The Grand Tour, Day Six [20 January 2003]

The final day of the Grand Tour really begins near midnight, with the departure of the Twilight Shoreliner from Philly 30th Street. In obvious contrast to last night's punishing ride on CSX rails, we glide along on Class Six track tonight, propelled by electricity. Well, at least it started that way. During the night, a section of the Northeast Corridor lost power, as we departed New York. As a result, we sat for an hour while some diesel "tugs" were called out to pull us over the section. Not that I noticed -- the diesels were added and subtracted without waking me up, a tribute to a nameless crew's joint making skills. In the morning, I wake up to discover I have a few more hours of train riding, so I take a shower (nicer than in the Superliners) and and spend time in the Cafe Car talking with the Conductor. We finally glide into Boston South Station, and I head upstairs to the first class lounge to await my ride into Boston.

Without a doubt, taking a train across the US is a time consuming endeavour. However, unlike the flight back home, I'll remember the trip for as long as I live. Having dinner with a group of retired school teachers on the California coast at sunset. Buying silver from the tribal vendors at Albuquerque. Dashing along the Triple Track Speedway into Chicago. Winding along the industial relics in Pennsylvania. And rocketing along the Northeast Corridor overnight. Especially in this case, the journey mattered most.

Amtrak AEM-7 #950 rests at Boston South Station after conveying the Twilight Shoreliner overnight along the Northeast Corridor.
One final glance at the Twilight Shoreliner, which, along with its brethren, have been my home for nearly a week.
Over on the next track, one of Amtrak's HHP-8 Acela locomotives, along with its trainset, prepares to rocket down the corridor to Washington.
The Acela is quite a contrast to the Boston Brownstone.
Boston's Club Acela is the first class lounge, an architectural mixture of old ornate ceilings with modern furniture. Like the contrasting Acela and Boston skyline, it represents the best of past and future.

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