Friday, June 29, 2007

Sad Stations

One of the more interesting aspects of this trip is the range of station facilities on the Amtrak line. Ranging from the elegance, already spoken about South Station, the facility in Albany is also quite exquisite. And having been in Chicago’s Union Station before, I know what a wonderful place it is. But many of the stops along the way are pretty sad. Springfield, MA is particularly ugly and Cleveland is also pretty sad. Both these stations look like they had been grand places in bygone years. Now the multiple cover “tracks” are in great disrepair, or abandoned together. In Cleveland there is a rather simple and functional brick building which is in sharp contrast to the Cleveland Browns stadium and Rock n”Roll Hall of Fame building which grace the beautiful lakefront. I would think that there would be a fair amount of passenger train traffic running through Cleveland, but apparently they don’t care what the station looks like. Contrast this with the excitement and civic pride that has gone into the planning of the new train stations along the Downeaster line. Strange.

The saddest site today was in Sandusky, OH where two young people got on our train. They had been waiting since 3:00 am and had reservations for another train that apparently did not stop. They were only going to Toledo, the next stop about an hour down the rail and were going to catch a bus to Detroit, their home. They carried a number of odd bags with their belongings and paid for their tickets in cash. Sandusky is one of those very sad train stations as is Toledo. I bid them farewell in Toledo and wish them the best. Traveling is never easy and down right miserable if you’re poor.

Last year when I took this route, we slept through Cleveland, Sandusky and Toledo and didn’t really see anything. Perhaps they did this on purpose.

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