So now that I have the folding bike, I’ve been thinking of ways that I can take the train to Chicago instead of commuting by car. One obvious option is to take Amtrak up. The only problem is that my office is actually in the west suburbs of Chicago, an area that doesn’t get Amtrak service.
So then I have to look at options for transferring to the Metra (the local light rail service). I can switch trains in downtown Chicago, and the Metra will get me within 2.5 miles of my office. Easy biking distance.
And then I looked at the cost… In order to maintain parity with what I pay now in gas (which is a significant sum), I would have to ride the train up to Chicago on Monday night instead of Tuesday morning. And I would have to ride back on Friday morning instead of Thursday night. Why? Because the train that is most convenient for me (weekday mornings and nights) is the one coming from and going to New Orleans. Since this train has the full complement of dining cars, sleepers, etc… it costs more to ride. $35 vs. $13. Ouch! Add the cost of riding Metra and you’re well on your well on your way to double what I pay now in gas.
I’m not sure I can afford to do this with any regularity. I suppose though, that it’s good to know that the option is available should disaster strike. For now… it’s back to the drawing board. I’m tired of driving so anything that alleviates that for me will be welcome.