Paying homage to US rails on National Train Day.

Did you know trains have a national day of recognition? Me neither! Not until recently at least. Today, May 11th just so happens to be National Train Day. Huzzah! Cheers! Prost! Trains are certainly worth raising a glass to. Especially our rails here in the United States!

So, given that trains have been my most regular mode of transportation and source of content for Glass Duffle, I’m of course taking today to put all of those train-related-Glass-Duffle-goodies in one spot and also make one cool announcement that I’m super excited about.

First, the announcement…
On May 20th, Amtrak is going to be sponsoring a trip starting in San Diego and ending in Vancouver, BC where I will be making video and taking photos of the rail experience along the way! I’ll be stopping for a night in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle and two nights in Vancouver, BC before heading back to San Diego again with Amtrak, so if you live in any of those cities and are interested in meeting up, please let me know. I’m super thankful to Amtrak for hooking me up with this trip and I’m very geeked to start creating and showcase just how incredible our rail system is!

Now, the rails I’ve explored…

Paying homage to US rails on National Train Day.

Admiring views on the Zephyr.

The California Zephyr
I’ve been on the California Zephyr twice and each trip was equally impressive. The first ride from Denver to Sacramento was my first train experience during my travels and really set the tone for the following months. With snow in the Rockies, a beautiful sunrise in the desert and a clear, wintry day through the Sierra Nevadas, that first ride is still one of my favorite trips I’ve ever taken.

Not only was the scenery amazing, but I was also impressed by the eagerness of other passengers to talk and swap stories. I’ve never experienced anything like it.

The Texas Eagle
I had an interesting experience on the Texas Eagle which I took from Los Angeles out to Austin, TX for SXSW 2013. Sure, the ride was full of astounding views and your typically friendly passengers, but it was the Amtrak employees that made the trip worth it. After falling asleep in the observatory car somewhere in Texas, the cars were changed around and I was separated from my belongings and ended up on the rails headed for New Orleans… definitely NOT where I was supposed to be going.

Instead of saying “tough luck” like other transportation companies might have, the Amtrak employees actually had someone drive me out to meet my missed train before it got too far away to rectify the mistake. What service! Besides having a great customer service experience, I was able to link up with one Connor Meakin of HootSuite to work together on two videos.

First, a video recapping the trip and including one of the coolest people of all time: a reliable and kind lady who sells burritos for the extra cheap at one of the stops!

Secondly, a short interview featuring yours truly where I talk about my admiration for train travel.

The Pacific Surfliner
From San Diego to Los Angeles, the Pacific Surfliner is a short, cheap and pleasant trip that beats waiting in traffic by about a thousand. Where the California Zephyr’s best parts are the segments through the mountains and the Texas Eagle as it winds through the southwestern desert, the Pacific Surfliner is an homage to the beautiful California coast with the Pacific Ocean visible almost the entire trip.

While this video isn’t focused on that ride and includes clips from other train rides, there are a few shots of what you can expect on this west coast rail.

There are plenty of other great Amtrak rails in the United States. These three only scratch the surface. Keep an eye out in the coming weeks for content from the other west coast trails and hopefully at some point I will be able to bring you some visuals from rails on the east, north and other parts of the US!

Happy National Train Day!

Author: Eric White

Eric graduated Ohio University in 2012 with a degree in Advertising and immediately went out to San Diego, California to start not using his degree. At the start of 2013, Eric quit his job, let his lease run out and started backpacking North America. Eric has worked with Amtrak, Crowdtap, HootSuite and others, and currently lives in Los Angeles, CA... when not on the road.

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3 Comments

  1. Nicely written dude – this brought back some serious memories and makes me want to get back on the tracks asap!

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  2. Did you guys have any issue mounting the camera outside the train? I been thinking of getting something like this, and mount it on back of the Empire Builder and enjoy the trip!

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    • Thanks for reaching out again, Jay. Much appreciated. And it really just depends on the conductor and other employees… I’ve had some who flat out denied my request to mount the camera and others who were excited to help out. Just gotta say the right things to the right people really, ha!

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