The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Edith Gidley

Train yourself


On Sunday, I took the train from Wishram to Portland. I hadn't done this before, so I thought maybe others would be interested in the trip.

Americans do many things well, but public transport isn't one of them. I just returned from several weeks in Prague, where the public transport system is outstanding. Within two blocks of my residence, there were Metro, tram, and bus stops, where I could be taken to all corners of the city. If I had to wait more than seven minutes for the transport of my choice, even on weekends and holidays, I felt put upon.

So it was with some trepidation that I was taking the train from Wishram to Portland. I needed to go to a medical conference and, not wanting to make the trip in ice and snow, decided to chance it.

Turns out if was a very enjoyable journey. It didn’t start auspiciously, being over 30 minutes late, which I was told was not unusual. When train arrived, I made my way to the upper deck. The car I was in had plenty of empty seats, so I settled comfortably into a window seat on the river side.Being at the tree level, it was a great place to relax.The seats are very nice, especially compared to those awful seats on the airline. You can recline without being in your neighbor’s face, with plenty of leg room, plus leg and foot rests.

You travel along the edge of the river, giving you a different perspective from the usual freeway. If you are at all interested in birds, this is the trip for you: in addition to the usual hoardes of coots, invasions of Canadians, and the lurking cormorants, I saw eight bald eagles just between Wishram and The Dalles. 

Outside of Vancouver, we passed where the 1 percent live, with their million-dollar river views and houses big enough to put up half the country. Somehow that didn’t make up for having a train going within a few meters of the recliner in their living rooms.

We arrived in the pouring rain in Portland, at the wonderful Union Station. From there, it is just a short walk to the Max station, which offers frequent  transport to other parts of the city. 

This is not a trip to make if you are in a hurry, but if you are looking for some fun in the big city, it is a very enjoyable trip. It’s also a good deal, at just under $20 for the one-way trip.


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