Try the Train!

Dateline: student newspaper

By: Jenna Shull

In the winter of 2011, I found myself on my first trip to Washington, D.C. I have always wondered what it would be like to visit our museums, monuments and memorials in our nation’s capital, and after finding that the Mount offered an IDS class that included a trip to Washington, I jumped at the opportunity to travel. What I didn’t know when I signed up for the class was that we would be traveling by train to and from Washington, D.C. I was excited again because I had never traveled by train.

Our class departed from Union Terminal early in the morning, excited to reach our destination. Unlike flying, when you travel by train, you can bring as many bags on as you can carry. I had a couple of heavy bags with me and got help getting them on the train, and a passenger even helped place my bags in the area above my seat. I took my seat, excited to get to Washington, D.C. 

The passengers on the train were, for the most part, very friendly. Our group talked with the people in the seats near us. A young woman and her baby were in the seat directly in front of me, and a married couple sat in the seats to my right. The man and woman talked about their eight children, and the young woman sat playing with her child as the train left the station. Once the train had been moving for a few minutes, I didn’t even realize when we were moving or stopped without looking through the window. 

The man sitting next to me got up and talked to the young woman in front of me about her little boy and where she was headed. She talked for a while and even let the man hold the baby. While holding the baby, he talked more about his children and even said that he and his wife were trying to have more children. He, like most other passengers riding the train, was very open about his life and happy to talk to anyone who would listen. 

The train ride to Washington took around 13 hours in total, leaving me with a lot of time to kill. I was able to sleep for a few hours, read a few magazines, and listen to music. The train also had outlets, which I used to plug in my laptop and watch movies. One of the best parts of the train ride for me was watching the changing landscape out the window and seeing all of the small towns through which we passed. I almost wanted to get off and walk around as the train would stop in each place, but, instead, I stayed in my seat and stared out the window, hoping to be in Washington, D.C soon.

After arriving in Washington, D.C, I was very excited to get out and explore. I was again helped with my things as I exited the train and followed my group out onto the platform. I left the train knowing that I would be back in a short time to make the journey back to Cincinnati and wondering if the train ride home would be the same as the ride to D.C. After an amazing trip, the ride back to Cincinnati went as smoothly as my first train ride into the capital city.