I'm in this blog repeatedly complained about the fact that in America there is no normal passenger railways. But this is not true - from former luxury mid XX century still left some amazing pieces. And I was lucky enough to recently is one such use, when I drove 850 kilometers of one of the few countries sleeping train - California Zephyr.
This route connects the Chicago suburb of San Francisco, the train does a distance greater than two days. I spent on it ten hours, but this is enough to get an idea that how to work today passenger railways long-distance in the United States.
one.Our rail journey begins in the city of Omaha, Nebraska, in a nondescript building of the local station. Once in the city there were two luxury train station, there are many passenger trains passed daily. But this modest little room in the building, more like a utility room, all that remains from those times. Today city passes through only two trains per day (one in each direction). Both of them are at night, so that even this tiny room is open only from 21:30 to 6:30. According to the schedule, our train should arrive at 23:05. He delayed.
2. This guy came to Nebraska with the same goal as we do - to listen to the wisdom of Warren Buffett. He goes to the east, and the train will be here only at 5 am, so you can take a nap while.
3. Before we station catering Nebraska: three machines, one with soda, the other chips, the third - with coffee. Gourmets here not roam.
4. The train arrives at the station at half past eleven. In the room where waiting passengers (we have about 15 people) comes to a railway employee, and checks all the tickets before the release of people on the platform.
5. In this table reflects the good condition of the passenger rail system.
6. Here it is, a modest platform once popular railroad town. Most of the double-decker passenger cars - tunnels and bridges American w / w calculated on such dimensions.
7. The cars are covered with chrome-plated iron, branding only national carrier Amtrak (something like the American version of Russian Railways) printed on them with paint.
8. How much do I travel on the trains, and I see this for the first time. Stop the locomotive run by diesel. The majority of American Railroads are not electrified, and nearly all locomotives pulling the train. It seems in this case, is charged directly from the tank of the truck, perhaps no other infrastructure to refuel there is not (and what if only two ended in a day passes ?!)
9. The only single-storey part of the train is a locomotive and baggage car. It is almost empty. From the railway personnel on the platform can be seen just two people: a man who was checking tickets, and a woman of about 55. They have something to check and discuss with each other, but ask passengers until seated.
It turns out that our cars in the composition of the tail, which has not yet entered the platform. Station platform is too short, and while the locomotive is charged, the latest cars are abroad. We suggest waiting until the end refueling, and then they promoted composition forward, and we will be able to sit down.
10. But in the end came up with a more elegant solution - we were put in one of the first cars, and there we were inside Let's go to their seats. Landing at stations with low platforms at in conductors have special stool.
11. Go inside and go through the cars to his compartment. The passages here pretty close.
12. Here it must be said that on this route there are three different formats sleeping compartments. From left to right is "Roomette" (small room), "Family bedroom" (a family room) and "Superliner bedroom" (superliner bedroom - is the name of this type of passenger cars). The latest version of the compartment has a toilet and shower.
But we are with a friend booked the smallest (and it is the most cheap). However, the other at the time of our purchase tickets was no more.
13. The luggage compartment, for those who do not want to keep the suitcases in his compartment. (Or, if they do not fit there.)
14. Our little room on the second floor. Climb up the narrow stairs. It seems that even in the double-decker aircraft stairs spacious!
"You are the way you want the top or bottom shelf," I asked to go.
"I do not care - choose himself."
"Then I'll take the top," then I played my childhood memories of journeys in a sleeping car with my parents across the expanses of the USSR. Stare out the window at the vast expanse of our Soviet homeland from the top shelf on the way from Moscow to the Baltic States - that's what I loved our long summer vacation
15. And now our compartment. While the coupe for this - a very big word. "Small room" fits much better. Since it's almost midnight, waiting for us to spread out the shelf ready bed.
16. My, top, as it turned out, undoubtedly the worst of the two. If the Russian compartment all shelves identical at least in size, the Americans have done without this equality. Man sleeping upstairs, forced to crowd on a narrow bed with no windows.
17. A space between the shelves and the ceiling is not enough even to sit up. Yes there to sit, when you lie on your back, the hand can not be stupid to straighten up, rests on the roof of the car.
18. On the lower level there is a socket.
19. And my top pet only here in this pocket. I put there glasses and mobile phone.
20. More side top shelf has special straps that cling to the ceiling, to a passenger on the top shelf fell off her in a dream. (By the way the car at night reeling badly, so maybe this thing is more necessary than it sounds.) Be that as it may, the top shelf there is clearly contraindicated for people with claustrophobia.
21. Looked like there my friend feels on the bottom shelf. He's got plenty of room, and there is also a window. Well, what to do, then I blame myself, chose the top shelf.
22. The coupe has a larger bathroom with a shower, and we have to use the facilities "on the floor". Although it is possible to go down and down - there are toilets on both levels, our carriage. In general, a good, clean toilet - something even reminds san site in tiny Japanese apartment.
23. Each car even have a shower!
24. Immersed I fell asleep pretty quickly on the train - was very tired. But the next morning I had the opportunity to examine our little room in the "day" configuration. In general, it consists of two like these chairs opposite each other. To the left of the chair in the photo - pristupochka, to climb to the top bunk. Armchair pristupochka yes - this is the width of our little room.
25. The spaces between the two chairs also not so very much. In general, little room size - about one meter by two.
26. A small table is pulled out of the window sill. Passengers are offered complimentary bottled water.
27. If you go out into the corridor, then there should a can of hot coffee.
28. Ever since the morning offering orange juice. Pour myself.
29. I woke up quite early, a few hours before arrival, and went to roam the wagons. The passages here are very narrow.
30. I found the restaurant car. But, as it turned out, I came before the opening - I was told that they are up to half of the seventh did not work, but I can pass on, and there is the other side of the car center with panoramic windows.
31. And here he is. There is really a lot of windows, seats with tables, you can spend time chatting with other passengers. But as still very early, anybody else yet.
32. The second half of this wagon filled armchairs which are directed to the windows.
33. Between them small tables. You can then relax with a cocktail while the window proceed the American landscape.
34. Incidentally, I came just in time for sunrise. Beauty! I love Dawn.
35. Outside the window, though there is nothing - some flat plains.
36. Sometimes it will fly any village, but in general is nothing to look at.
"There is now nothing will be interesting," said the passenger approached. "Nebraska and eastern Colorado - they are flat as a sheet of plywood, but do not worry -. A couple of hours we will arrive in Denver Denver trap But begin mountains We've got great dramatic scenery Few places in the world you see this.!.."
"Thank you," I replied. "I just go out in Denver, but be sure to remember for the future."
37. I then went on to explore the train. Last train composition sedentary. Here go the passengers who have not so far - or who decide to save. These tickets are much cheaper beds.
38. spacious chairs, comfortable, with reclining backrest. The only thing that, in the middle of no armrests. If the wagon is scored, and next to you sits a stranger, armrest would have been very handy.
39. Dogulyal to 6:30, and one of the first returned to the dining car for breakfast. For passengers in sleeping areas, all food is included in the ticket price.
40. As for breakfast collected all the passengers, tables compacted, and hoisted me three more people. All of them were of retirement age, railway enthusiasts - such contingent now goes to the US long-distance trains (because aircraft fly faster and often cheaper). For breakfast chose scrambled eggs with bacon. It was quite bearable.
41. While I ate, I saw the truck outside of Amazon, probably carrying some Chinese goods to customers in the American heartland.
42. After breakfast, I went back to the salon, where people increased markedly.
43. Yes, the trains ride very colorful characters in the United States. They idly sitting in a chair, watching the scenery fly past. Many travel to San Francisco, where the train will come only at 16:00 the next day.
44. The most interesting from the outside - it's different stuff of local car industry, which, judging by the mind for a long time does not go anywhere. Broken trucks ...
45. ... trailers, motorhomes, and sports roudstery.
46. Outside the window flashed a magnificent water tower. A far appeared snow-capped Rocky Mountains. Looking at them, I realized that we drove to Denver.
47. On the outskirts of the city there are some steep industrial pieces. What is it? Some kind of power? Plants? As one would say my colleagues-programmers, "It's a hardware problem"
48. Here and entered the city limits.
49. We went to the train station in Denver. He, like many other stations of the country, called "Union Station". By the way, it is in much better shape than the stations in Nebraska. Its recently renovated, but the main building is still used for its intended purpose. If you want, then tell you about it.
50. The last thing I noticed is how men with long brooms began to wash the windows of our train. He in fact still one and a half days to go!
Long trips sleeper train - a pleasure not cheap. Here we paid $ 300 for two people for one night in a tiny out of the compartment. And if you go all the way from Chicago to California, and even more in the compartment, it can cost a couple of thousand.
But on the other hand, few people traveled to such a distance by train just to get from point A to point B. It is much more convenient (and cheaper) to do on the plane. But there crossings kind of romance, so I'm very happy to have experienced sleeping train American. And now I think about how to pass it on to the west of Denver, the Rocky Mountains.