Thursday, December 24, 2009

"Once in Royal David's City"

My favorite carol, performed by the choir of King's College, Cambridge, as shown on the BBC "Carols from King's" series. Thanks to edders05 for the clip.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Your correspondent rides the Adirondack with Beckey Bright of the Wall Street Journal.

About six weeks ago I received a call from Daniel Machalaba, a freelance writer who sometimes writes on railway related topics. Dan said he was working on an article for the Wall Street Journal about retired baby boomers discovering or re-discovering rail travel. He had read my blog post about riding the Adirondack, which, he said, might be an ideal "starter train" for someone wanting to sample rail travel because its route is very scenic but also short compared to Amtrak's or VIA Canada's transcontinental routes. We talked for a while about my history as a railfan, having spent time in my childhood watching action on the four-track main of the Pennsylvania Railroad at my mother's hometown, Tyrone, Pennsylvania, and about my experiences riding the Adirondack from Penn Station up to Plattsburgh, New York and back on trips to visit my in-laws in Massena. He asked me about things that could be seen from the train, the quality of the service, and timeliness. Finally, he said he had what he thought was some good material for his article.

I heard from Dan again a couple of weeks ago. He said his article would be in the December 19 issue of the Journal, then, to my delight, added that his editor thought it would be good to have me interviewed while riding the Adirondack as far as Poughkeepsie, and to have the interview as a video to accompany Dan's article. So it was that, last Tuesday, I stood under the arrivals/departures board at Penn Station and was greeted there by Beckey Bright, who proved, in appearance and personality, perfectly to embody her name. Beckey did a superb job of editing the ensuing rambling discourse to include only those parts in which I managed to sound the least foolish. I have two regrets: first, that the views of the scenery are less than inspiring because of the weather, and second, that my voice couldn't be edited so as to make me sound a little less like Ben Stein.

You can read Dan's article here.