I grew up on trains. I also grew up expecting my government to act in a sensible manner. I do not wish for mandated taxes to see the agenda of the current administration advance. AMTRAK hinting of a rail route through Chattanooga seems flighty at best. Our federal government subsidizes AMTRAK so they are all for it.
Nonetheless, it may happen, if only to advance Democrat’s Green New Deal. For all the wrong reasons, rail service to Chattanooga is a possibility. The local cost will be very high. All railbeds will have to be repaired or replaced; new right-of-ways established; court fights over use of eminent domain and much more. The tax increase to Chattanoogans and those living in Hamilton County will be staggering, and Biden will be out of office by the time the first ticket is punched. And yet….
Wouldn’t it be nice to take a vacation relaxing both ways; sleeping in a gently rocking berth, awakening to a china and linen breakfast in the dining car. As a youth, every trip down to Atlanta to see my maternal grandparents, the train would stop at the same siding in Kentucky and invariably Jack Benny would be on black-and-white TV inside this home next to the tracks. When The Tonight Show was over, my brothers and I knew it was time to retire.
I have so many wonderful memories about trains, whether a ticketed passenger as a kid or hopping freights as a teen, trains have always held the most romantic memories of my early years. But then the DC-6 and -7 put an end to all that romance, yet started a new romance with flight.
I don’t want anyone’s direct or indirect taxes to go up just for me to relive my youth. But it would be nice to have train routes out of Chattanooga to points South to Atlanta and Florida, West to the coast and the Pacific Northeast, and dare I say, even to Mexico. Five years ago, I made a journey to the West Coast and flew Delta to Seattle to see my eldest brother, then took AMTRAK south to see my youngest brother in San Francisco, along the Pacific coast and had a memorable 24-hour rail escape, relishing the ocean on one side and mountains on the other. Regardless of the diametric political differences with kin, the journey was what I remember most.
AMTRAK is dangling a carrot in front of Chattanooga. Just remember folks, it won’t be free and it won’t be immediate. I’m retired now and transonic itineraries are not of vital importance any longer. Almost three subsequent generations of Americans have never experienced this slower pace of travel and have missed something special. Just like on a cruise ship, it’s the journey, not just the destination that is worthy of appreciation.