A journey by train:

Somewhere near the eastern slope of the Colorado Rockies, I’m chatting with a family of five in the observation lounge, taking in the still and clear morning. To the north of us, the mountains are rugged, the tracks clinging to a massive sandstone face, wrapping along the escarpment toward the Continental Divide. The Zephyr’s lounge has pivoting cushioned seats and broad panoramic windows that stretch up the walls and curve overhead, yielding views that you would never get from the window of a plane. “We figured we’d make the train a part of our vacation,” the mother tells me. Firs give way to spruce and then to ponderosa pine. The journey feels, at this moment, important.

The majority of Ben Jervey’s piece on Amtrak isn’t nearly this romantic. He’s faced with numerous delays, staff incompetence and a growing hatred of freight trains. Interlaced however is a wonderful rumination on the political and business oddity that is Amtrak.