With the last years’ worth of talk about passenger rail between here and Chicago, there is a vivid battle on our local papers’ comment pages between the “that would be nice” faction and the “they’re just trying to get re-elected, where will the money come from?” team.

Before taking a side, one might wish to peruse this fresh book by James McCommons, Waiting on a Train: The Embattled Future of Passenger Rail Service.

This one isn’t gathering dust on our shelf.  People are using it no doubt to bolster their arguments.  That being said, how cool would it be for Cubs fans and the 75% of the University of Iowa students from Chicagoland? Or, nationally, anyone spending two hours riding the bus in Los Angeles for lack of infrastructure?

TrainsThose Stimulus dollars are raising the hopes of train-loving Quad-Citians; they are starting to dream of  riding the rails to Chicago and  Iowa City, and perhaps to even more exotic lands.

Trains are very cinematic and are excellent vehicles (ha!) to further the plot of mysteries and novels. In Falling in Love, DeNiro and Streep meet  and, of course, fall in love, on a commuter train. The Station Agent, a great indie film, is about a loner who inherits a train depot. Against his will,  he develops friendships with those he meets at his station.

Novels made into films include Michael Crichton’s The Great Train Robbery , John Godey’s The Taking of Pelham 123 and Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train – turned into a  wonderfully funny and creepy  Hitchcock movie.

Here’s hoping you find love and romance rather than crime, terrorism and murder on your next train ride.