Monday, June 18, 2012


My schedule works out that I can hop on the Lancaster train and arrive in Pittsburgh by Friday night. This was something that I had planned on doing and finally got around to it last weekend. Train travel is my preference for traveling, but due to our situation and planning here in the US, there aren't many routes you can take. Lancaster is only a half hour from Reading so it worked out quite well and efficiently.

Lancaster (Lanc'ster) station isn't all that big, which of course, makes it easier. Parking wasn't hard to find, though I've heard sometime they do get filled up. It's just 5$/day. No sweat. I shouldn't have been surprised by the number of Amish boarding the train, but there was a lot. I had to share a seat up until after Harrisburg, then I had my choice. At the first seat I moved to there was an annoying woman who was coming from New York and obviously loved to hear herself talk. It was getting pretty bad. I wanted to tell her to STFU, but I remained calm until I noticed another spot open right up from with super leg room. I then moved there and it was all good. I had the whole first row of seats to myself.

Amtrak train's, like most trains, I assume, are quite roomy and had wi-fi, and this trip included a cafe car, a place were you can load up on booze and snakes. I'm not much of drinker and I was perfectly content relaxing in my seat, so I didn't make the journey to the bar. Unfortunately on the way out, both bathrooms in our car were malfunctioning. The train bathrooms aren't horrible, just make sure you hold your nose as you're doing your business. I used them a few times.

Visually it's a pretty scenic trip. Especially, I think, after Lewistown. You get to see a lot of things not visible by the usual routes (rt. 76, rt. 30, rt. 22). Lots of small town stops along the way including Tyrone, Huntington, Altoona, Latrobe, and Greensburg. The conductress made a point to bring up the horse shoe curve, just west/south of Altoona (pictured below). I'm sure it has some significance. I just don't know what it is.

It was about a six hour trip, and the cost was just under $100 dollars round trip (which isn't much different than driving out there). If you're looking for a relaxing laid back trip, I'd recommend it. By the way, they don't check bags, if that means anything to anybody.

I might do this thing a few more times before the summer/fall is over.

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