I cannot read in the car, so a 4 hour train ride is a perfect chance to catch up on my reading. Particularly valuable during the holidays, so I can do homework and justify being drunk at Christmas.
2. A panoramic view of the Ontario landscape.
The train just makes everything much more romantic, I can spend whole journeys staring out the window and soaking it all in.
3. Creating classically stylish train riding outfits.
I feel like when I ride the train, I must be dressed either a) stupidly comfortably or (even better) b) like a 1940s film heroine. This goes hand in hand with my romantic notion of the landscape I’m running through. I feel like I ought to be carrying a vintage, hard cover suitcase (check) and wearing red lipstick. Today, I’m rocking a bow, a 50s style black and white polka dot dress, and Oxfords. Train Riding. Its an art.
4. Tom Waits is the perfect soundtrack.
I freaking love Mr. Waits, and I feel like he and I have both ridden a lot of trains. His music is fantastically dark and bizarre and wonderful and train inspired. Trust me. He wrote a song titled “Train Song”. FACT. Try it out. Listen to Rain Dogs next time you’re on the Quebec-Windsor corridor and TRY to refute me.
My #1 favourite aspect of the train is stopping in or pulling through tiny little dead end towns with broken down pickups by the tracks and mom-and-pop restaurants with faded signs and peeling paint. This is very much in conjunction with #4, but still. I feel inspired to write some of my darker short stories on these journeys simply because of these towns. One day, I want to get off there and stop by one of those little fading bars for a pint of stale beer while listening to Patsy Cline. Cause that’s what goes down there.
Rolling into a place like Brockville where the kids have become accustomed to the thunder of trains coming in, one of my favourite things is to see them parked by the tracks on their bikes, waving at the train. I always wave back. I love the eternal fascination these machines have for them.
7. Train Horns
My dad mentioned this when I was pulling out of Kingston last week, he said “I’ve always loved the sound of train horns. I don’t know why”. I never thought about how familiar that sound is to me, you hear it on summer nights when you’re a kid and you’re lying in bed even though the sun is still up. You hear it in the morning in the cold of winter and you’re afraid to put your feet down on the cold floor. I think the sound of the horn is one of those small continuities that follow you through every change in your life. That horn never changes.
That feeling you get in your heart and your stomach when you finally get close to your destination. I love that your body knows where you are, its this intrinsic gut reaction.
9. Rain on the windows.
Rain is amazing on the train, because it can’t touch you but you’re in the middle of it. Watching it streak down the windows and blur the landscape is something I feel ought to be painted. Do you have artistic talent? MAKE THIS HAPPEN.
10. The Arrivals board.
Getting off the train and seeing your loved one there waiting for you is just…the best feeling in the world. It’s like knowing that they were so anxious to have you in their arms again that they had to be RIGHT THERE the second you disembarked. I love that. I think Love must have been invented in the Arrival section of a train station. I know it wasn’t, but it ought to have been.