Vox editor Dean Peterson traveled from Los Angeles to New York City on a cross-country Amtrak train to find out what it was like to make such a journey. Along the way, he shares his personal experience of the ride and goes over the colorful history of passenger train travel.
Along the way, he explains the history of passenger rail in the US — starting in the problematic robber baron era to the US government’s takeover of passenger rail.
He further wonders aloud why the United States is so far behind other countries in terms of rail service.
The United States has always had a love hate relationship when it comes to train travel. The country was literally built on the backs of the railroads and the US used to have the biggest and the most well-funded rail network in the world. …The US has fallen woefully behind the rest of the world when it comes to train travel.
He also laments about the train travel of yesteryear.
The journey I’m taking is pretty different than it would have been about a hundred years ago. …you would not believe how amazing train travel could be back then. Sure, they had basic boring train cars like the one I’m riding. But the upscale trains featured chandeliers, barber shops… pianos and food service that would make the Four Seasons look like Boston Market.