Train keep a rollin' all night long ... seriously

Posted Thursday, September 25, 2008 - 12:00am

When you don't own a car, transportation to your home on the Wasatch Front can be difficult. You can get around town as much as you want by walking, but you don't want to go into town walking once it gets to be winter. You also have a hard time making it home to see your family if you are not lucky enough to have a car for transportation.

That's how it is for me. I don't want to have to pay for gas and maintenance for a car I'll only use on weekends at most. Makes sense, right? So how do I get back into Utah county without my legs falling off from walking the whole darn way? It's kind of a secret, but I'll let you in on it.

There is an Amtrak Station in Helper, who'd have thought? When I asked some random students on campus what they knew about the train station, nine out of ten didn't know one even existed. The one student who did know about the train only knew because she had taken me there that weekend. It's interesting that, as a majority, CEU students don't know about the train that goes through Price city.

So, if there's a station in Helper, where is this train going to go? The Amtrak train travels all over the country to 47 states. There are six stations, including the Helper station, in Utah. Starting in the north, there's one in Salt Lake City, Ogden, Provo, Green River and St. George.

Taking the train must cost a fortune, right? Not really. I took the train to Provo and it only cost $15, which is pretty reasonable considering the other option of walking. To take the train to Salt Lake is only $21. Now, mind you, these fares are for one-way tickets. You can buy round-trip tickets but they're prone to charge you more for that.

Another thing to take into account when riding the train: don't be in a hurry to get where you're going. The trains do get delayed for quite some time and for a number of reasons. When I rode the train, there was a five-hour delay which meant that I wasn't going to be in Provo until 2 a.m. Not very pleasant for the person picking me up, but that doesn't happen every time. There are risks to take, but when you're desperate to get home, risks are a good thing.

While you are waiting for your train, the station in Helper is a good place to just chill out. The address to the station is 1 Depot Street, Helper. At night it doesn't seem to be quite the friendliest place, though. When asked about the station, Cadie Hancock replied, "It looks like it should be in a scary movie." And indeed it should be (hint to future movie-makers). "The benches and bathrooms look like something from the '50s," said Hancock as she ended the conversation with a shudder.

There are plenty of pros and cons to the train, but for some of us poor students who don't have cars, it is an option. For more information on the train you can go to the Amtrak website at amtrak.com. The Internet is your friend so don't be afraid to use it well. There are many choices to go with, whether heading north or south. Just remember that the farther you go, the more costly it'll get.

As a bit of personal advice: ask the person who gives you a ride to the station if they would stay with you until the train arrives. Play it safe, that way no one gets hurt or scared.

Filed under: lifestyles

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