8:20am

Mon September 24, 2012
Weekend Travelogue

Romance Of The Rails: The Train Keeps A-Rollin'

I can't tell you how many times I've been asked, "Why did you take the train?" I guess it's a fair question. One can drive from Denver to Chicago in roughly 16 hours and fly there in 2 hours.

Amtrak says a trip on the California Zephyr can take 18 hours. So, if it's not speed, there must be another reason, right?

Credit Nathan Heffel / KUNC

I set out on my two day journey from Denver's Union Station bound for Chicago. My mission? To document what I experienced on a cross country train trip. The sights. The sounds. Trying to sleep with those sights and sounds.

I met many interesting people, from a gas station owner from Glenwood Springs to a semi-retired couple from Queensland Australia.

They all were aboard the train for different reasons, some for escape, and others on an American odyssey.

Taking a cue from the golden age of railroad, the California Zephyr takes the same route as its famous namesake decades ago. But is taking the train still as memorable as 'back in the day,' and can that romance last?

I’ll have another chance to answer that question, I begin my return trip to Denver early in the afternoon Monday.

That’s another 18 hour excursion on the rails.

Editor's Note: Reporter Nathan Heffel chronicled his ride on the California Zephyr, you can follow up with this series here.

You can follow Nathan Heffel on Twitter: @Heffeln