By Krisann Rehbein
Against nearly everyone’s advice, I recently took my family on an overnight trip on Amtrak. From the minute we arrived at Union Station, I was vindicated. Unlike airlines, Amtrak called for seniors and people with young children to board first. Within ten minutes of arriving at the station, we were led by a liveried attendant to our private sleeper car, which extended to the back of the train car with windows on each side, long, couch-like seating, and little fold-down tables for coloring books and juice boxes. It was lovely.
For a small-space aficionado like me, the cars are brilliant. The closet was only six inches deep but contained a small bar that extended outward from the back and could hold a family’s worth of winter coats on the three wooden hangers, happily provided. My gigantic purse fit into a little notch in the bottom and the shelf on top safely stowed an extra pair of shoes. The concave space between the closet and the window contained a small shelf that was perfect for some wine and all the complimentary bottles of water.
Many of us owe our romantic notions of train travel to Alfred Hitchcock. Watching a sunglasses-clad Cary Grant sit opposite Eva Marie Saint in the dining car and order a Gibson martini is hot. The clever and slightly dangerous verbal seduction that follows is enough to lure us all to sleeping cars, or the fantasy of them. And yet we all know that that was then and this is now. Read the rest of this entry »