Toronto – Austin by train

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by admin on May 13, 2008 @ 12:35 pm

Saturday May 10, 8:10 am

I am sitting on the train. I am happy that there is a power outlet. The Amtrak website said that there aren’t many outlets on their trains (this is actually a VIA train). It is supposed to leave at 8:30. Right now, there are only 2 other people in my car, and of course, one of them chose to sit in the seat in front of me, so when she moves around, the tray my computer is on jiggles.

I got to Union Station around 7. The train was supposed to be boarding at 8, but there was already a lineup. At around quarter to 8, a man just walked over to the line and started standing behind me, a little off from the line. At this point, the line was pretty long. I wasn’t sure if he was “budding” or what, but nobody said anything to him. It actually really bothered me. There were probably a hundred people in line behind him. He kind of looked like a psychopath, though (sweatpants and hiking boots), so I wasn’t going to say anything as long as he wasn’t going to bud in front of me. As we walked through the gate, I could sense that he was trying to do just that, and by the time we were on the platform, he was in front of me. At this point, though, we were split into different trains, so I can’t even try to take a covert picture of him.

I am so not looking forward to waiting around for 11 hours in Buffalo-Depew.

The train is leaving, and there still aren’t many people on my car.


The border crossing was relatively painless, for me at least. I think our car got an easy-going border agent. A bunch of people from other cars were taken off, and I think one guy was actually turned away. On my car, there was a girl who had a pretty sketchy-sound story about where she was going, and a one way ticket, but the guy didn’t have her get off the train. Still, the train was probably sitting still for almost two hours.

The scenery out here is depressing. Lots of old, rusted out cars in junkyards.


There’s nothing to do in Depew. It’s literally the middle of nowhere. I wish I had gotten off in regular Buffalo, and just made my own way here in a few hours. How am I going to sit in this room for 10 hours? Fuck.

depew sucks

There’s actually another guy in here with my computer (Asus EEEPC); I think he’s the first person I’ve actually seen with one. He has an EU passport hanging from around his neck.

I managed to take a really shitty picture of the creepy guy I mentioned earlier, on the train, as he was coming back from getting some food on the train’s cafe car. I totally wimped out of getting a good picture. A woman was sitting across from me,and I started feeling really self-conscious about it.

the psycho, way off in the distance

the possible psycho, off in the distance

May 11 2008, 1:53pm (central)

The car I was on from Buffalo to Chicago didn’t have outlets, but another car on the same train did. I would have been on that one, but they put all the people travelling together on it. It was pretty annoying that I had been waiting around in a small room with no access to actual food or anything for 10 hours, and then these people got to go ahead of me.

my fuel

The train was about 45 minutes late getting into Chicago. It had to stop to wait for cargo trains. I am worried that this will happen a lot again, and really delay my arrival in Austin. Of course, it was raining when we get to Chicago. I spend a little time wandering around in the rain looking for a Jamba Juice, before remembering that there is one in the Union Station food court. I had two of the largest ones. I alsoate pretzels (pretty much what I’ve eaten the most of since crossing the border).

kick out the jamba juice, motherfuckers!

Now I’m on the train to Austin, and there are again no electrical outlets. There are probably some on the dining car, so maybe I’ll recharge my battery there for a while.

image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace