I’ve traveled by train numerous times, both here and in the UK. I like them, as they are fast and convenient. The only part that I don't always feel comfortable with is when I don't know when I will be getting off, if I'm unfamiliar with the route, and worry that I'll miss my stop! It's great, though, that you can walk around and do things and eat while en route!
I recently took a train from Washington DC to Baltimore, Maryland to visit a friend there. The train ride itself was pretty uneventful until we got to Baltimore, where the train tracks run through a really, really bad part of the town. It did look like a war zone; just terrible conditions for the housing there. Just awful. And such a contrast to the "better" parts of Baltimore, at the inner harbor. From one extreme to the other! But train travel is so fast and convenient. My friend was originally going to come to DC to pick me up but instead arranged for the train trip, which was quicker than driving into the city.
I’ve also taken the train to Chicago a few times. Much better than driving in the Chicago traffic!
Being from Michigan I can’t help buy sing to myself the old Simon and Garfunkel song "America" when I am on the train...even though it’s about riding on a bus....it's so appropriate to travel!
"Michigan seems like a dream to me now"
It took me four days to hitchhike from Saginaw
I’ve come to look for America
Laughing on the bus
Playing games with the faces
She said the man in the gabardine suit was a spy
I said "Be careful, his bowtie is really a camera"
"Toss me a cigarette, I think there's one in my raincoat"
"We smoked the last one an hour ago"
So I looked at the scenery, she read her magazine
And the moon rose over an open field"
On my first trip to the UK I purchased a Brit Rail pass. I was traveling alone in my early 20’s and very adventurous. The BritRail pass allows you to just jump on a train and go, no ticket to purchase throughout all of Britain. I remember riding the train overnight from Edinburgh, Scotland to London, and the train had compartments rather than the usual row seats, but the compartments were full. I had to sit in the hallway outside the compartments where it was terribly cold all the way to London...but it was all part of the adventure!
The UK train system is much more developed and used than it is here in the US. We’ve taken out a lot of our train tracks here. There it’s a very common method of getting from here to there, and very reliable.