Planes, trains and Greyhound busses

Travel by plane has often been problematic or even unavailable during the last year or two since the pandemic struck. Then recently, when air travel was making strides toward normalcy, one airline canceled 2,000 flights.

Everything from cancellations and restrictions, to limited space and an increase of fights and disgruntled folks on planes has made flying difficult. Unlike in past years, alternate methods of longer distance domestic travel are hard to find, leaving some unfortunate passengers stranded.

In Europe, modern trains can be preferable to planes, with high-speed carriers being the fastest way to get around. Meanwhile in the United States, our trains connecting cities are few. European lines can serve passengers as efficiently as planes, while our Amtrak lines in the U S only offer limited routes and destinations.

Travel by train was very familiar when I was a child in the 1940s. Railroads had played a significant role in the development of our country. I can remember sitting at crossings and watching the old steam engines of the freight trains puff by.

In World War II days, uniformed soldiers could often be seen through the windows as the locomotives passed. Trains were important for troop movement during war times, beginning with the Civil War.

Trains were the choice for longer distances when my mother was traveling from Mitchell to Ball State in Muncie in 1930. Even earlier, they had carried my then teenage grandmother and her family to the World’s Fair in St. Louis in 1904.

I rode a few trains myself, but have rarely traveled on them in the last 60 years. My very first train ride, our Huron High School senior trip to Washington D.C. and New York City, was in 1955. I took a few more train trips on the B & O and Monon in the 1960s before air travel became the way to go.

Nowadays, the passing of a train in Mitchell, once a significant railway crossroad, is an event worthy of mention on Facebook. At least the B & O tracks are still there, and haven't been made into hiking trails as many others have been.

Buses have always been available. During my four years of college and nursing school, I rode Greyhound buses between Bloomington, Indianapolis and Bedford at least once a month. Founded in 1914, Greyhound Lines still provide intercity bus service in the United States, carrying more than 22.5 million passengers each year.

I don’t travel an, but if I did, I would enjoy a trip by train or even in the comfortable seat of an old Greyhound bus. Flying was never my choice, as I prefer to keep a connection with the ground.

This article originally appeared on The Times-Mail: Plans, trains and Greyhound busses