Gholum Yavari is a commuter who relies on the Cascades line to get to work in Portland from his home in Vancouver. Because he works in the oil and gas industry, it’s important that he be able to access different parts of the continent where business is booming, and Amtrak helps him achieve that without uprooting his family. Read on for more about his experience commuting on the Cascades every few weeks:
WHEN DID YOU START TAKING THE TRAIN?
I was working in oil and gas, and when oil and gas went down there were no projects, so I found a job in Portland in biogas last February. I’ve lived in Vancouver for 20 years, with my wife and two daughters. Family and everything else is in Canada.
WHY TAKE THE TRAIN?
Because I do projects I travel, but I’m not staying out for three weeks – I travel for a day or two and come back. For commuting with an airplane, you have to go to the airport, be there an hour before; you have to go to the airport and it’s further away from the city and it’s more expensive. It takes maybe more or less the same hours to go [by] train.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT TRAVELLING BY TRAIN?
It’s like a working office for me. I connect to the WiFi and I’m working answering my emails at the same time I’m traveling. I’m busy, so that eight hours doesn’t really feel wrong. It’s just for business.
IF YOU COULD TRAVEL ANYWHERE BY TRAIN WHERE WOULD YOU GO?
I haven’t considered it but I’ve heard from BC there’s a tour that takes you to the Calgary area and I hear it’s very beautiful so maybe one day I’ll do that. LA or Vegas would be good to visit, too.
IF YOU COULD IMPROVE ONE THING ABOUT RAIL TRAVEL, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
The business class looks the same as coach, it’s similar. If they had a fancier business class that would be very nice. The US should have better, faster trains like in Europe. It seems like it would be useful.