Tourism by Train
02.01.11 at 1:00 pm by Mark Shipley
I have the pleasure of traveling to NYC by Amtrak often. The trip follows the East bank of the Hudson River from Rensselaer to Penn Station. The views are magnificent, and I can get a lot more work done on the ride than if I had gone by car. Those who live in Poughkeepsie and closer can travel NY Metro’s Hudson line on the same tracks for considerably less money. Why would anyone drive into the city?
On yesterday morning’s trip, there was a problem with the first train we boarded in Rensselaer. By the time we arrived at our first stop in Hudson, it was apparent we would “disembarked.” Fortunately, Amtrak had another train a short time behind it and we were back on our way in less than thirty minutes. We were late to NYC, but the stress level was far less than if we had chosen the wrong moves on the competitive auto race to the city.
Train travel can be an adventure.
When I go to Europe, I travel mainly to places I can reach by train. Sure, it’s fun cruising on the Autostrada at over 100 mph in a rented BMW. But it can be so much more of a gratifying experience to watch out the window of a train and notice the subtle, and not so subtle, cultural shifts as it glides from Germany to Austria to Italy.
I never completely understood the underinvestment in the rail infrastructure in the United States. While I do love driving my 911 on curvy, empty mountain roads in the Berkshires and Adirondacks in the summer months, the thought of driving to New York City and fighting the commuter traffic any time of year is far from appealing.
There’s renewed talk of a high speed train from NYC to Albany Rensselaer, with travel time of about an hour (currently, it takes 2 hours and 25 minutes). This could have a major impact on tourism in our region and real estate values, not to mention traffic congestion on our region’s roads. Light rail could help keep our region’s burgeoning highway system from becoming as overcrowded as it is in NYC, Boston, DC and San Francisco — and provide locals and tourists alike with a pleasant way of getting around.
I’m just sayin’.
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