All aboard! Amtrak back after 20 years
Kentucky Cardinal makes first run to Louisville area
Reprinted with permission from Chris Poynter of The Courier-Journal.
CHRIS POYNTER, The Courier-Journal
Traveling by train might be an outdated way to get
from one city to another, one state to the next. But
Amtrak doesnít think so.
The railroad corporation is expecting people in the
Louisville area to hop aboard its new service, The
Kentucky Cardinal, which arrived yesterday in
Jeffersonville, Ind., the final stop on its maiden
It is the first time in 20 years that a passenger
train has served the metropolitan area.
Riders aboard the Kentucky Cardinal, which left
Chicago Friday night for the 11-1/2-hour trip, were
greeted at 8:40 a.m. yesterday by a crowd of 200
people, including Santa Claus, who handed out candy
canes and Amtrak bumper stickers.
Chris Weiss, 28, of Chicago, was coaxed onto the train
by her fiance, a train enthusiast. While he mingled
with other rail fans, she sat in their sleeping
compartment, leaning against the window and reading
David Gutersonís novel Snow Falling on Cedars.
Weiss and her fiance planned on staying in Louisville
for the day, then heading back home on the Cardinal's
return trip. She compared her train experience to her
recent 24-hour flight to Australia.
"This is much better," she said. "You can actually
spread out. Thereís more leg room. You can walk
around. It's quieter. You can sleep."
The Kentucky Cardinal is a misnomer, as the train does
not cross into the Bluegrass State. It might
Yesterday, Luke Clippinger (a district director for
Rep. Baron Hill of Indiana) jokingly called on
Hoosiers to contact Amtrak and urge officials to
change the name.
The inaugural ride was not perfect. Outside Chicago
the train sat for 45 minutes waiting on other trains
The trip was slow between Indianapolis and
Jeffersonville because the maximum speed on the old
Louisville and Indiana Railroad is 30 mph.
But none of that seemed to bother the passengers, most
of them Amtrak officials and train enthusiasts who
came from across America to be a footnote in Amtrak
[PHOTO NOT INCLUDED]
Caption: BY MICHAEL CLEVENGER, THE COURIER-JOURNAL
Conductor Odis L. Bledsoe Jr. helped passengers find
their way aboard Amtrak's Kentucky Cardinal in Chicago.
Copyright 1999 The Courier-Journal
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