12 July 2007

Trains, Subways and Amtrak


Doesn't look like much fun getting kids in and out of old timey street cars does it?

In my opinion trains are the ideal way to travel with children. We just completed a trip in which we rode on several versions of rail travel: Amtrak, two subway systems and one incline.

Amtrak provided us with a very smooth and enjoyable ride from Harrisburg to Manhattan (Penn Station). What a relief to get away from a steering wheel for 3 peaceful hours and read with the kids. We got 4 seats facing each other, and we packed a lunch and could get up and walk around as we please. Also, what kid doesn't like trains? Very enjoyable. The only negative with our travel on Amtrak is that on the return trip, someone either stole or found our camera on the train and kept it (along with our memory card with all of our photos)

Subways: Kids also like the subway, but it is louder, bumpier and more confusing for kids. In NYC very few of the stops are stroller freindly, and thus it is a very big headache getting in and out. The subway in D.C. however was totally accessible and a much more pleasant ride, being that long stretches of the track run above ground, and kids and parents alike prefer to gaze at passing neighborhoods, not sooty black tunnel walls.

Incline: Wow, the kids loved going up the incline in Pittsburgh. Kinda like Charlie and the glass elevator. I wish I had those photos.

After this trip, I am more than ever excited about Cincinnati's proposal for streetcars. Above-ground rail travel is the most pleasant and accessible way to travel. Separated grade trains are ideal for longer distances of course, but after seeing the video showing people in wheelchairs rolling on and off street cars in Portland, I am convinced this will be a great way to move around the basin area.

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