Cruising the Past: Celebrating National Train Day – May 10 – Will America ever have great rail passenger service again? Not if John McCain is president. He wants to destroy Amtrak.

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This site is usually not political but when it comes to the future of Amtrak — presidential candidate John McCain is worse than Bush. National Train Day owes nothing to John McCain. America. Europe, Australia, South Africa and Japan have great rail service. But not America. There are Republicans that are very pro-Amtrak who are not in the “Bush/McCain league”! Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas) is considered one of the major Republican leaders supporting Amtrak! Should John McCain get elected, we will see the end of passenger train travel in America.

Will America ever have great trains like these again?

youTUBE video – late 60s and early 70s – end of the Great Streamliners and the beginning of Amtrak.
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The Super Chief was one of the named passenger trains and the flagship of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. It was often referred to as “The Train of the Stars” because of the many celebrities who traveled on the streamliner between Chicago, Illinois and Los Angeles, California.three_for_bedroom_c_screenshot.jpg

American rail travel aboard the Santa Fe SUPER CHIEF in the 1950s… Film star Gloria Swanson in a scene from “Three For Bedroom C” which took place aboard the all – Pullman SUPER CHIEF.

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The fabulous all-Pullman New York Central TWENTIETH CENTURY LIMITED – New York to Chicago.

America’s Rail Heritage… On May 10, 1869, in Promontory Summit, Utah, the “golden spike” was driven into the final tie that joined 1,776 miles of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railways, ceremonially creating the nation’s first transcontinental railroad. And America was transformed.

Suddenly, the country was united in a way it never had been, and train travel sparked imaginations in small towns and big cities, among folk who desired adventure and businessmen who saw fortunes to be made. The sound of a train whistle was the soundtrack of happy reunions and tearful farewells. It heralded the arrival of mail, supplies and change.

The train became more than the go-to mode of transport for people and goods. It was a proud achievement of engineering vision, technical ingenuity and sweat. It was a cultural force that sparked the creative imaginations of storytellers in songs, movies and novels. Railways provided jobs for thousands of Americans. The train station became a focal point of every community, from New York City’s Pennsylvania Station to the tiny stations that dotted rural America.

Before Amtrak – Some of the Greatest Trains of the Greatest Generation: Super Chief, The Chief, Broadway Limited, California Zephyr, Capitol Limited, City of Los Angeles, City of San Francisco, City of Portland, The Coast Daylight, The Shasta Daylight, The 20th Century Limited, The Panama Limited, The Florida Special, Silver Meteor, The Lark, The Cascade, The Crescent, The Denver Zephyr, The El Capitan, “Empire Builder, Hiawatha, Merchants Limited…

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The Grandluxe Express at Denver Union Station – This all Pullman train still operates in the tradition of America’s great streamliners.

The only deluxe travel by rail today is operated by GrandLuxe Rail Journeys. They operate America’s premier private train on 4 to 10 day itineraries throughout North America. Passengers enjoy fine dining and beautiful vistas in comfortable luxury aboard our classic, restored, private rail cars. You sleep in private room accommodations (similar to those once operated by the Pullman Company) aboard the train each night, and then wake to a world of new adventures.

Now, 139 years after the golden spike connected east and west, there’s never been a better time to support train travel. Huge crowds and the frustrations that go with them burden our highways and airports. And at a time when we all share the same pressing concerns about ecology and energy conservation, trains are a more energy-efficient mode of travel than either autos or airplanes. Riding the rails is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. Not to mention meet interesting people and see breathtaking scenery.

The following is a great ad from the 1930s featuring Rock Island/Southern Pacific trains operating from Chicago to Los Angeles via Arizona and such winter resorts as Palm Springs. 1936sundayn.jpg


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About Michael L. Grace

During the mid-80s, Michael Grace worked as a writer on the TV Hit Series THE LOVE BOAT. He wrote many of the two hour special featuring great stars of the past, including Lana Turner, Claire Trevor, Anne Baxter, Ethel Merman, Alexis Smith, etc. The public’s access to these stars, in familiar dramas and comedies, made them want to go on a cruise. They could see the stars in an ordinary world as “regular” people. The phenomenally successful series was responsible for creating the cruise industry as we know it today. By the time he was writing for Love Boat, the great steamship companies and their liners were flying hand me down foreign flags, painted like old whores, scrapped or doing three day cruises to the Bahamas. He had sailed on over thirty ships and liners with his parents, aunt and grandmother in late 50s to early 70s. The very successful CRUISING THE PAST website has been an outgrowth of Michael’s strong interest in cruise and social history. Drawing on his own knowledge and a vast maritime and social history collection, he is able to produce a very successful website. Michael is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. He has written for television and films. Read more by going to "About" (on the above dashboard) and clicking "Editor"…