Tag Archives: train

Media: Slow Train Coming (Cascadia Trains) / Vancouver Courier, Oct. 22, 2008

from the article by Robert Alstead, Oct. 22nd, 2008
from the Vancouver Courier article by Robert Alstead, Oct. 22nd, 2008

I was interviewed (and used loquacious quotes like “super lame”) for an article about train travel in the Vancouver Courier.

I am including my quotes and a few other snippets about my pet-rant, ergo: inadequate train travel between here and points south – as well as the photo by Dan Toulguet so it doesn’t disappear…

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Slow train coming

Robert Alstead takes a journey north by rail from California and wonders if Canada’s vanished passenger trains will once again carry us from coast to coast – Robert Alstead, Vancouver Courier Published: Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dave Olson, who works in marketing for Gastown web design company Raincity Studios, travels six or seven times a year by train, on business and pleasure. “I don’t care for jet travel because of the incredible hassle and huge eco-footprint,” says Olson. Like many, he would take the train more if he could. “I like the pace and not having to drive, I like the rhythm and the scenery you normally don’t see, the rail yards and seashores and forgotten neighbourhoods. I find the train-riding experience somehow charming, even poetic and certainly creativity stimulating,” he says.

However, he complains Amtrak’s evening train south is hardly convenient for trips to Olympia or Portland, seeing as travellers must make an overnight stopover in Seattle. The Amtrak Cascades is also infrequent and often booked up. Amtrak does offer several “train buses” which Olson has found “super lame” with long border waits. He’d rather take the car if there are no seats on the train, although it did mean a $124 parking bill and a chipped windshield on a recent three-day trip to Seattle. “I know we would’ve enjoyed some work or playing cards or meditating on the train,” he rues.

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However, the Amtrak Cascades offers a good example of the difficulties faced in enhancing rail services.

For years, Amtrak has wanted to add a second roundtrip train between Eugene and Vancouver. However, congestion due to heavy freight movement on track this side of the border meant that a new siding needed to be added to allow trains to pass. For six years, Canadian and U.S. officials and railroad owners Burlington Northern Santa Fe had been unable to hammer out a deal over who should pay for the upgrade.

That means that a second Amtrak Cascades has been running only as far as Bellingham. Then in March of last year, spurred on by the onset of the 2010 Olympics, B.C. transportation minister Kevin Falcon announced that he was committing “up to $4.5 million” (reportedly 57 per cent of the upgrade cost) to build the siding.

In June last year, Premier Gordon Campbell marked the new service on the platform at King Street Station in Seattle by exchanging a large symbolic train ticket with Washington Governor Chris Gregoire in a photo op.

The siding was completed months ago. Amtrak is ready to go. But the service hit the buffers due to complications with the Canadian Border Services Agency, which reportedly wants $15,000 per day to clear the train.

Graham says the matter is in the hands of the B.C. government. A spokesperson for the province says it’s a federal government issue. Faith St. John, spokesperson for the CBSA, said she could not comment on the matter “because we are in discussions.” But she did say that “decisions to provide CBSA services at a new location or to expand current services take into account human resource requirements and the ability to provide security and service to the public.”

She could not say when the matter would be resolved.

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Update, the article “disappeared” from the internets (mostly), 

Print version of Slow Train Coming

Web version of Slow Train Coming [archived link via WayBack]

Rolling Elsewhere: Japan trains / various incl. Kanazawa and Yokohama

Roll around Japan with ambient train window views from various locations and rolling stock including the Thunderbird Limited Express towards Kanazawa and a Shinkansen service from Yokohama towards Osaka. In situ sound with no narration or drama rather a rather meditative “space cruise” looking as rice fields, towns and stations go past, and occasionally abstract from the speed, plus the whooshing of zipping through tunnels. That’s all. Enjoy the ride. 

Rolling Elsewhere: Sitayama / Unazuki Onsen, Toyama (Japan)

Rolling various local quirky trains from rustic Sitayama station towards the mountains on Toyama and Unazuki Onsen station – not chronologic or accurate, just ambient views of rolling stock, carriage interiors, watching from windows, as well as catching trains going by.

Mixed with music by Dan Mangan, “Tragic Turn of Events (demo)” from “Nice Nice Very Nice (10 year anniversary)”

Note:
Sitayama: https://goo.gl/maps/i4Vq3xfG7weVfx9M9
Unazuki Onsen: https://goo.gl/maps/crnF9NC2hZ5jKFJ58 

More space cruises – by train, tuk tuk, float plane and occasional taxis – from global locales

Rolling Elsewhere: Toyama, Japan (mostly)

Ambient views from various trains’ windows rolling past rice fields, towns and stations in and around Toyama, Japan (mostly) – No narration, action, plot or really context of any kind, just views and the pleasant clackety-clack of trains (with various station announcements if you really wanna know where the train was passing) on a journey in May 2019. 

Note: High-speed Rail from Vancouver > Seattle > Portland & oatmeal

Snoqualmie Oatmeal onboard Amtrak en route to Pe ELL (Centralia, WA) Dec. 29, 2013

There is much discussion about high speed rail between Vancouver and Portland… This conversation isn’t new, been going on for years and years and there’s always more pushback, grumbling about costs and right of way, another expensive study and blah blah blah… In my mind, the existing service *could* be great if they had priority right of way on the tracks, without hindrance of landslides which are prone to some areas, and better connections from the often remote/poorly located stations to the related urban centers (looking at you Olympia).

I mean, the trains themselves are great, the route is lovely, and importantly there is Snoqualmie Falls oatmeal served in the morning, or Ivar’s clam chowder and Black Butte Porter in the afternoon… Last time I rode anyway.

By the way, it’s no longer my challenge, request, cause or whatever as I live in Japan where train lines are abundant with all manner of service from super fast to slow locals as well as scenic treasures on olden stock.

However, I have yet to find a train in Japan which serves oatmeal so I have to get by a delicious Ekiben.

Trainspotting: Freight Train Pulling Out of Okayama (Japan) Station

Nothing special, just a freight train pulling out of Okayama Station (with announcements in the background). Just an ambient observation for amusement. 

Rolling Elsewhere: around Oslo, Norway by boat, train and car

Ambient “space cruise” around generally Oslo area of Norway by boat, trains and car. That’s it. No narration, action, plot, theme or whatever, just dig the views and ride along. Sound is “as-is” aside form Ilgudin Trio (from Russia, recorded live in Ubud, Indonesia) added whilst in the car. Roll on. That’s it.

Thanks to Mathias and Harald Olson for the footage – wasn’t me). 

Diary: Autumn Miscellany / coffee, ramen, sandwiches, Godzilla, peach tree, ikebana…

“rubber chicken” NOT added to ramen

While dispatches and re-caps of various outings and events exist elsewhere in this archive, life is so wonderful right now i don’t want to miss a thing or fail to appreciate the glorious mundane details of just existing.

As such, what follows are bits and pieces which don’t fit elsewhere,  a round-up of miscellany and odds and ends and mild annotations.

Starting with the pleasantness of stopping for a coffee and receiving a free lil sandwich plate (and seeing Ryoko’s adorableness :)). 

The internets instructs food photos be posted with frequency.

Thanks Shiro-Kuma (white bear) cafe.

Continue reading Diary: Autumn Miscellany / coffee, ramen, sandwiches, Godzilla, peach tree, ikebana…

Rolling Elsewhere: Kanazawa to Toyama, Japan (ambient, excerpts)

 

Pleasant ambient countryside views from train window rolling from Tsubata (Ishikawa) to Takaoka-Yabunami (Toyama), Japan. Stops at stations, some announcement, a few coughs.

No narration, story, action – just views and sounds. Also a slick spacey streetcar in Toyama City and a few other treats. 

Rolling Elsewhere – Thunderbird Limited Express Train, Japan (excerpts)

Just rolling ambient views looking out window at countryside and stations in-situ while aboard the Thunderbird Limited Express train – from Shin-Osaka station toward Kanazawa via Kyoto.

No narration, or whatnot. This is all, roll on pleasantly. 

PS There are more, plenty. 

 

Osaka Tasks to Okayama Home / Dave + Ryoko 4-20 Kekkon-shiki

Train in Osaka

Thank goodness I’m a country boy… Back in our little home on the outskirts of a under-appreciated provincial capital after a few days in the “big city”… All the skyscrapers, swirling highways, and hectic people… Well it’s just not for me. Here we have flowers, trees, fresh air and importantly, quiet.

The good news is, got the official paperwork underway, picked up custom rings and utilized at least a dozen different means of conveyance.

Totally wiped me out but 藤田良子 (Ryoko) kept our pace slow and I didn’t try to do “too much” by rushing around to do everything in one day as a normal human would likely do. I’m hardly “normal” in all sorts of ways 🙂

We have a week till all the renegades start showing up, & 9 days til 3-days of action… still lots of little things on the list but most can be done while wearing pajamas.

So very grateful for all the kind words coming in and all sorts of different channels > You know I’ll reply to everything *eventually*, but might be eventually.

Now will rest (maybe after an episode of “Great Teacher Onizaki” (oldish tv fun & good Japanese study for me).

Included a neat train to sparkle up this wee missive.

Thank you again dear people, and good night.

Consulate to Tram to Ramen / Dave + Ryoko 4-20 Kekkon-shiki

Duo-ramen in Osaka

After affidavit at Honorary Consulate of Canada located in the Tsuda lumber yard in an industrial port area of Osaka requiring creative transport route planning including various non-JR trains and the “New Tram” (which is no longer new but i suppose “tram” by itself isn’t much of a name), we hit up a hot spring spa next to a sports complex featuring a boat racing stadium – rather thunder-dome-esque – for several hours soak – indoors & out, then found an appropriate surface street bus (my preferred mode as involves less going up and down stairs/escalator/elevators to elevated rail or subways plus less general “hecticness” as I get very sensory overloaded easily) to Namba station area loaded with shopping streets, covered arcades where we bought some lovely blue hemp cloth for a tablecovering at goat farm party, as well as importantly devouring two mighty bowls of menya (noodles), along with boiled gyoza, at an impossibly tiny restaurant before heading back to hotel (where my request for extra pillow was denied) to watch an episode of Great Teacher Onizaki.

Today is picking up rings, buying various small items at Bic, Tokyu Hands, Shinseibashi then back to calm provincial town via speedy train.

End of Dispatch.

Noodles pictured.