Thursday, June 26, 2008

Amtrak From Fort Worth To Tacoma

I'm pretty sure I'll be heading north to Tacoma next month. A pair of poodles await me. Among other things.

Years ago I rode Amtrak from Tacoma to Portland. It was awful. I've never been seasick or carsick. But I got trainsick. As in, by the time I got to Portland, I was totally nauseous, with a horrible headache that stayed with me all the way back to Tacoma, where barely a couple miles back driving on the freeway I had to exit and throw up.

So, I don't know what I was thinking when I decided to see if it was doable to take Amtrak from Fort Worth to Tacoma. It is doable. But totally, ridiculously bizarre.

First off it cost $418 one-way to Tacoma. And $414 to return to Fort Worth. That's $832 roundtrip. Flying is only about $350. Driving would even be cheaper. And funner, than Amtrak.

It's the convoluted route to get back and forth from Fort Worth to Tacoma that truly makes Amtrak bizarre.

I leave Fort Worth, July 16, on the Texas Eagle and 45 hours 30 minutes later I arrive in Los Angeles where I board a bus that takes me to Bakersfield where I get on another train, the San Joaquin and ride for 5 hours 10 minutes to Sacramento where I get on another train, the Coast Starlight and ride 19 hours 12 minutes to get to Tacoma, July 19, 4 days after I left Fort Worth.

And then the return to Fort Worth is even more bizarre. August 13 I get on the Coast Starlight, again, but this time it takes 19 hours 44 minutes to get to Sacramento (it's slower going south?) and then I get on the California Zephyr for a 48 hour 25 minute ride to Galesburg, Illinois, where I get on another train, the Southwest Chief and ride 4 hours 18 minutes to Kansas City where I get on another bus for an 8 hour ride to Oklahoma City to get on the Heartland Flyer for a 4 hour 14 minute ride back to Fort Worth for the end, on August 17, of a 5 day long return journey, where I would collapse and probably need to be hospitalized.

Well, it is now no longer a mystery to me why more people don't use Amtrak. One would think it would be feasible to run small passenger trains on a regular route, I dunno, like one heading through Fort Worth passing through Oklahoma City on its way to Denver and beyond.

There are train tracks all over this country. I've seen them. Why should it take way longer to take a train from Fort Worth to Tacoma than it takes to drive a car? I can drive there in 2 and half days. And that's with 2 motels stays. A train goes non-stop. It's 2200 miles when I drive to the Seattle zone. The routes Amtrak takes is thousands of extra miles.


Anonymous said...

Please don't take the train. There isn't enough alcohol in the house to make up for that trip.
Blue and Max

Anonymous said...

You can't use the tracks because the private companies that own them don't want you on them. The only tracks that can be used are the ones that were being used for passenger service in 1972. On those existing routes you are the lowest priority which is why they take so long. sorry, that's just the way it is & nothing short of the goverment seizing the property is going to change it.