A train trip is Christmas morning, Fourth of July and Mardi gras all wrapped into a six hour spa package.

Train trips trigger childhood memories of treks from Long Island to Manhattan to shop, see the circus, or visit a museum.

Subways offered easy transportation to Long Island’s many beaches.

Colorado train trips have their own brand of magic. As Bill and I stood at the Amtrak ticket line in Denver, I could hardly wait to board the train.

I can’t think of a more leisurely way to enjoy the yellows and golds that blaze through the mountains on the way to Grand Junction.

We were a crowd of strangers in the Amtrak Station that moring, cautiously eyeing each other, sizing each other up, clinging tight to handbags and carry-on luggage.

“Why are they traveling by train?” I wondered. “Where are they going? Didn’t they like to fly?”

After about an hour on board, Bill and I left our comfortable, roomy seats and made our way to the sweeping views of observation car.

When our name was called for breakfast, we were seated across from a couple from Lafayette, Colorado who were on their way to Glenwood Springs for a short vacation.

I recognized this couple from the train station—when they were still strangers. We introduced ourselves and immediately found ourselves chatting as if we were old friends, bonded by an interest in books and travel, sharing extra biscuits as well as life stories.

As we walked back to coach after breakfast I noticed a general level of comfort in the passengers. People left jackets and belongings on their chairs as they moved about the train.

It felt as if an unwritten code of honest conduct transformed strangers in the station to being fellow travelers once on board.

While I thought the highlight of my trip would be the quivering gold of the aspen, what I found most rewarding was the strength of trust that was built by fellow travelers on a train

What have you noticed about the trust that builds up among strangers traveling together?

Readers, let’s hear about your travel experiences.

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6 Responses to TRAIN TRUST

  1. bill mccullough says:

    That was a great train ride.

  2. brunoE says:

    Love it, I made one overnight many years and had a ball. I did a lot of hitchhiking in the mid 60's – 70's and never felt fear until the later years. Most people who picked me up, or I ended up hitching with, were generous, caring people. I went from coast to coast and across Canada a couple of times. Unfortunately that all changed to the point where I stopped for my own safety. Sad.

    • Valerie McCullough says:

      Hi Bruno,
      Sounds like you had great travel experiences–train and hitch hiking. So sad that we’ve become a world where we fear one another.

  3. LarryPearlman says:

    Thanks for this article Val. Here is a poem I wrote while riding a train.

    Hum of the engine – Clacking of the tracks
    Constant, steady – never missing.
    Flash of the Sun,
    Burning through the glass.
    People laughing, chatting – mostly unaware.

    Watching God's ever changing, changeless feature film
    Frame by frame
    One frame at a time, yet no separation.
    One can't grasp the moment.
    It's here al the time………..
    Where? Where?
    Like a fish looking for the ocean,
    An eagle soaring high…..looking for the sky.

    • Valerie McCullough says:

      Hi Larry,
      Thanks for the poem. Your description of train travel is right on. As a child I watched people going by frame after frame, wondering who they were, where they were going and noting that I would never see them again.

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