Train Rides and A Silly Train Story

This past week I took my kids on a train ride from Philadelphia to Washington DC. It was their first train ride and they bounced with excitement and questions, among them about whether I had been on a train before. My first train trip was a long time ago, a summer vacation to see my grand parents, and I remember it as a good but long trip from Florida to Boston.

It also made me recall a train trip in the military. We were traveling from A to B in Europe for a training exercise and the accommodations were thin. No sleeper car, no dining car, but lots of time to look out the window as our train kept pulling over to let other trains go by. Food was MRE’s and whatever snacks we had packed. MRE’s aren’t great eats, and they are less good cold. We decided to try heating them with what were then standard issue trioxane tabs. We knew that it they gave off some not-good fumes, but the combination of boredom, hunger, and the relatively open space of the train car made us think it would work ok. It heated the food fine, but the open space plan failed. About 30 seconds into our effort all three of us had our heads stuck out the window trying to get fresh air. Not the smartest thing I’ve ever done!

By comparison this time we trekked to the “dining car” for cold ginger ale and some snacks, then returned to our seats to try out the wi-fi,which was surprisingly good. We had Google Maps running on my Nexus with GPS going and it was able to keep up with the train progress pretty well,not bad considering the training was doing a good 60+ mph.