Monday, August 27, 2012
What we did in 1907, we cannot do now.
In 1992, we drove to Indianapolis and took the train to Chicago just for the fun of it. I had an ill-fated job interview in the Windy City, and what I remember about the ride was that we went very slowly owing to tracks rated for freight, not passengers; the only beer on board was Budweiser; and in Lafayette, Indiana, the train halted right in the middle of a downtown street to let passengers on and off.
At some point since then, Lafayette redirected its train tracks to a corridor right alongside the Wabash River, and the eastern approach to the John T. Myers Pedestrian Bridge (site of Saturday's superb beer festival) is constructed to move walkers over the rails first, and then across the river itself. The station and plaza in front of it both gleam, local buses stop there, and there were people in the vicinity at most hours of the day.
It's a very urban, European tableau, at least until one realizes that only two passenger trains stop at the station each day, one going to Chicago and the other coming back, and then ... outside ... (sighhh) ... it's America, again.