Home DESTINATION SPOTLIGHT Bare facts on Amtrak tracks
Bare facts on Amtrak tracks PDF Print E-mail

Some politicians, singers and athletes are always the butts of jokes. For instance, the recent activities of Sarah Palin. The romantic shenanigans of baseball’s Alex Rodriguez with singer Madonna. The governors and senators who wander from the marriage bed.

However, the most maligned of all has been Amtrak. For years, comedians have joked about the railroad’s frequent accidents, poor service and outdated equipment. One of the most outrageous anti-Amtrak demonstrations has been the annual California Hello ceremony at the California town of Laguna Niguel.

Moon with cartoon face


On a July Saturday for the past 30 years, people line up along the Amtrak tracks that pass through town. As passenger trains go by, the demonstrators turn their backs, drop their pants and moon the trains, a bare-butt criticism of much maligned Amtrak.

Local bars offer special drinks and pick-up bands entertain during the mooning event. Police monitor the Summer Mooning Madness activities so that it doesn’t get too rowdy, and most people in town and on the trains take it in good humor.

All joking aside, Amtrak can be an effective way to get around these days. For instance, on some of its East Coast corridor express runs, from New York to Washington DC, it takes three hours. That’s from city center to city center, and no seat belts are required.

On flights to the same destinations, the time in the air is just 90 minutes, but the hassles of getting to and from the airports make the trip just as long. With frequent flight delays, it can be much longer. And train seating is considerably more comfortable than sardine-can seating on airplanes. Seriously, Amtrak is always trying ... sometimes very trying ... to provide good service. For latest information and schedules, go to www.amtrak.com

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