My dad has been on a train kick and it was time for me to join in! We decided to travel by train from Birmingham to New Orleans and back. I’ve never taken a long-distance train in the US so I thought it’d be the perfect opportunity to check something off my bucket list. I didn’t really know what to expect but I was ready to try something new. Train travel is certainly an adventure and now that I’ve done it, I highly recommend it.
See the world as you’ve never seen it before.
The world is truly different from the eyes of a passenger train traveling across rural Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. The train we took was the Amtrak Crescent line from New York to New Orleans. My dad and I got on in Birmingham and would be in New Orleans by the late evening. Throughout the ride, we passed through quaint little towns and countrysides. I discovered parts of the Southeast that I never would have otherwise. It was a true Southern experience which was a huge draw to the Cresent line.
The service we had on the train was amazing. Everyone we came into contact with that worked on the train was so kind and willing to help us. It was a great experience and it seemed like everyone enjoyed their job. The whole environment was very warm and kind. From extra brownies to friendly chats, the Amtrak staff was awesome.
Travel by Train is Less Stressful
The train life is a stress-free life. My dad and I got to the Birmingham train station an hour ahead of time and were plenty early for our train. At the train station, there were no lines and no stress. We got to talk and make friends with our fellow passengers while sitting in the gate area and no one was running around.
My dad remarked that this is how air travel used to be. You’d just show up at the gate and get on the plane. I realized that train travel would be a different experience than I was used to and I came to love the relaxed nature of it. It was certainly less stressful than driving or flying to New Orleans.
The food served on the train was very good, especially when compared to airplane food. I enjoyed salmon, chicken, spaghetti and meatballs, and french toast. There are a couple of different options for each meal and you can pick your favorite. On the train, they serve breakfast, lunch, dinner, and desserts depending on how long your journey is. The meals were brought to us and it was a really nice experience. We had amazing food once we were in New Orleans and the food on the train was a great start to that which was something I wasn’t expecting!
The train was actually very comfortable and cozy. My dad and I were in the roomette. This train offers coach and sleeper cars. The roomette is a small room in the sleeper car. There are also larger rooms in the sleeper car that have a sofa, a larger bed, a private bathroom, and a shower. In the roomette, it’s pretty spacious and perfect for 1 or 2 people. The 2 chairs fold out into a bed and a bed can be pulled down from the top of the roomette, more or less, fancy bunk beds. I was able to take a good, long nap.
The train ride is smooth and you are in control of the air, temperature, lighting, and privacy in the roomette. It’s a great time to get some work done and read or listen to podcasts too. You can also get out and walk around when the train makes stops. These stops didn’t too last long but allowed us to get a better lay of the land and get out and stretch if we wanted to.
Experience travel in a new way
This trip taught me that travel doesn’t have to be stressful. Travel can be something that is enjoyed. For most of my life traveling has included getting up before the sun and stressing that something could wrong until my family gets to our destination where we can finally enjoy some rest and relief. Traveling by train is so much different and it actually made the journey very enjoyable, as it should be. It can be as comfortable and luxurious as you want it to be.
This is a great way to look at life through a new lens and enjoy the journey. This is also a great way to reminisce and go back in time and think of when traveling by train was the most common form of travel. Train travel really does allow you to slow down as the arrival and departure times are more of loose suggestions and it seems that that is simply understood.
I noticed that the actual arrival time would be 30 minutes to an hour behind when it was actually supposed to be. At first, this made me a little anxious but I soon learned to just go with the flow and not look at the clock. This is all part of the experience, to enjoy the journey and not rush it.
I’m so glad that I was able to experience train travel and I definitely encourage you to travel by train, at least once. It’s a great way to enjoy your journey, see new places and meet new people along the way. Train travel is a hidden gem and it makes me happy that it’s still around.