Fillyjonk remembers taking the train at the turn of the century:
Got on the train. Managed to sleep a bit. But the train was very, very delayed: first, they had to go slowly through some areas because of the ice storm damage. Then we stopped. And sat, and sat. Eventually word trickled through a freight had derailed ahead of us and they had to clean it up. (It was a Sunday, I guess they had a hard time raising a crew to work on that, it was multiple hours.) The guys in the seat behind me had a bottle of Southern Comfort* which they proceeded to empty as the hours passed and they got louder and more “friendly” (Not in the way I like people being friendly. They commented volubly on the socks I was knitting, and made other comments, and eventually I decamped to the lounge car and was fortunately able to get a seat there.)
(*Since then Amtrak has banned people from bringing alcohol on board. Well, they wink at it in the sleepers though a good sleeping car attendant will warn sleeper car passengers not to be rowdy.)
It was pretty miserable. I also remember a young woman who had been “overserved” in some way sitting on the floor in the lounge car and complaining loudly and volubly that her uncle “owned” CSX and was gonna get all the Amtrak people fired, because … well, some injustice had been visited on her, I think the lounge car guy wouldn’t sell her another beer. A couple of conductors came by and told her that she needed to calm down or she’d be put off at the next stop (which, as it turned out, was five hours away. I think she eventually fell asleep).
I suppose it’s a good thing that this phalanx of drunkards wasn’t actually on the highway, but it seems unlikely that things have improved much, if at all, in two decades.