Time to tell the second part in our Planes, Trains and Automobiles story!
Not long ago, I published the first half my Planes, Trains and Automobiles adventure that I experienced with my wife Brittany. I have been on many types of trains through my years (miniature, Christmas, rollercoaster, light rail, even stepped on a Lego train by accident once), but never on an 18hr overnight trip in my own little suite — I was stoked!
I ended my previous story with a great cliffhanger… our odd, yet interesting, little toilet in the very small roomette. I know that you all have been waiting to hear more about it, so I won’t keep you waiting.
THE SINK / TOILET COMBO IN OUR AMTRAK ROOMETTE
The red part up top is the sink. It pulls down and reveals the sink. The gray part below, you lift up and have a toilet.
The top part folds down as a sink.
Before booking the train tickets, I read that there was a toilet in the room. I also saw the size of the room. I didn’t know how it would be possible, but those engineers have some talent. The sink you unlock from the wall and it easily folds down. It can be a little weird to use since the bowl fills up, and the water drains from those holes in the back, when you are folding the sink back up. So, if you have too much water in there, and you are on some bumpy track… good times.
The specifications and lay out of our Amtrak Silverliner Roomette – Image: Amtak
I don’t want to give TMI (Too Much Information), but I feel that I need to tell you a little more about this toilet before moving on. The room has windows to the hallway, and there are thick curtains, with magnets, to give you privacy. Visually at least. I mean, the toilet is along the hallway wall and people are walking by you, so the whole thing is just… well… unique. Doable, but unique. There are also other toilets available (some which offer showers), so there are other options. Okay, I promise that is the last time that I will mention the toilet.
Let’s get back on track (Get it? Track. I get to use train puns instead of airplane ones)…
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Crazy times require crazy measures. There’s only so many stories about airplanes we can write at a time when few of us are actually flying. So how about something completely different?
In last year’s April Fools’ Day post titled “Reporter Empire,” our fearless leader David Parker Brown floated the idea of side projects like TrainReporter, ShipReporter, and CatReporter. Sadly I don’t have a cat. And going on a cruise ship seems like a really bad idea right now. But I did get to ride a pretty cool train a few months ago: Morocco’s new Al Boraq high-speed line — the first-ever bullet train on the African continent.
We never left the ground, but writing this story I was surprised how much my train trip report had in common with our usual flight stories. So choo choo, AvGeeks and TrainGeeks alike! Read on for some thoughts, photos, and videos from my 186-mile-per-hour run on the Al Boraq bullet train.
Below ground, one of the trains arrives at SEA
The Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) has been my home airport most of my life. I have seen the many changes over the years and I am proud to call it mine. Growing up, I lived in Oak Harbor, WA (about 90min northwest of Seattle) and I would often fly by myself from there to Reno, NV (where my dad lived). After I was 12, I didn’t need to be escorted and I would usually have a few hours of layover from my tiny home airport (ODW) to SEA. To burn time, I would often ride one of the satellite trains to the remote terminals and watch the airplanes come and go. Being a kid, sometimes I would just ride the train a few laps for fun.
Above ground, Mount Rainier in the background at SEA
Throughout the years, I always wondered how they worked. I knew there wasn’t a person controlling them, but how were they programmed? How many cars were there? How did they get fixed? And how fast can they go? Luckily adult-me was in a position to find those answers, so I reached out to SEA to get a behind-the-scenes tour of their train operations. Once again, the adult-me was making the child-me jealous.