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Minnesota to New Mexico by Train

Los Angeles Union Station, western terminus of the Southwest Chief that serves Albuquerque. You can even rent a car here.
Los Angeles Union Station, western terminus of the Southwest Chief that serves Albuquerque. You can even rent a car here.

Here’s another positive side-effect of high gas prices: Amtrak ridership is way, way up. Last year, Amtrak carried 25 million passengers, an 11% increase. This year, it’ll probably carry more, and that means good press for the little engine that could.

Last week the San Francisco Chronicle published Catherine Watson’s travelogue of her epic train trip from St. Paul to Las Cruces, and yesterday NPR had her on Talk of the Nation fielding comments from listeners. The pro-rail consensus that’s building seems to include: (1) forgiveness for delays (which, for the most part, aren’t Amtrak’s fault), (2) joy over not being subjected to airport hassles, and (3) appreciation of the intangible, but very real benefit of seeing the country from the ground without being stuck behind a steering wheel.

A gentle reminder: Albuquerque is blessed with daily Amtrak service to Chicago and Los Angeles. I’ve personally been booking a sleeper compartment to L.A. once a year, and it rocks. Four little words: Margaritas in the room.

 
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