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Ever since they came on the scene, American trains have had a strong hold on the popular imagination, inspiring countless stories, songs, scandals, films and legends. Their rugged charm sets them apart from more mundane means of transport and their ecological soundness is again in fashion. Trains pollute less, rarely suffer from weather delays and won’t give you jet lag. You can choose your companions, read a book, let your thoughts unfurl, take a snooze, sleep horizontally and generally enjoy most of the comforts of home. One reason for traveling by train is especially compelling: it’s much more fun.
American passenger trains go to most big cities as well as to Disney World, Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon. Pampered by helpful attendants, you can travel from coast to coast, explore the Rocky Mountains and ride directly alongside two oceans. You cross many rivers, lakes and deserts, often seeing places which can not be visited any other way. Less expensive than flying, more comfortable than the bus, trains keep you relaxed and in touch with an ever-changing landscape as the world becomes a moving picture, framed.
Not many people would mourn buses if they became obsolete, and few entertain fond thoughts about airports, but children still count freight cars and wave as the train goes by. Instead of leaving you exhausted and surly, trains create a sense of adventure and romance. No wonder many still find the sound of a locomotive whistle at midnight a sure sign that it’s time to move on. As the bell clangs and the conductor calls out 'All aboo-aard!’, you soon discover why North American rail travel remains such a beguiling experience.