Monday, May 9, 2011

Midnight Train Going Anywhere

I recently took the midnight train to KCMO, for the weekend to see my friend. This is not the first time I have taken the train and I always get a ton of questions about it... so here we go.

FAQ about taking the train from Garden City to KCMO:
1. How long does it take? Same as driving.

2. Then why not just drive? Due to the fact that it is a midnight train, I sleep the entire way and get to spend 3 whole days with my friend instead of 2 because I used up one whole day driving. Plus I hate driving by myself.

3. How is sleeping on the train? Not bad, but like I said this is not my first go around. I can recognize the amateurs from the pros. Before we roll out I have my neck pillow and blanket snuggly in place, eye mask on, and ticket hanging down from seat so the conductor doesn't have to ask. Depending on the crowd sometimes I will listen to my iPod to block out the distant chatter. This last trip I took a sleep aid and was out for the night! Fantastic.

4. What about leg room? I have seen some big ole boys on the train and they are just fine. The seats are comfortable and recline nicely. There is leg support and foot rests. Sometimes if the train isn't full you get two seats to yourself and this is the jackpot of travel. You can also upgrade to a room with a bed but I have never done so.

5. What about other amenities? Well of course there are bathrooms, changing rooms, and water fountains. If you are on the midnight train the food is kind of limited but if you wake up early then you can enjoy a nice warm breakfast before arrival (crepes anyone?!) or a quick bite in the dining cart. There is also a lounge cart available too if you are not quite ready for sleep.

6. How do you know when it's your stop?! What if you miss it?! Easy. The conductors give you a special tag that has your destination on it. This is snuggly placed above your seat so they know when and where you are going. If you are sleeping they will wake you 10 minutes before arrival and will make sure you make it. If it is daytime they will announce the next stop over the intercom.

7. What if you miss the returning train?! I found myself asking this question last night. And by that I mean screamed obscenities at the train pulling out of the station. Amtrak's advice to me was "Did your friend drop you off?" aka "Better haul ass to the next stop and try and catch it!!" We did make it to Lawrence and by a good 5 minutes before the train! All Hail the Hemi Engine!!

I do have to say that [missing the train] was the most nerve wrecking experience I have had on the train and I have traveled in poor weather, crowded carts, with no pillow or blanket, crying babies, and loud obnoxious women. So... OK! I still haven't found the perfect form of transportation for the quick weekend trip but I will say that I will continue to take the train as long as I am by myself and have a budget of $140 for travel.

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