Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Coast Starlight Parlour Car R.I.P.

The Coast Starlight started an amenity that rail fans feared would not last
In time of speed and hustle and bustle so hard to relive the glories of the past
Amtrak introduced the Parlour Car originally built in 1956
With a full bar, movie theater, library and games to shorten the trip
Wine and cheese tasting in the afternoon, a bed time chocolate at night
A gift bottle of wine to insure the trip would be in terms of luxury all right
In the sleepers passengers would be rocked and swayed to sleep
For a full breakfast and a paper in the morning to them greet
Comfortable swivel chairs to the scenery passing by to admire
Conversations with fellow sleepers never to tire
A travel in an earlier day before long distance planes
The only way to travel in the Parlour Car to in the evening sleep in a bed on the train
But Amtrak lost money each year that threatened to kill Congress’ subsidy purse
Each year another cut in amenities as lovers of the Starlight feared the cuts would get worse
The bottle of wine gift was first to go, replaced by a half bottle of champagne per rider
No longer would meals be served with fine china as their provider
Soon the wine and cheese was no longer free and had to be paid
The meals better than airline food slowly began to degrade
Movies, library, chocolate and paper faded away
When would this island of comfort no longer see the light of day
Prices for beverages on a upward climb
Fears the Parlour Car was running out of time
Finally in February of 2018 the Parlor Car finally met its end
The vestiges of luxury gone and into the memory bank to send
Great while it lasted but no train no matter how fast can outrun a wave of red ink
Too many years in the red and Congressional support for a subsidy had to sink
The train still runs but without the Parlour Car not the same nor even close
Still the only way to arrive refreshed from time in bed as you head up the scenic coast
Even as your time to meet strangers and converse
Limited to the dining car, a development not to reverse
© June 18, 2019 Michael P. Ridley  

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