Why would I catch the train in Meridian, Mississippi to go to Atlanta, Georgia when I live in the Jackson, Mississippi area?
Because the train that runs through Jackson is called The City of New Orleans, which travels only north and south, not east and west. To head east, you ride The Crescent, and there are a few important things you should know before you catch the train called The Crescent.
First, the stations in Meridian and Atlanta are vastly different.
In Meridian, the station is attractive and provides plenty of parking. The location is easy to find and houses a nice little snack shop.
In Atlanta, on the other hand, there are six parking spots for the metropolis of almost six million people. Be ready to jump from your ride’s moving vehicle when they drop you off. No snack shop in the Atlanta station or nearby. Bring your own or buy your coffee from a vending machine. Quite a problem if the train runs late. Which brings me to my second point.
Train travel is normally on time, but not always. Once we waited four hours in the Atlanta station. Good thing I brought protein bars and sour gummy worms. Yes, I bought crummy coffee from the machine. Live and learn.
Now for the fun part of train travel.
Hey, you’re on a train. How cool is that? No traffic. No driving. No scary takeoff or landing. The gentle rocking and whistle, lulling you into a nice nap. When awake, the changing landscape passes your window: fields, streams, rivers, hills.
Here’s where it gets tricky. We’ve ridden in coach. The seats are roomy, but the area could use some new upholstery and a lot of spit and polish, as they say. Okay, it’s not real clean, and, depending on who your neighbors are, not real quiet. Potluck passenger can be wonderful—or not so wonderful.
When my son had ACL surgery, we decided to try the “Roomette.” When we first saw it, we were happy for the privacy, but stunned at the small size. The porter saw our confusion and offered to make up the beds. This was great for the two of us. Essentially, the room became bunk beds. My son could plug in his laptop and phone and watch movies or play games on the top bunk, while I read or typed on my own laptop, reclining on the bottom bunk.
Another plus with the roomette, you meals are free. You can eat in the dining car. If you’re an extrovert, you’ll enjoy the fact that you share a table with other passengers. If you’re an introvert, you might want to order the food to go.
For every trip hereafter to Atlanta, we’ll go for the roomette.
Give it a shot! Hop on The Crescent. The price is right depending on the days you travel.
My goal is to ride The City of New Orleans to New Orleans or Chicago this year. If going to Chicago, I’ll definitely reserve a roomette. Going to New Orleans, I’ll probably be with a group. You have to embrace the crowds when going to The Big Easy. I’ll let you know how it goes. Have you ridden the train? What’s your experience?
Under the Southern Sun
Janet W. Ferguson