Fun with trains

For those of us who saw Mark's post on the train simulator game and thought, "Man, I want that," here's a couple more bits of train-related goodness.

First, back in February, I rode Amtrak's Empire Builder from Seattle to Minneapolis and did my best to live-tweet the whole, multi-day adventure. It's an amazing route, full of buttes, mountains, and some truly dramatic prairie landscapes. This video by YouTube user domtak doesn't quite capture how great the view out the window of the Empire Builder truly is, but it does give you a nice overview of how varied the geography of the United States really is. This 6-minute video covers a whole Portland-to-Minneapolis journey on the train. (With thanks to Thanland!)

Second, I didn't realize this until my friend Andrew pointed it out to me, but did you know that Reddit has a Train Porn page? Prepare to lose approximately five days of your life.


  1. Thank you for riding with us on our new Amtrak rocket powered bullet train.  Please come back soon after your head stops spinning!

  2. Too antiseptic!

    To my mind, a railway journey is something that starts at a crowded Indo-Saracenic building, where you arrive 1 hour early to find that there’s another train on the platform, and two more to go by until yours arrives. Then you get into a second-class sleeper (these days, with air conditioning), stash your luggage under the seat, spend some time negotiating with other people there as to when the middle berth is to be raised/lowered, and when to switch off the lights, a few hours of reading on the top berth, if allowed.

    Gentle swaying, noisy engines, the hawkers selling “tea-coffee-tea-coffee”, different snacks, or even soup!

    And at the end of the journey, at about 4 AM, you get down at a deserted station, and there’s someone – in my case, my grandfather – who’s been waiting for you to come in!

    All part of the dirty, wonderful, fascinating world of the Indian Railways!

  3. My uncle wrote this book: .  I was also fortunate enough to attend a hobo gathering in Northeast Minneapolis with my cousin (not his son) a couple years ago, where I met some of the folks in the book.

  4. Oh ho, thanks for the Reddit link!!! Great video of Kiwirail plowing Arthur’s Pass if anyone is interested. Very cool:

  5. Interesting!  But damn, but this means that I now  have to check out that weird, ugly as sin, late 90s throwback site Reddit again! Oh yeah and if you want more trains, check my blog out :)

  6. I’ve been fortunate to ride the Empire Builder from Seattle to Milwaukee. It was my first train trip, and loved every minute of it. I also purchased a private room, and while the cost is steep compared to a plane trip, if you consider it versus a road trip with hotel costs, gas and food, it’s far more comparable. Reading your post and your tweeting brought back wonderful memories, thank you. I can’t wait to do it again!

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