Historic Maysville, Kentucky Railroad Station
A couple of days ago I drove my son to the nearest railroad station. The drive to the station involved about two and a half hours. Why so long? Because to travel by passenger rail today, one must hunt up the closest stop and then go for it. And, Maysville, Kentucky was our closest Amtrak station.
My son was returning to New Mexico where he lives -- he had just spent a few great weeks with me in Kentucky. Some folks don't like to fly today so he decided to ride the rails. The cost was about four hundred dollars round trip, about the same as if he had flown. If you were to drive, the cost of fuel would also be about the same as the ticket for Amtrak.
From the middle of the 1800s until 1920 nearly all intercity travelers in the U.S. moved by rail. After the 1920s, factors such as improved roads, and the popularity of automobiles caused passenger rail travel to decline. In the 1960s the Rail Passenger Service Act was enacted and the Amtrak passenger rail lines was established. It is totally owned and operated by the federal government.(wiki)
My son arriving at the railroad station ready to ride the rails back to
His train was not due to arrive until midnight. He convinced me to drive the long trip back before it got dark. So we said our good-byes and I left him in the lobby of the station -- no one else was there, not even a station master.
Empty station lobby
The lobby was filled with lots of wonderful old waiting benches. As I glanced around its interior I could tell that little had changed since the station was built. However, it was maintained well.
My thoughts turned to the movie, "In the Heat Of The Night," -- son alone waiting for a night train and the air thick with heat and humidity. I felt uneasy about him sitting there all alone in some strange town, around midnight. Of course I shook it off when I told my son that this adventure reminded me of the southern movie -- he thought I was being silly. Why is it that mother's always have this "in the genes" protective feeling even when their children have reached adulthood.
Amtrak set its sixth straight year of record ridership with 28 million passengers in 2008.According to Amtrak an average of more than 20,000 passengers ride on up to 300 Amtrak trains per day.
Hopefully Amtrak will be able to expand its rail lines for passenger service. Doing this would help with our energy crisis as well as making stations closer to home.