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My most memorable train journey was in England! I traveled from London to Rochester, and from London to an area near Bath. I can't remember the name of the station. I loved watching the new countryside go by. I had never even been on a train before!
I traveled by train from Moscow to Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) at a time when tourists were just beginning to be allowed into the Soviet Union. On this long journey, I recall trying to communicate with a young mother with a small child and an older woman who was apparently the grandmother. They were friendly, curious about Americans, and wondered if I had any children. When some of my group went to the dining car, one who was fluent in Russian engaged some Russians in conversation as they all drank tea. Their talk was cut short by some men in dark overcoats who made it clear that the locals should not be talking to tourists. (That experience was repeated during our stay in Moscow.) Those of us who stayed in the travel car were offered what were clearly homemade sandwiches--tasty!-- sold by vendors that walked the aisles. It was late February so the snowy scenes outside our windows were beautiful as we passed through tiny villages and empty countryside.
More recently on a trip to Spain I traveled on a high-speed train that offered a completely different kind of experience. But then, technology has undoubtedly changed in the last thirty or so years!
Perhaps the most memorable train ride was my first as a young girl on the Northwestern Railroad from our town to the big city of Chicago. It seemed a thrill to go with my father to the dining car, and when we pulled into Union Station, I was amazed at the number of trains housed there.
Another was the ride from England to France in the Chunnel on the Eurostar train from England to France. A famous South American tennis player was in the seat before us, and it was a thrill to think that we were traveling underwater.
I've only been on small historic trains or subway trains in the U.S.; however, I've been on many sleeper trains in my travels to Europe. It's always been an interesting experience, meeting perfect strangers and then sleeping virtually inches from them. I met a mother and her three sons on a train in France heading to Italy. We communicated as best we could, laughing and utilizing as much of each others' language as we could. It was fun and interesting and insightful--and the scenery wasn't bad, either.
There are two that come to mind. One was when I was a kid, maybe seven or eight years old, and I was riding on the Cumbres & Toltec train line in New Mexico with my Grandpa, who volunteered there. Great memories of both the train, the scenery of the Rocky Mountains, and time with my Grandpa of course.
Secondly, I remember many of the trains we took in our trip tp Europe. In 1994, while on a train from Budapest, Hungary to Prague, Czech Republic, we discovered our tickets were invalid when we were told as much by five border guards with AK-47s and drug dogs. They wanted a bribe in US dollars, which we very willingly provided.
Here in the United States, we don't use trains nearly as much as some other countries. I have only been on 3 long distance train trips in my life.
My most memorable one was near Christmas of 1990. My wife and I had been married 6 months and were travelling from Chicago to Spokane, WA. We were going to be picked up there by my grandparents and later go on to near Portland, OR for my brother's wedding.
What made this trip most memorable was the scenery. I had never really been through the mountains of Montana. It was winter, of course, and very snowy. We woke up on Christmas morning near Glacier Park to see a wilderness scene of mountains and forests blanketed in snow. It was amazingly beautiful.
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