• Robert Couse-Baker

I was pondering why Amtrak sucks so badly this morning on the Megabus between Indianapolis and Chicago. The musing was inspired by an instance, just this very morning, of Amtrak sucking, and quite badly, though that particular lesson has always proved slippery to me: long-distance train travel always seems like such a great idea, though one whose execution never looks the way you want it to. You buy tickets with high hopes, and somehow you never adjust your expectations no matter how often those hopes are dashed. Or, as Trains magazine editor Jim Wrinn told the Washington Post last year, “There’s this promise of a really nice ride and experience, but it’s really not there.” Or, as my boyfriend put it this morning—well, I can’t remember, because it was so early in the morning that the train was scheduled to arrive, and so early in the morning when it failed to show. His observation was pithy, anyway, and similar to Wrinn’s. I ended up taking the Megabus out of duress when really it should’ve been the only option; Megabus is nothing if not reliable.