk back and forth from car to car. You have to have some exercise cause you do alot of sitting. I travelled across country when i was a little girl and those memories are some of the best i have. I can hear the train horn where I live and i love it. i don't care that it's early or late. It just makes me feel good.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Well I have traveled in European trains and it is nice. There train system is better than the American system. But I think they get government subsidies and the countries are much smaller. The train first class is nicer than an airplane. I did not travel over night in one, but the seats fold down to make a nice flat area for sleeping. The food was not bad too. I don't think there was a specific time to eat, I guess as long as you are not at a station. You can't use the bathroom at the stations as when you flush it just falls on the tracks.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I went from Texas to Ohio on a train, and let me tell you, it wasnt any fun. It took a long time, it was bumpy, and we had a layover in Chicago, and that was confusing. I didnt eat for 22 hours because I didnt know what time they were serving food in the dining car. I also had a baby with me, so that was extra hard. I dont think that you can go from car to car,.... at least I didnt. It was to bumpy to sleep, so I didnt do that either. I hope this helps.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Boring

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