My first time on a sleeper train, the conductor made an announcement about the wifi being out with the addendum, “Of course, the only WWW you really need is the wide world outside your window,” which is a pretty astonishing thing to get to have heard in real life. Later that same day, an older man turned to me in the observation car and said, “Do you know what’s going by right now? America’s backyard,” and I welled up a little bit.
I was once on a small one-carriage train on a tiny branch line in the English countryside which came to a sudden and unexpected halt. The driver emerged from his cabin and announced there was a tree on the line. He asked for a volunteer to be safety monitor and my arm shot up so fast and high it almost came out of its socket. I got to stand at the front by the open door making sure none of the passengers got out. There is a photo somewhere of me in my full length 1970s orange Hawaiian muumuu looking as pleased as punch. Wouldn’t get that on a plane!
A plane can be flatly blocked from its destination; it can be sent back whence it came. If a train can't get you all the way, it will at least get you closer.
Great piece, and I’m not just saying that because a mysterious blonde once taught me my favorite card game on a train.
For train movie entertainment, I adore Twentieth Century.