With the writers abuzz with talk of securing Amtrak Residencies, Tom Zoellner's concisely titled Train comes at a good time. The Los Angeles writer rode the rails in six different countries on three continents to research his new book. He also traveled from New York to Los Angeles on our often-embattled national carrier.
Amtrak appears to have recently scored a rare PR win, after managing to turn an offhand remark from Awl-pal Alexander Chee into an as-yet-unnamed but perhaps-soon-to-be-formalized program aimed at giving writers free or low-cost rides. Writer Jessica Gross has already done such a rolling residency; Chee will take to the rails[...]
Hello, welcome to another edition of The Awl's Business Travel Answer Bag, where we bring you business travel weather on the fives. Today's question is from a gentleman arriving in New York tomorrow via Newark Airport. He asks, "Uhh, where exactly am I supposed to stand, at 6 p.m. tomorrow, and what am I supposed to have, as far as exact change or school vouchers or tickets, in order to board some kind of public transportation or emergency shuttle or maybe one of those [...]
Japan's new "superexpress" bullet train was created out of a laser falcon who swooped down from outer space trailing a meteor shower of teal-and-fuschia neon sparks. But while the Hayabusa (Japanese for "peregrine falcon") is hurtling between Tokyo and Shin-Aomori at 186 miles per hour on the outside, it's a tranquil, luxurious scene in the premium class cabins, where waitresses serve tea and automated white leather seats recline into the passenger's desired position. Someone paid 385,000 yen (4,675 dollars) for a scalped ticket on Saturday's inaugural three-hour-and-ten-minute ride—23 times the original price.
"Septa, for example, says riders shouldn't expect to hear a pin drop. 'It's the quiet car, not the silent car,' says Kim Scott Heinle, assistant general manager for customer service and advocacy. What helps is that conductors will hand 'shush' cards to riders who forget or didn't know the rules. The system lets conductors suspend quiet operations when needed, like before and after a sports event or during the Flower Show in Philadelphia, when many riders aren't regulars."
He's not quite as awesome as the greatest American hero of the 21st century. (Yes, Wesley Autrey is greater than even Sully Sullenberger in my book, because he intentionally lay down in the disgusting gutter, underneath a speeding train, to save another person. And, even more probably, the whole "I’ve got two daughters up there. Let them know their father’s okay…” thing, which just breaks me in half every time.) I guess the unnamed Spanish policeman in the above video falls somewhere between Chad Lindsey and Carlos Flores. But points for only having been on the job for two months. And, of course, for [...]
“Now, if we have a more decentralized mass transit system using buses, if the terrorists blow up a single bus, we can work around that. When they blow up a rail, that just brings the system to a grinding halt. So how much security are we going to have on this rail system, and how much will it cost?” —That's J.D. Van Brink, of the Georgia Tea Party, explaining why trains shouldn't be built in the US of A. So, I guess the terrorists won? Also, I would like to report that I saw the movie Unstoppable recently, because I was sure the "runaway train" concept was just [...]