Monday, February 6, 2017

All Aboard! Victorian Train Travel

Our give-away continues, added options for your chance to win a DVD of BBC's Victoria Season 1.
Anne Here. Riding the rails is one of my all time favorite ways to travel. How many readers have taken the train while traveling? For me, it reminds me of a period of time in our country when the world was opened and connected. I've taken the train to the Oregon coast, east to Lancaster, PA, and north to Wisconsin. In Europe, I rode the train across East Germany to Berlin in 1988.


While sitting in my seat in Chicago's Union Station a few years ago on my way to visit Jaime, I stared at some vintage old cars stored at the station. Trains were fancier then. So why don't we ride the rails like Europe does, and like we used to? There are lots of reasons why, mostly economic reasons. Just as the housing bubble popped, the train industry once popped as an industry. And as roads and automobiles improved, many tracks that criss-crossed our nation were sadly abandoned.

But in the days before the train industry crashed, as America was settled, goods were transported increasingly to unreached areas through main rail arteries that fed smaller communities and incredible numbers of short tracks. The debut story I have coming out this summer evolves around a resort community in northern Michigan. The trains that fed the region were better than the roads for decades. Those who visited northern Michigan's lake shores for vacation often came by train or steamers.

It was the railroads that seized the economic boon that resort towns might offer if they advertised passenger trains to the regions. Newspapers in midwestern cities ran advertisements from Detroit to Chicago and other larger cities.


With the view of Lake Michigan on one side and cottages on the other side, it was the perfect family vacation! Many families spent the entire summer there. 



This beautiful cottage in Bay View, Michigan faces over Little Traverse Bay of Lake Michigan. This summer as my parents and I visited for part of my book research, we could imagine the big swath of grass in front of those white chairs was the old abandoned railway bed from the older picture above.

As roads improved after the turn of the century and the investment in train travel fell, many tracks were closed. I recall this set of old Pullman cars situated north of Bay View in Crooked Lake--we stopped to take a few pictures. I wanted so badly to climb inside!!


In fiction writing, we often talk about inanimate objects becoming a character in the story. An example is when the weather acts as a character, such as man vs. the weather. Or when the mountains take on a persona. In my story, I like to imagine that the trains are a character that sets the tone of the times. Each of our stories will show the chasm between the social classes of the Gilded Age. Maybe I'll need to write another story set only on the train!

Does anyone have train trips on their bucket lists? I want to ride to Seattle again someday. And I'd love to ride the Orient Express one day in Europe. Look at these pics of the OE! Luxury on wheels...


Readers:
What's on your train bucket list?
Share if you've ridden the rails for a trip--and where?
Don't forget to join last week's give away if you haven't already. It runs through Valentine's Day: Rags and Riches Sneak Peek
Check the raffle for added ways to be entered in the drawing!

Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
Find me at: www.anneloveauthor.com
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41 comments:

  1. My son would think this was so awesome. He is obsessed with trains. Debi Smith

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    1. Cool! I was ten years old on my first train ride. I'll never be too old for them!!

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  2. Way way back while I was single my best friend and I made a trip from Alabama to Washington DC by train. When our visit was over we were to board the train and go to Ohio to visit her grandmother. Little did we know that while we were in our hotel room enjoying room service our train was pulling out of the station! We had our schedules mixed up. Can we say panic? We had to cash in our train tickets and buy bus tickets to make our trip. If you've ever had to sit in a Washington DC bus station at midnight when announcements every little bit about watching your purses and belongings you'd know how scared we were.

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    1. Oh my!! You'll never forget that. You should rebook a train ride, for sure!

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  3. I live on the Oregon coast and I would love to take the train up to Seattle! I know it wouldn't be a very long trip, I've just never ridden a train before :-) I'd also love to take a longer trip to go visit my family in Illinois. It would take about 3-4 days and I'd definitely want to pay extra for a compartment with a bed. I don't see how I'd sleep sitting up on the seats! Wouldn't that be neat to see almost the entire USA by train??

    Thank you for the giveaway chance! :-)

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    1. Oh yea, I was going to mention that on one of the HGTV shows they featured a couple who bought a section an old train & turned it into a home. It was SO cool!

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  4. I have never ridden on a train but I think I would like it, especially if it was in Europe.

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    1. Well, the Orient Express looks way cool. But the trains across Europe are your basic commuter trains, not many frills--but you'd be in Europe, so hey! :)

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  5. Took a train from TX to WA once. The trip was made during a stressful time for me. Perhaps if I could do it over I would enjoy it more. Many of my friends & family enjoy trains and traveling by rail.

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    1. I found that the people who ride trains know they aren't as accurate for punctual arrival times. So, they tend to be more relaxed travelers. It's nice to be able to get up and move from car to car. There's usually a dining car, and an observation car where you can watch the scenery.

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  6. I would love to ride a train! It would be a fun adventure!

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    1. Where would you go first, Caryl?

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    2. Anne, I would start out in Durango, CO. I visited Durango several years ago, but didn't have the opportunity to ride the train.

      Thank you for fixing the Rafflecopter.

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  7. Readers: Caryl pointed out a problem with the rafflecopter. I've fixed it so that each of you will have an entry for your comments. Thanks for your patience.

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  8. I know I will be so excited to ride a train

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    1. I hope you get to some day. But until then, what better ride than to read about it?!

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  9. I travelled by train as a kid with my grandparents. We sent our son across state when he was 18 months old with my grandma via train. And I would love to experience a historic atmosphere on a train someday. Lol!

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    1. I first rode the train with my mom when I was ten years old. We took Amtrak from Chicago to Wichita, KS.

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  10. I have always loved trains but never been on one. I grew up near the train tracks and twice when we moved down the street, the trains go by out back of our house. It was fun to watch the passenger train go by and wave to the people. But, the best part was when the circus train came around every year and slowed down to wait for the track to separate for them to lay over about a mile away for the shows. It's been many years now but I still dream of taking a train ride somewhere.

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    1. Oh so cool about the circus train , Karen! Have you read circus stories of fiction, like Joanne Bishchof's?

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  11. I haven't decided yet whether or not I would like train travel LOL

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    1. I think you would for sure, Carrie. The seats are so much nicer than planes. On Amtrak, there's room to put your feet up all the way, almost like a recliner. :)

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  12. When I was in 8th grade I rode the train from Chicago to Philadelphia. It was quite and adventure and I enjoyed it!

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    1. Very fun, Nancy. I took my mom with me on the train to Phily a few years ago. On a tip from Laura Frantz, we visited the oldest street in Phily--Elphreth's Alley. You should Google it and go back!

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  13. The most train riding I've done was when I was 16 and went to Sweden with my great-uncle. We travelled by train from Stockholm to Karlskrona and then from Karlskrona to Gothenberg and from Gothenberg back to Stockholm. I enjoyed it then, but the older I get the more I have issues with motion sickness and when I've been on a short train ride in the last few years I've had a tendency to feel a little ill...unfortunately!

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    1. Oh, but the scenes in Sweden? Get a motion sickness patch to wear. That sounds like amazing memories.

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  14. I would love to take my dad (who LOVES trains) on a ride across America...or even better, across Canada via rail. We've been on some short train rides together, but I know he would love a cross-country journey so much.

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    1. I'd like to see the Canadian Rockies. I've been from Portland, OR to Lancaster, PA on the train, but didn't quite make it to the East coast.

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  15. With baby and two toddlers in tow I took a train from St Louis to Kansas City many moons ago. A not very gracious man sat nearby. 😢 We also rode the train in Europe. Can remember tearing thru the station to get to one on time.

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    1. Oh Anne, I once sat beside an Amish lady on the train. She had four small children under the age of five with her--then she said she was pregnant. Brave woman! ;)

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  16. Love riding the Cass Scenic Railroad in the fall to see the changing leaves.
    I've also rode Amtrak from WV to WI several times.

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    1. Oh, I'll have to Google Cass Scenic Railroad--I've never heard of that.

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  17. I have a group of friends that want to plan a trip on a train together.... it makes me giddy just contemplating how awesome that would be! What a great post! :)

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    1. Group travel with friends! You all are growing my bucket list! I'm glad you enjoyed the post, Leann!

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  18. The train rides I've been on were short ones, a couple of hours at the most - tourist attractions, etc.. I'd love to ride Amtrak up the west coast and visit all the national parks along the way. A friend of mine did this a number of years ago - their trip allowed them to stop off to visit friends or stay in a hotel for a night, and then get back on Amtrak and continue their tour. I relate to wanting to experience the Orient Express - that would definitely be a treat!!

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    1. I'd love to do that West Coast one too. I've never seen the red woods. Bucket list!

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  19. I la la LOVE Victoria! Thanks for hosting this! :)

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  20. I have ridden from Maysville, KY to Cincinnati, Ohio. A short trip but I loved it. I would love to take a longer trip someday by train.

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    1. Oh, I'll have to look at that trip.I've never been south on the train.

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  21. I I've on the Oregon ct. My son I obsessed with trains. He wants to ride one so bad He watches train ves all the time Debi. Keanusmom@hotmail.com

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