One of the reasons we chose Williamsburg, VA as our retirement/downsizing home was the availability of public transportation both within our community and connecting to places we might want to go. Our daughter and her family live in Pasadena, MD, not far from Baltimore-Washington Airport. So, we were happy to find that we could travel to and from the airport via Amtrak.
In our first year living here, my husband had taken the train from Richmond to High Point in order to meet me in Winston-Salem, but we hadn’t yet traveled from MD to Williamsburg on the train—usually there are two of us and the dog and driving makes more sense.
But last weekend, my husband’s week’s visit in MD ended on Thursday as he headed for a horse show in Asheville, NC and I elected to take the train home Friday night so that I could babysit the granddaughters Thursday and Friday. My daughter dropped me off at the station and I learned the train was running ten minutes late. It was a pleasant afternoon so I went upstairs to cross the tracks and back down to await my train. During my brief wait two or three MART trains sped by as well as Amtrack’s Acela High Speed Train. A few minutes before its expected arrival time, my train pulled into the station. I was surprised to see it was electric. I boarded and found an aisle seat in a well filled car. The train departed post haste and I checked out the Café Car menu, the wide, comfortable leather seat and bright reading light. It seemed only a short while until we were pulling into Union Station in Washington DC. Several people detrained in DC and I moved to a window seat. There we had a brief stopover to change from electric to diesel. I was able to see the Capital Dome and a few other DC landmarks.
I read my book, a legal thriller, A Silent Tide by William Johnson, visited the rest room and entered the café Car to buy a giant cookie. We stopped in Ashland where I could see alfresco diners and quaint shops near the track. I saw a few people in lawn chairs facing the train. Were we there evening entertainment?
In short order, we pulled into Staples Mill and then downtown Richmond Stations before turning east toward Williamsburg.
So with no hassle, no traffic, I made the trip in 4 and a half hours. I love trains even when they take forever and are frequently sidelined by fast freight. But the Northeast Limited was truly a joy. I look forward to more time on the train.
Susan Williamson is the author of the soon to be re- released thriller, Desert Tail and its sequel, coming soon, Tangled Tail as well as the mystery, Dead on the Trail. A children’s book, The Riding Lesson, will be out this fall.