FROM RICHMOND BY TRAIN

Is there a more civilized way to travel than by train? Oh, I suppose the litters that Roman nobility use to careen around town on were pretty cool, but I’m told that the slaves’ body odor took the shine off that experience, for the Y-chromosome nobility at least. But on a train you don’t have to wear a seat belt; you have actual legroom; you can wander back to the café car and stare at the scenery over a cup of latte; and you won’t be assigned a middle seat. And there’s no denying what scenes from films like Brief Encounter and Young Frankenstein have done for the mystique of catching a train. Plus when you arrive, you’re at the center of things, and not the equivalent of one city over from where you wanted to get to. When I was just a gleam in my father’s--no, no, later than that--when I was just a young pup, trains were part of a boy’s mental portfolio, along with firemen, six-shooters, Lincoln logs, and frilly petticoats. (Oops! Note to self: be sure to remove that last item before posting. I mean it this time! Don’t forget!)