Business & Pleasure
April 11, 2019
Regardless of my job, this is really my favorite way to travel.
by Joe Aiello | Northeast Field Coordinator
Owen: I'm to drive you to Wichita to catch a train?
Del: Yeah, we'd appreciate it.
Owen: Train don't run out of Wichita... unlessin' you're a hog or a cattle.
Owen: People train runs out of Stubbville.
from "Plains, Trains, and Automobiles"
I know I work for the largest passenger rail advocacy association in the country and all... but this really is my favorite way to travel. @narprail @Amtrak pic.twitter.com/JSMyvoQiWY— Joseph Anton Aiello (@aiellobytrain) April 11, 2019
Back in August, my wife was invited to a reunion for her PhD program at the University of Virginia (you know… the current MEN’S BASKETBALL NATIONAL CHAMPIONS!) and we decided that we would take the Regional the whole way - since we would both be able to work on the train there & back. We wouldn’t have to worry about trying to get to the airport. Don’t need to stress over renting a car. We don’t have to sit in Beltway traffic - probably the biggest bonus.
Just on this trip alone, my wife has been able to sit on a conference call and read through a couple scientific articles - while I have been playing the role of editor with next month’s Passengers Voice newsletter and prepping this blog (on Monday I’ll be using my time on the train back home to start sketching out the SBR19 route) . This would have much harder to manage through any other means of travel.
As I said in my tweet posted above, I know that I work for this wonderful Association but traveling by train really is my favorite mode of transportation. This isn’t just lip service to show my loyalty to the cause. I truly do enjoy “practicing what I preach”. As my wife says “this is your calling". And getting to chat with some of the fellow passengers is a pretty fun exercise for a former bartender such as myself. There was the family of six going to NY for a long weekend to see relatives, the elderly couple heading down to VA to see the grandkids, and the guy traveling to DC for work but keeping me up-to-date on the Masters leaderboard while I'm typing away.
Though this trip has not been without small issues.
Service Advisory: All trains traveling through the Wilmington (WIL) area are stopped due to vandalism on the tracks. We are actively working on repairs. We will update as more information becomes available.— Amtrak Northeast (@AmtrakNECAlerts) April 11, 2019
(We didn't sit for long and are only about 30 mins behind schedule at the moment)
We have been on the train since 8 am and still have about 3 hours to go - but it is so worth it.
"The Rail Passenger Association's recognition of the essential work done by SMART-TD members aboard Amtrak during this difficult period is appreciated. The Golden Spike Award serves as a testament to the compassion and dedication our conductors, assistant conductors and other workers exhibit constantly through times both ordinary and extraordinary."
Jeremy Ferguson, SMART-TD President
December 21, 2021, on the Association awarding its 2021 Golden Spike Award to the Frontline Amtrak Employees.