For All You Trainspotters A Very Unusual Photo
Trainspotters = "Foamers" in some countries
This pix was taken a few days ago and uploaded to a USA based website (railpictures.net) that specializes in amateur photogs' pixs of all things railroading (railpictures is a kind of still pixs version of YouTube-FREE; some of the pixs go back dozens of years ago from someone's private collection). The pixs are from around the globe, but mostly from the USA. There are over 500,000 pixs on this site, and it has an excellent search algorithm for anyone wanting to locate any kind of a subset of the pixs.
I must admit that when I first saw this pix, I was very, very surprised at its location. Almost all of the pixs have an ID caption; this one does not except for it location--Mongolia. Yes, that's right Mongolia.
Since it didn't have an ID caption, it is unknown whether the men in this pix are Mongolian citizens, OR perhaps tourists from another country traveling via their cycles, etc.,. There was a recent tour of Iran by a group of "seasoned" globe-trotting trainspotting amateur photogs that uploaded all kinds of RR oriented pixs to this site, and there were a few Americans in this group of about a dozen, and it did not appear that any of them were Muslims/Iranian born expatriates, etc,. The "tour" was arranged by some travel company that caters to trainspotters & arranging tours of various RRs around the globe. I mention this Iranian tour since none of the ID captions commented on any negative security encounters with Iranian "police" so someone did a great deal of 'homework/groundwork' in keeping the peace with the police, as well as getting ordinary Iranian RR workers to pose in some of the pixs. And I have zero idea how any of these photogs are able to afford/finance their excursions to these foreign countries.
Sometimes stereotypical imaginary images of what day to day life in some foreign country is like are totally wrong, and the shattering of stereotypes can occur in very unexpected ways to include trainspotter websites.
This is a pix from the Iranian Trainspotters tour (May, 2016) from railpictures.net
In this dining car scene are some/all of the trainspotters (the ID caption didn't say who's who), plus ordinary Iranians (and I dare hope that there are no 'secret police' types either).
The scene is very reminiscent of the "glory days" of American RRing, i. e., you're not going to find this style dining car anymore except on a handful of tourist/museum RR excursions.
If it wasn't for the politicians, perhaps it's not to much to hope for that we in the USA (and elsewhere) could find a way to get along with the Iranians, as the folks in this pix demo.
I'm not much of a train buff but always choose to travel by train if possible. This is how my last journey looked this month.
In many countries, I'd suggest that unfettered access to the driver is a dim memory in the minds of the (very) elderly. I travelled by train up the east coast of Aust and by the old narrow gauge Ghan (before it was closed down) from Alice Springs. I did not appreciate travel such as this back then, but it does have some appeal now. Problem is, rail travel (apart from commuting) has become the purview of the Wealthy these days.
I've got a shovel you could borrow, Q.
I drove the Eurostar, once. It was a bit quick.
I loved travelling on the TGV, in France. A smoother ride I have never experienced. When it pulled away, I hadn't even noticed it was moving, until I looked out of the window!
Their Corail was kinda groovy, too. I travelled on that just after we'd introduced our Inter-city 125 and it was being trumpeted as being the greatest thing, ever. Ha! The Corail was heaps better.
I'd love to do The Ghan and the Indian Pacific, too, Leigh. I never will, sadly.
That would be a bit cooler and more comfortable.
One trip I'd love to do is the Trans Siberian, like you, Katzy, it probably ain't gonna happen!
Addendum-Correction Re Amtrak Dining Car Service
In my post about the bygone days of dining car service, I confused myself between Amtrak's "Cafe Car" and their "Dining Car", and ranted about their demise-wrong; their cafe car is a snack bar level of food, and their dining car is just that-pix attached. Their dining car seating layouts vary.
What level of service you will get on any given Amtrak train is not anything that I can speak to, i. e., anyone traveling any distance on an Amtrak train could probably stand to use the services of a travel agent who has experience with such trains and what to expect/not expect re menu choices/quality/etc.,.
In the area of "old fashion" train travel to inlcude SOME trains that look virutally identical to the post WWII era, i. e., the glory/golden age of RRing, and others with a modern heritage, Canada has some that take you through some absolutely beautiful, scenery wise, lands through their western mountains (YouTube has many uploads), and for those who remember/know about dome cars which are part of some trains. The visibility of the scenery of course will depend on the variable of the weather. Again a travel agent can be a great resource.
Some of these Canadian trains are of the "grand tour" type that last several days, include visits to historic sites, etc.,. They are also very expensive.