Recognizing Big Wheels – #1LinerWeds #JusJoJan

I’m thinking about trains this week. There have been several articles in our local papers about how the relatively new Connecticut Railroad’s Hartford Line has exceeded expectations and reached the One Million Passenger mark well ahead of schedule. I like this train, and I’m thinking about taking a ride just for the fun of it.

Our options for rail travel now include, taking the Hartford Line to New Haven and transferring to Metro North (commuter railway) into New York City’s Grand Central Terminal. We can also transfer to AMTRAK in New Haven with service into New York’s Penn Station. Of course, I can take AMTRAK right from our town to New York or anywhere along the Northeast Corridor. I have taken AMTRAK, numerous times, to New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

Note: I could take AMTRAK to Boston from New Haven, but the trip would be over an hour longer each way than driving.

I found an AMTRAK one-liner in my drafts folder, and I just had to laugh. This is an announcement the conductor makes at every major station.

“This is AMTRAK 141. This is NOT the Acela”

Check out the gallery to see why it should be unlikely for anyone who paid more to ride the Acela, to be stepping onto a Metroliner. Also, once inside, the Acela resembles a modern single-aisle passenger jet while the Metroliner looks like a 50-year-old train. Still, I have seen people scurry to the doors when the conductor makes that announcement.

This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s fun weekly series One-Liner Wednesday. And, given the time of the year, it’s also part of Just-Jot-January. If you have a one-liner, I’d encourage you to join in on the fun. You can follow this link to participate and to see the one-liners from the other participants.


  1. I miss trains. Growing up in Jersey it was a common form of transportation and even if you didn’t ride them, you saw them, heard them and passed their lovely old stations everywhere. Maine is sadly bereft of trains.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. You make me want to do a long train ride, Dan. Back in the early 90’s I traveled from Washington DC to Seattle (and back) via Amtrak and had a blast. I have also crossed the country via Greyhound bus a couple of times and the train was definitely an upgrade. Back then, people actually talked to each other to pass the time as they gazed at the passing scenery–now I suspect that the heads of all the people are buried in their electronic devices.

    I must say that you confused me with the title of your posting. When I read “Big Wheels,” I immediately anticipated a certain kind of tricycle. My second thought was that you would be posting on a riverboat–think of Proud Mary’s “Big wheels keep on turning…” It’s funny how a word combination can bring forth such different mental images. :)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve thought about taking a trip on a train, at least once in my lifetime, except I have to drive down to Milwaukee or Chicago to get on one. It’s great that you have local train service to New York, D.C., etc. so that you can feed one of your passions once in awhile. And get a cup of Dunkin’ to boot. Have a great day, Dan!

    Liked by 1 person

      • When I retire, I have aspirations to throw the bike into the back of the car and drive to Virginia, hitting bike trails and any sites of note along the way. What I would love to do, though, is ride a winter train in Canada. I think that would be beautiful.


    • I am so happy they added this rail service for us. We always had AMTRAK, but it was an expensive option within the state. I can take the train to Hartford or Springfield for about $2. I’ve taken it to Hartford to visit my buddy. $2 is less than an hours worth of parking.


  4. I like this conductor and his funny one-liner! I’ve only been on a train twice in my life, from White Plains, NY to NYC. But I love watching trains go by and counting the cars, and hearing their screechy whistles. There’s something definitely magical about a train.

    Really like those foggy photos!

    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Ginger. The town just south of us is trying to eliminate the whistles! I would be very sad if they tried this in our town. I don’t think they will, as we have a much more active grade-level crossing. I hear the whistle every morning while sitting on the couch with Maddie and I like it.


  5. Trains are really the only civilized way to travel. You can read. You can go to the dining car and get food whenever you’re hungry. But the most important advantage is this–you can actually get up and stretch your legs any time you want. Every other kind of travel is something like a prison. Strap yourself in and make sure you stay there. You can go use the toilet as long as you don’t do it too often.

    But not on trains. I can take a walk from one end to the other just because I feel like it. Trains rock. : )

    Liked by 1 person

    • AMTRAK has a lot of wonderful plans. The problem? CONGRESS. Someday, the bozos in Washington are going to realize that people will use trains if they are reliable and go where people want to go. I’ve talked to people riding the Hartford Line, and they say they’ve been waiting forever for the opportunity. The state made a deal with AMTRAK, and it’s worked out better than anyone thought it would. They are talking about extending it north to Amherst. If they did that, I could take my bike on the train, get off and be on a rail-trail within minutes. I would do that often.


  6. I loved the New Haven line when I lived in Darian Connecticut. It was the best way to the City. Although I had an office in Norwalk there were times I had meetings in NYC so I always took the train on those occasions. As far as Washington and Boston were concerned I flew. (Shuttle to Boston was a regular trip) Thanks for more trains, Dan

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks John. Since I always had to travel to DC the day before our meetings, I would always take the train. Door-to-door, I could save two hours by flying, if everything went right, but one hiccup and I could lose those hours in a heartbeat. I would get the early train here in town, which was straight through to DC in 7 hours. Get coffee, sit down, plug in, connect and relax. I cannot get to Boston by rail. I have to go to New Haven and then wait for a train to Boston. The trains are timed on the assumption that I’m going to NYC, so I end up with a layover in New Haven on both ends. I can drive to Boston in 1:45 unless during rush hour (when, as they say in New England, you can’t get there, from here).

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I haven’t ridden on a train for a very long time, Dan. In the US, it would have been when I was growing up in Omaha and we sometimes took the train to San Francisco to visit my grandparents nearby. In recent years, when my s-i-l and b-i-l lived in Provence, I would fly into Paris and then take the TGV to Avignon. My b-i-l and I also took at train from Frankfurt when our flight to Basel was canceled.

    When I saw “big wheels” and Connecticut, I thought maybe you were going to talk about Tom Brady and his move there. :-)


    Liked by 1 person

  8. We are the end of the line for our AMTRAK trains (the southernmost point the Pacific Surfliner service goes). It’s a beautiful ride up and down the coast, especially when sitting on the ocean side of the train. Recently, though, we had some serious cliff erosion (imagine those trains rumbling along the fragile cliffs 26 times a day – 13 round trips) which prompted disruption of the service while they made repairs. Supposedly it’s “fixed” but I’m not sure I’d want to test it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Funny. At the same time it seems like the sort of thing I’d do — I can get remarkably discombobulated while traveling so ending up on a train so obviously wrong isn’t out of the question. 😆

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Dan – most of our trains need a new life-line – but the really touristy or city to city ones are a delight … just not many down here – but at least I can get to London on a ‘crummy’ train … they work and that’s the main thing. I’ve got in the wrong bit of the train, as ours splits half way down and one assumes that the part that goes to Eastbourne will be always in the same place – no! So I ended up having to backtrack half way – I was unimpressed … but life goes on! Cheers and enjoy your selected travels – which you can do now … that looks mighty cold. Cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Hilary. If I’m not in a hurry, I will skip the express train into NYC in favor of the local, simply because I know it will be less crowded. I’ve been riding in a nearly empty car in the local, and have been passed by an express train that is standing room only. The difference is only about 12-15 minutes on a nearly 2-hour trip. They are the older, crummy trains, but I’m not squished.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I was on Amtrak once but, because I was alone, I was sitting on the lower level going from Tennessee to Denver. It wasn’t all that pleasant a ride. I would like to travel by train but on the upper level where I could see something when looking out the window. A cross-country journey would be good.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I use to take the Amtrak “Pacific Surfline” all the time from north San Diego to Los Angeles. The other choice is Metrolink serving LA metro area (only came down to Oceanside in San Diego County)….it never ceases to amaze me how many options there are in the Northeast corridor. Whenever I would travel to New York on business and then would need to go up to Boston to work with that group…I ended up just renting a car as it seemed the quickest way to do that commute. Love the pictures…love the fog on the bridge!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have driven into NYC, only when circumstances required it, Kirt. I routinely drove to Boston, but if I could get a train, I’d take it. Boston trsffic is nuts. I image San Diego to LA is not a pleasant drive. I’m glad you like the bridge picture.

      Liked by 1 person

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