Travel by Train – Stop or Station?

Union Station, Los Angeles, CA
Train travel is probably my favorite. I sometimes consider the logistics of ditching the truck and trailer and moving around exclusively by train. Of course, then there are Mr. Cuddles and Mrs. Susie; having to rent a place if there are no friends or relatives to stay with; cooking meals, etc. So for now, our primary means of living and traveling are the truck and trailer.
Some of the things I love about the train are: lots of legroom. Usually plugins at every seat (on long distance Amtrak trains). The observation car. Sleeping while moving. Not having to stop and use the restroom. Or eat. Working, reading, watching movies or just looking out the window without having to watch the road. Naturally, there are the occasional disadvantages: noisy children (or adults), sick travelers (get on healthy, get off sick after enduring hours of co-passengers’ coughing and sneezing). Luckily, our experience with that has been rare, and since my son and I travel together, we are seatmates and don’t have to worry about sitting next to strangers.
Lamy, NM – a stop
Waiting for the train is not too bad either. At least at Union Station. There is decent seating, decent food choices and a newsstand. Down the tracks, however, can be a different story. Many stops do not feature the comforts of a station. Some stops are in the middle of town, almost just like a bus stop. Not too bad if the weather is okay. Not great in bad weather. Especially if the train is late, or you are very early. Other stops are quite a different story. For years, we took the train from Williams, AZ, “Gateway to the Grand Canyon“. Not only no station, but the stop is in the middle of nowhere. Outside of town. In the woods. On a dirt road! Exciting, huh? Having now spooked you, I will relieve your fears. Williams also hosts the Grand Canyon Railway, which owns a major hotel in town. Amtrak contracts with the hotel to pick up and drop off its passengers at the stop. So if you are getting on or off the train in Williams, never fear, your bus or van driver will get you to the train, or pick you up and take you to the hotel, from where you may retrieve your car or make other transportation arrangements (have someone pick you up) in comfort. 
Trinidad, CO – stop
So when you are making your train travel plans, keep in mind where you will be boarding or disembarking. Is it a stop or a station? A stop will be on the side of the tracks with no amenities except maybe a parking lot. Make sure you know whether you can walk to where you need to go, or somewhere you can wait indoors, or have someone waiting to pick you up. A station will have many amenities, including a waiting room, seating, bathrooms, ticket counter and maybe even food. At least you will be out of the elements if you have to wait and you may even be able to rent a car or take public transportation from there to wherever you’re headed next.
Albuquerque, NM – station
If you’ve never taken the train, give it a try. Maybe we’ll meet up with you on our next train adventure!

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