A First Train Ride (Then and Now)


The year was 1987 and I was eighteen years old. Picture a young naive kid, who came from a small town, with a dream to seek out what the big city had to offer. So long ago my mom dropped me off in White River Junction, Vermont, so that I could ride the  train to New York City. It was an exciting adventure, my first train ride, to visit my older brother David in Brooklyn.



I don’t remember all about my train ride but I do recollect that it was a seven or eight-hour stint on a smooth rolling train called the Vermonter. We rode through humble towns like Bellows Falls and  expansive cities like Hartford, Connecticut. The landscape sprawled before me, scenes  of city cars and buildings everywhere and others of fields and barns. At one point the train started going in the other direction, therefore I had to stifle the sick feeling. I had never rode backwards before! Ugh!

Here is my son checking out the schedule with his dad
Boarding the train on a frigid day. Thank goodness for the sun!


Now, so many years later I was reminded of my trip through my son’s first train ride on the same train. Branden is about the same age as I was, with the youthful energy to try new things.  I was so proud of his eagerness to travel, exploring new ways of transportation.


The station sits in White River Junction, Vermont nestled on the White River, adjoining the Connecticut. Dating back to the 1840’s the city thrived as a railroad junction and continued until its decline in the 1960’s. Then the highway system became the most important means of travel. Yet the station remains and travelers still take advantage of the passenger train.


As Tom, my son and I waited outside the station, a well seasoned railroad employee trudged up to us. He jingled his keys in the bitter cold and apologized for not opening the waiting station sooner. ” Lots to do today. ” he whispered, sending plummets of steam from his breath. Since we were early and the only ones waiting so far, we assured him that it was fine.



Entering the musty room I was plunged back in time. A boarding schedule stood on the wall, not digital or modern,  but resembling the same schedule I saw so long ago. Wooden benches stood in the middle of the room. It was as if we were in the Planes, Trains and Automobile movie beside actors John Candy and Steve Martin.




It was surprising to me to have many people pile into the station at the last-minute, perhaps holiday travelers going home as it was New Year’s Day. At the estimated arrival time we all stood just a few feet away from the track. The wind whipped against us as we stood in the snow, a true New England boarding experience in January. Finally the train whistle sounded, giving me goosebumps and it hurriedly chugged up to us. Right away the attendants lowered the icy steps and herded people onboard. This was it…Branden boarded for his  first train adventure and we drove home happy for him.


Do you have a train ride story?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤



11 thoughts on “A First Train Ride (Then and Now)

  1. I love trains and have been lucky enough to do two so far. I went with my nephew and parents on the Kettle Valley railway Great Train Robbery a few years ago. It’s a train that utilizes the old kettle Valley railway and goes across the oldest trestle. It was very neat!
    Secondly I took the Nor’easter from Boston to Maine and back this past summer. I loved both experiences!! What did your son think of his train ride?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Great Train Robbery sounds like fun! I had forgotten about my train rides, I’ve been on three or four different trips to NYC. I’m close enough to use the Nor’easter. I’ll have to try it out. Tom and I would love to go on a train trip!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice train adventure story. Most of my train rides have been in the UK. My middle son and I rode a train to Stanford for a World Cup Soccer game in 1994. That was his first train ride and an exciting adventure for the two of us. A few years ago my daughter and I decided to take the train to Vancouver B.C. for the day. It was a fun experience albeit long…
    Glad your son was up for an adventure of travel by train.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. train rides in India are an even bigger adventure! you get to see all kinds of people selling you snacks, tea and coffee, singing songs, and of course too many small kids earning their bread with such things! but there are the people who share their food so generously! Once I was going back to Bangalore from Hyderabad after meeting my sister and this mother and her three little girls generously offered me their chicken and beef snacks and were horrified that I could not eat them! I mollified them by having a cup of tea! trains are fun. I used to finish several books in them before we switched to free air trains when our brother joined Air India as a pilot!

    Liked by 1 person

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