Come on ride the train!

Come on ride the train, you can ride it….

 

On the heels of an announcement to cut 200 jobs, I’m on the Canadian on my way back to Winnipeg from a conference in Montreal. I’m not going to go into the detail on how I ended up taking the train instead of flying, but this experience has opened my eyes to this underused gem.

I’ve taken the train from Thompson to Churchill, but this is totally different. A coach class on the Churchill route vs. a sleeper class on the Canadian. I write this as I am off the net, as I have no cellphone connectivity, as I am able to enjoy the experience. Marvel at the country we call Canada, Indulge in amazing food, and meet amazing people. And why has this not been experienced before? Not be me, not by others? Because our society demands that every second be accountable, every second be productive. How can you justify a 35 hour train ride vs a 2.5 hr flight? How indeed. No waiting at long security lineups. 2 bags? No problem. Oh you have 3? That’s no problem either. Time to relax and mentally recharge. Time to focus. To be honest, If I’m comparing a 10 pm flight vs. a 10 pm train, the difference is one day. A 10 pm flight from Toronto puts me in my bed around 1am. I either take the morning off or have a completely unproductive day. A 10pm train puts me in my office a day later, but well rested and ready to be productive. Worth it? I think so.

And my footprint is smaller. Much, much smaller. There are so many benefits to the train, yet so few realize them. Perhaps instead of cost cutting by laying off staff, the question should be one of revenue generation. How do you get people to see the benefits? How do you get to the place where you have the demand to expand instead of contract routes? I don’t know, but layoffs and cost cutting won’t get you there.

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One thought on “Come on ride the train!

  1. Man, what I timely post. I had trains on the brain before reading your blog.

    I walked to Grant Memorial yesterday, to pick my kids up from VBS. I got caught on the Taylor/Waverly side of the train tracks, waiting for a passenger train to go by. Car after car whizzed by me, and it occurred to me that outside of travelling in Europe, I’ve never utilized VIA Rail here in Canada, and briefly pondered what it would be like to opt for that mode of transport, in lieu of flying, which I do frequently. By the time the train finished roaring past, and the clanging of the bells stopped when the arms lifted, I was dismayed by how neglected rail (especially high speed commuter rail) is in Canada, and how awesome it would be to see a more European focus on rail travel (and higher speeds) in the future.

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