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Taking the Train
Mother Interior Asks the Hobo—Is it Safe for a Lady?
My mom wants to travel to visit family across the country. She is worried about corona restrictions for flying and is thinking about taking a train. I worry about her being in transit for 3 days instead of 1 day, with irregular sleeping and such. She is outgoing and likes to talk to strangers. Do you think it would be safe for her?
-Mother Interior

The good news is that the sleeper cars are now much more affordable.
Amtrak was set up for vacation travel. Their employees, are much more helpful and friendly than airline employees, possibility because they know that the only advantage to the train is hospitality. Being on the train is halfway between being on a plane and staying in a hotel. Sleeper car occupancy has been way down, now that Amtrak is mostly being used to relocate due to job loss and escaping urban blight.
If mom is travelling alone she will get two seats to herself in coach, and those are large seats.
Don't get the handicapped coach, as that is on the ground floor, with the six restrooms, and for her to go to the viewing car, the diner or the café, she will have to climb, then walk to another car. It's easier to be on the upper level so you only have to take stairs to use the restroom. The café is in the basement of the viewing car, so to get coffee from the handicapped coach you would have to go up, travel 1-3 cars, then go downstairs, come back up, travel, and go back down.
People taking the train have been even more friendly then before, as they've been denied social time with strangers because of the Dread Minus restrictions. She will have to wear a face covering. However, if she sleeps in her own cabin she won't have to and will have a shower. If she goes coach she can hang a veil from a hat while she is sleeping to help her breathe more easily.
As long as she is west of Chicago, the ticket counter and station employees are very nice and helpful. The very nicest train is the California Zephyr, from Emeryville, California to Denver—the most beautiful stretch of Amtrak I have travelled.
Since the Dread Minus hit, Amtrak cars have been among the very nicest public spaces I have frequented, especially since the wealthier people are now unlikely to be taking the train and have been replaced by actual human beings.
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