Thursday, August 25, 2005

Amtrak ridership in Illinois at all-time high

According to this AP report from Springfield, more Illinoisians are riding the train. I find this heartening.

The alleged reasons for hoppin' a choo-choo: "Amtrak and Illinois Department of Transportation officials credit the record numbers to improved service, stronger marketing and higher gas prices. "

Of course, nobody counts my best excuses: You can read, knit, sketch, write, or do a zillion other activities while somebody else does all the driving, there are lots of neat people to meet on the way, and, just in general, it's fun to ride trains.

One of my biggest fantasies is to win the lottery (as if! they say ya gotta buy a ticket, first, and that requires a little floating spendy stuff), then buy an old railroad line (rumor has it that the Mark Twain is still for sale, between Minneapolis and St. Louis), set up land cruises with ports of call at the best cities along the Mississippi River, including a "casino stop" in the Quad Cities, overnight. I'd keep the ride slow and scenic, with plenty of live entertainment on board, all along the route.

But then, I'm not gonna win the lottery, so somebody else is going to have to pick up the idea of luxury train cruises across the USA. Run with it, people. Show Amtrak how it's done! Get into training!

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