On Friday morning, the La Junta Amtrak Station could best be described as bustling. "I've never seen it so busy here," commented a father from Chicago, helping his family load into a Suburban for the last leg of their trip to La Veta.

Leaving on Thursday night from La Junta, 83 passengers boarded the train. On Friday morning, there were 23 arrivals and 28 getting on the train westbound. A holiday spirit was in the air, with passengers dressed up more than usual.

The train has become more attractive as highways become more crowded and airports more of a headache with delays and cancellations of flights. A recent article in the National Rail Passengers monthly email publication pointed out some of the reasons: two carry-on bags and two checked bags are allowed, the food is good in the diner and you can also carry on your own snacks, the observation car gives you an amazing view of America as you cross the country, and the fare is reasonable. Just be sure to carry something with which to amuse yourself (games, reading material) if you are going a long way. You can recharge your cell phone in the observation car.