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Trains are great (keep your anorak shit out of here)

tynictynic PICNIC BADASSRegistered User, ClubPA regular
When I dream of travel, I always find myself in the same space. A vast, possibly infinite train station, platforms layered down into the depths of the earth and soaring into the sky, connected by an uncountable labyrinth of staircases. The architecture varies from section to section - lower platforms are modern, high tech, white tiled and close fitted and electric (fig 1), while the middle zones have vaulted Victorian iron arches soaring over the train lines (fig 2), and art deco signage. I do not know what forms occur in the upper stories, as I never venture more than one or two flights above the ground floor, though I often see stairs to higher realms. I suspect that it is not one train station, but all stations, past, present, and future, joined together through a Borgesian conceptual ether (or simply a variant on the better known L-space).

No matter where I come from, or where I am going, no matter the doorway I pass through, I will always arrive on a platform, somewhere in the maze, with mere minutes to find my connection. Trains arrive in apparently random locations at prescheduled times (though short, local routes do generally depart from lower floors), and each platform may have multiple trains arriving and departing at once, from any direction. No information is ever listed on any platform itself. Apart from ferociously desperate eavesdropping, the only way to confirm your boarding information is to navigate to the giant, cavernous central hall, which has a monstrous ever-changing arrival board a hundred thousand lines long and three columns wide. But I can never find this place on purpose - sometimes I stumble across it fortuitously while frantically running up or down marble Escher-like staircases. (Nobody else seems to have this problem - everyone else has always arrived in plenty of time to find their platform and even their carriage*, and moves with leisurely purpose until the train arrives, whereupon they board with such speed that they seem to evaporate).

The final key feature of this space, one which I hesitate to call a universal law (but so far it has held for me) is that if I leave the station heading west I am always, inevitably, on the wrong train. If I leave it heading east, then there's at least a 70% chance things are ok, though it's never clear how many stops lie between me and my destination.

*from this, and the general antiseptic cleanliness of the environment, I assume this Ur-transit space is located somewhere in Germany. Or maybe in a pocket universe run by Germans, which is a frightening thought.

Reference figure 1:
7gtehn8rj46u.jpeg


Reference figure 2:

563ovsfx61ci.jpeg


Anyway trains are a neat concept? and they're fun to ride on.
One day I wanna do the ol' Paris-Moscow rail jaunt (pending a non-nuclear resolution to the current hideous conflict in the east). Also Railsea is a fun book what has trains in.

These are my train thoughts.

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Posts

  • TallahasseerielTallahasseeriel Registered User regular
    The only train I've ever been on is the one that used to run from one side of cedar point to the other

    They had animatronic skeletons back in the day too

  • ChicoBlueChicoBlue Registered User regular
    I have ridden the Calgary transit before. That's a train.

    It did not go choochoo., though.

    Maybe it is not a train.

    CristovalShadowhope
  • DepressperadoDepressperado I just wanted to see you laughing in the pizza rainRegistered User regular
    one time I took a midnight train going anywhere

    TallahasseerielTNTrooperDisruptedCapitalistElvenshaevalhalla130
  • TallahasseerielTallahasseeriel Registered User regular
    What is it like to live in a city that has like actual public transit

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  • PinfeldorfPinfeldorf Yeah ZestRegistered User regular
    Yes, hello, I would like to order one Trains, please.

    Tallahasseeriel
  • DepressperadoDepressperado I just wanted to see you laughing in the pizza rainRegistered User regular
    you see lots of interesting people on the bus

    Sorce
  • TallahasseerielTallahasseeriel Registered User regular
    one time I took a midnight train going anywhere

    I'm going off the rails

    Depressperado
  • tynictynic PICNIC BADASS Registered User, ClubPA regular
    What is it like to live in a city that has like actual public transit

    it's awesome

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  • DepressperadoDepressperado I just wanted to see you laughing in the pizza rainRegistered User regular
    I ran away to Providence for a few months, back when I was a young man. when I got finished "finding myself" (I ran out of money) I took a train back to Philly except there was a transfer and it was like, night time and the station was empty and I got nervous and took the wrong train and ended up in New Jersey.

  • PiptheFairPiptheFair Frequently not in boats. Registered User regular
    I ran away to Providence for a few months, back when I was a young man. when I got finished "finding myself" (I ran out of money) I took a train back to Philly except there was a transfer and it was like, night time and the station was empty and I got nervous and took the wrong train and ended up in New Jersey.

    a fate worse than death

    DepressperadotynicDisruptedCapitalistSLyM3cl1ps3OdinLucedesvalhalla130
  • Blake TBlake T Do you have enemies then? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.Registered User regular
    I think we should all travel by hyper loop
    It’s the future.

  • tynictynic PICNIC BADASS Registered User, ClubPA regular
    One time I also missed a train transfer on the way back to Philly, only the transfer was intentionally in new jersey. So I had to wait on a platform in Trenton from 1am to 6am.

    I may have died tbh it's unclear.

    DepressperadoDisruptedCapitalistLadai3cl1ps3
  • PiptheFairPiptheFair Frequently not in boats. Registered User regular
    tynic wrote: »
    One time I also missed a train transfer on the way back to Philly, only the transfer was intentionally in new jersey. So I had to wait on a platform in Trenton from 1am to 6am.

    I may have died tbh it's unclear.

    trenton is one of the least new jersey cities, at least

  • CelloCello Registered User regular
    edited October 2022
    Locally we got a new light rail train built but the mayor and his council at the time went for the lowest possible bidder and the project has been nightmarish because of it, including a derail that could have been worse were it not mid-pandemic with no one on it

    Turns out public-private partnerships are bad! Who knew!

    Though as creaky as our system is, every house is within a 10 minute walk of a bus stop, and it's a bunch better than many US systems at least (and might lead to the election of our first non-binary and progressive mayor this month, in reaction to the shitty developer-enabling policies of the last guy)

    The Via rail system that goes across Canada is pretty great though, and there's rumblings of a high frequency rail being added in the next couple years to make travelling from Ottawa to Toronto/a few Quebec cities much faster, and if you pay the marginally more expensive business class ticket you get unlimited alcohol so that's pretty neat

    Cello on
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  • TallahasseerielTallahasseeriel Registered User regular
    I heard that like a hundred years ago toledo had street cars and shit

  • V1mV1m Registered User regular
    Railsea was great fun to read and I do not care to hear disagreement.

    There is something very soothing about being on a long train journey. I enjoy both the deferred enjoyment of the outbound and the nostalgic relief of the return. It's restful in a way that air travel never is. Because of the literally iron-cast certainty of the rails.

    BahamutZEROtynicCaptainBeyond
  • H0b0manH0b0man Registered User regular
    More of a general public transportation post than trains specifically.

    Getting stationed in South Korea was the first time I encountered good public transportation. It was what made me realize that, when I got out of the military and could choose where I lived, I never wanted to live in a place where I was required to own a car. There were affordable busses and trains that easily got you between cities, taxis were abundant, and the subway made getting around Seoul real easy.

    The absolute peak of this being the one night I was out bar hopping in Seoul with a bunch of friends and we got a taxi. We climb in the taxi and realize that the entire thing is covered with Hello Kitty stuff. Seat covers, things on the back of the chairs, on the dashboard. It looked like the Sanrio company had vomited all over the inside of the car. We asked the driver why all the Hello Kitty. His answer was "Women love Hello Kitty".

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  • Captain InertiaCaptain Inertia Registered User regular
    Portland Maine to Boston was a fun little excursion on my engagement trip, ah, 11 years ago

    I assume the trains are even better now yes?

  • PiptheFairPiptheFair Frequently not in boats. Registered User regular
    Portland Maine to Boston was a fun little excursion on my engagement trip, ah, 11 years ago

    I assume the trains are even better now yes?

    nobody tell em

    tynicDisruptedCapitalistSLyMLindsay Lohan
  • CelloCello Registered User regular
    V1m wrote: »
    Railsea was great fun to read and I do not care to hear disagreement.

    There is something very soothing about being on a long train journey. I enjoy both the deferred enjoyment of the outbound and the nostalgic relief of the return. It's restful in a way that air travel never is. Because of the literally iron-cast certainty of the rails.

    This is absolutely an aspect I love of it but also, at least with Via, the whole experience is just so much nicer than air travel:

    - no security clearance process, so you can show up 10-15 minutes before the train and get on from the platform, and someone will check your ticket on the train unless you're outbound from a big station like Toronto where it's done before you board
    - WiFi is enabled and free (though it can be a little slow in some of the more rural ends of the trip)
    - you have significantly more leg room and huge windows that make it okay for you to not be in a window seat
    - they have some really beautiful routes along the sea or in the mountains (I very much want to do one of the Rocky Mountain glass car situations someday)
    - you can bring your suitcase right on with you and don't have to struggle with luggage checks
    - more arm space than a plane so it feels less rude to move around and take out a tablet or a boom or whatnot from your bag
    - you can get one of those 4 seats over a table sections if you're travelling with family or friends and make it a social experience

    It's generally my transit mode of choice to Montreal or Toronto as the travel time is equivalent to the airport check-in time and travel time, but the experience is so much less exhausting

    Steam
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  • MadicanMadican No face Registered User regular
    I don't know what an anorak is but I ride the train to my parents place every two weeks or so. Takes a little longer than it would driving but I get to avoid Los Angeles traffic, where we measure distances by time instead of length, so it's well worth it. $140 for ten trips + $16 parking each round trip is more than worth it. Even when the train gets delayed at random but never when I'm the one who's late arriving.

  • I needed anime to post.I needed anime to post. boom Registered User regular
    1e2sv229xokz.png

    CalicaMechMantisTonkkaTynnanMulysaSemproniusSorceDrZiplockvalhalla130
  • webguy20webguy20 I spend too much time on the Internet Registered User regular
    Always wanted to do the starlight express from LA to Seattle.

    Also there is a run from LA to Chicago that would be amazing.

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  • H0b0manH0b0man Registered User regular
    I never been on a train trip that lasted more than 4-5 hours, but one day I would love to do one of those long multi-day trips where I get my own little room to sleep in and there's a dining car and all that jazz.

    It just sounds like a real nice time.

    FFXIV: Agran Trask
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  • DepressperadoDepressperado I just wanted to see you laughing in the pizza rainRegistered User regular
    what would be really great is if we tried to solve global warming with global cooling and accidentally triggered an ice age and so all of us had to live on a train that circumnavigates the world.

    (wait is there a big- how do they cross the ocean? how do they keep going without ever servicing the tracks, are there no avalanches or even snowdrifts? THIS MOVIE IS FULL OF HOLES.)

  • SkeithSkeith Registered User regular
    The longest train ride I've been on was from Oakland to Seattle, one of the PAX trains. That was fun, being drunk most of the way up helped. Second longest was a bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto, probably the most relaxed bit of traveling I've ever done.

    aTBDrQE.jpg
  • JuggernutJuggernut Registered User regular
    edited October 2022
    The most trainisting I've ever done was when I took a train from Barcelona, Spain to Montserrat.

    This big ole mountain range right here

    2v6xxzp54um3.jpeg

    There's an ancient ass abbey up there and then you can follow this very steep and not at all safe footpath all the way to the top of Sant Jeroni at 1,236 meters up which was like, a grand total of 4,000+ meters above sea level.

    I severely sprained my ankle walking down the steps of my hostel on the way to the train station, hiked up this stupid mountain, ran out day light, managed to find my way back down with only my cellphone flashlight and then had to navigate the trains back to Barcelona. It was a ride down the mountain, a walk through these labyrinth like, almost eerily quiet streets of what I believe was Manresa to the next stop, where I sat alone on a bench under a single street lamp like in a Ghibli movie waiting for the train. I then rode back to Barcelona, people watching and not understanding a thing that was happening but enjoying the few but unique humans on board, got off at my stop and then hobbled a good mile or three back to my hostel. It was an extremely liminal experience. Just completely alone in a foreign country surrounded by entirely unfamiliar people and places and everybody just kind of ignoring you. I felt like a ghost. It was fun but also oddly melancholy.

    Anyway here's the inside of the abbey
    nrekmikf6s73.jpg

    7qbbubka9e48.jpg

    And here is the start of the path up. That rail is there to lure you into a false sense of security because it immediately disappears and then its just straight drops down gravely cliff faces good luck
    75spxa8cgy99.jpg

    Also here is a real horny goat I saw on the mountain trying to get goaty with a lady goat.
    v43ntkhswel8.jpg

    Juggernut on
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  • JuggernutJuggernut Registered User regular
  • The Cow KingThe Cow King a island Registered User regular
    The best trip I did was the last year of high school took the train to Montreal for a night then a good ole 22 hour train ride to Halifax

    This was before wifi so me and my mates played a couple good ass games of civ 4 on the D's and I was chosen to do the breakfast run in Moncton so considering it was 4 am and I coulda missed the train that place can fuck off

    The trip was good enough I convinced 4 buddies to take the 50% via rail deals we had and did a graduation trip to Montreal for such a big city it sure felt small but I loved it

    Shame even at half off the train ticket was still expensive was such a nice not 5 hour drive to get exactly where we were going

    I'd also go to Toronto a lot more if they just built the fucking go train out east Jesus Christ

    icGJy2C.png
  • Duke 2.0Duke 2.0 Time Trash Cat Registered User regular
    Great experiences visiting my sister in Japan back in 2016 and traveling from city to city with a variety of different scales of rail infrastructure. From rural tracks in small towns to taking a packed shinkansen through a big city. Locally there's plans for a maryland purple line that got a burst of construction work at the start of the pandemic that has since completely halted due to contractor weirdness. It would have been really nice for public transit between a buncha nice cities circling DC itself.

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  • sponospono Mining for Nose Diamonds Booger CoveRegistered User regular
    Hi, hello, how goes it

    I've been building light rail transit systems for the last decade or so

    Feel free to ask me anything about this specific type of choo choo

    640qocnq4ske.gif
    tynicBahamutZEROCelloThe Cow KingTynnanV1mLucedesElvenshaeCalicaKane Red RobeSkeithJedocDisruptedCapitalistLabelShadowhopeSorcevalhalla130
  • BahamutZEROBahamutZERO Registered User regular
    so how cool is light rail

    BahamutZERO.gif
  • MaddocMaddoc I'm Bobbin Threadbare, are you my mother? Registered User regular
    When I was a kid we used to visit my grandparents in Florida for awhile every summer, we live up near Boston

    Anyway mostly we would fly, but one year we had a family member who was afraid of flying so we took a train from Boston to Orlando

    It's like thirty hours or something, instead of like three by flying, so I distinctly remember all of the adults hating it and vowing to never do it again, but I still remember it and thought it was great, I'd love to take more long relaxing train rides

    Calica
  • SLyMSLyM Registered User regular
    trains are good.

    My friend is working on a roguelike game you can play if you want to. (It has free demo)
    Lucedes
  • Duke 2.0Duke 2.0 Time Trash Cat Registered User regular
    Even if the amtrak DC to NYC corridor is the most used in the country every time I look at the schedules for trains to/from Baltimore they are hours apart and stop running for the day annoyingly early

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  • The Cow KingThe Cow King a island Registered User regular
    spono wrote: »
    Hi, hello, how goes it

    I've been building light rail transit systems for the last decade or so

    Feel free to ask me anything about this specific type of choo choo

    Light rails kinda like trams right?

    I don't know and I'm still extremely mad that the electric rail hub of a city I live in sold out to cars

    A tram in downtown and our new bus lines? Yee sound dope!!

    icGJy2C.png
  • sponospono Mining for Nose Diamonds Booger CoveRegistered User regular
    so how cool is light rail

    It's p cool, could be cooler though. I'll see if there are any racing stripes or speed holes we can add to the trains

    spono wrote: »
    Hi, hello, how goes it

    I've been building light rail transit systems for the last decade or so

    Feel free to ask me anything about this specific type of choo choo

    Light rails kinda like trams right?

    I don't know and I'm still extremely mad that the electric rail hub of a city I live in sold out to cars

    A tram in downtown and our new bus lines? Yee sound dope!!

    Not totally sure what the difference would be between a light rail and a tram, but tram implies to me it covers a smaller area and maybe only one or two routes

    The one we're building now connects a bunch of different existing rail lines

    640qocnq4ske.gif
    The Cow King
  • SharpyVIISharpyVII Registered User regular
    Vienna has very good public transport.

    Fast, cheap and clean trains integrated into the airport which takes you right in to the city centre. Underground trains all over the city with hubs above ground for buses and trams.

    Everywhere easily accessible for a couple of Euro a day.

    Plus everyone was super friendly especially to our one year old son!

    Sorce
  • tynictynic PICNIC BADASS Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited October 2022
    Trams are usually run from overhead power lines, that's the main distinction. Number of routes isn't a factor.

    tynic on
    V1m
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