How Her Train Travel Turned into an Unforgettable Adventure

Heidi Fitterling and Grandmother

Train travel lends itself to striking up conversations with strangers–and you just never know where it can lead. For Heidi, a loyal Amtrak rider since she was a teenager visiting her grandmother, meeting a stranger she’d never forget, happened a year after graduating high school.

Heidi would make routine weekend trips on the Keystone from Boston, Mass., where she lived, to Lancaster, Penn. At the time Heidi was working unsatisfying jobs and had a lot on her mind. On one of her trips to Lancaster, a charming young man asked to sit next to her. The two found common ground in books and train travel.

“He made me forget I was down and we ended up gabbing all the way to Providence, R.I., where he was in school.” Eventually, he invited Heidi to get off the train in Providence. Hesitantly, Heidi got off.

“I always imagined he was an angel that came to my rescue at a very down time, like he saw my sadness and wanted to ease it–my angel on Amtrak.”

It was an unforgettable visit that included playing pool with the stranger and his friends. Though they had a wonderful time, “We never exchanged names or numbers, but he did give me Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg–one of my favorite authors, too!,” Heidi says. It’s a souvenir she still has almost 20 years later.

Heidi Fitterling #AmtrakStories

Today, Heidi is married to another man and remains a devoted Amtrak rider.

“I love that I can curl up, read a book and meet new people,” she says.

She’s even passing down her love of train travel to another generation: Vera, her 3-year-old. Vera is already a train travel pro, riding Amtrak since she was just six months old. Heidi calls their trips “our little adventure.” To us, that seems fitting.


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