The Poetry Of Train Travel

A zoologist rhapsodizes:

The train to Buffalo isn't just the train to Buffalo, it's the train to everywhere in between New York City and Buffalo. Announcing a train departure properly can't help but have more personality than an airport speaker's monotone statement that 1st class passengers are now welcome to step onto flight somethingoranother going to whothehellreallycares. But there was one guy at Grand Central when I was growing up who could really do it right. I can still remember:

"Now boarding at Gate Number twenty-three, Platform A, Train Number 63, The Lake Shore Limited 2:30 departure for Buffalo. Making station stops at Crrrrrrr-Oton HarmonPoughkeepsieRhinecliff HudsonAllll-Bany Rensselaer. Schnectady. AmsterdamUticaRomeSyracuseRochesterBufffffff-Alo Depew! Continuting on to Erie. Cleveland. Chicago. Connect at Chicago for Allllllllll points west and south. Now departing Gate Number Twenty-Three Alllllll-A-bo-oard!"

It had rhythm and poetry. It was a performance in the spoken word. And I miss that magic.

It's appropriate on the eve of my own wedding, but my favorite poem about trains is "The Whitsun Weddings." It's here. You won't regret the read.