Updated: Space Ark

October 2nd, 2006  |  Published in etc  |  2 Comments

sl_family_diagram.gifSister-in-Law Jennifer just had Baby Jack, so a family trip down to California is under consideration.

Because my recent trip east involved 90 minutes on an actual Amtrak train from Connecticut to Newark, I got bit by the train bug again. One thing I’ve never indulged in, though, is a trip in a sleeper berth. The longest train ride I’ve ever been on was from Chicago to Houston, but we just sat in coach seats. “From Russia with Love” and a number of other “people going around in a sleeper car” media representations are the closest I’ve ever come.

So a quick look at the sleeper options on the Amtrak page netted me that diagram of a family sleeper car and I’m completely convinced that we NEED to make at least one leg of some trip somewhere that way. Turndown service and bottled water. In a train where no one can ass you except your own family!


How quickly I forget! I have been in sleeper car before! The winter of 1986-1987, I went on a trip to Europe and the USSR, and we had sleeper berths in the train our group took from Finland to Leningrad.

There was this hilarious moment where the ticket guy came through wanting to see our passports, but he didn’t speak English so he just mimed opening a little book. One of the girls in our group flipped out because she thought he was demanding we produce Bibles for confiscation. She was so cowed and terrified by the Red Atheist Menace that she meekly handed over the most Bible-like book she had, which was a book of daily devotions. That caused a lot of confusion.

See also, which is why it’s especially funny I forgot I’d been on a sleeper car, my recent comment over on UO about disco madness in pre-breakup Moscow.


  1. gl. says:

    October 2nd, 2006 at 11:09 am (#)

    oo, oo, oo, yes! amtrack sleeper cars are expensive, but worth trying at least once. :)

    although if you have issues w/ classism, this will trigger them: when i travelled to california on a train, we were considered “first class,” with a special waiting lounge & a private observation room w/ wine & cheese tastings and other snacks all day long.

  2. mph says:

    October 2nd, 2006 at 12:38 pm (#)

    Wow. Wine & cheese tastings!?

    I don’t think I’ve ever been in “first class” for anything, so that’d be weird for me if they really do it up extra special.

    I was kind of amused that my “executive class” trip from CT to NJ involved being in a car that was forward of the dining car so we were protected from the commoners back in coach.

    Maybe this is something to save, too. I don’t think Ben’s old enough to really dig how unbearably cool such a trip would be. He might even think it was weird and disturbing in the actual sleeper room considering the duration.

    I was nine when mom and I went from Chicago to Houston, and I loved it, even if we were in coach seats instead of a sleeper berth. I was able to get up and walk around, I had a new wind-up robot toy I could play with in the aisles, and the dining car struck me as the awesomest thing ever.

Leave a Response

© Michael Hall, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States license.