LONDON — Anyone who has ever languished in an airport terminal or broken a sweat during airplane turbulence at 35,000 feet should give Amtrak a try and experience the unique joys that mode of travel can bring: Eight-hour waits in the Chicago yards, foul-smelling microwaved hotdogs, and the unnerving thought of slamming into a car that’s playing chicken on the railroad tracks are all in a day’s train ride, at least when British author Jenny Diski is on board.

In her new book "Stranger on a Train," a companion volume to her highly acclaimed "Skating to Antarctica," Diski writes about two trips she made around the U.S. on a series of Amtrak trains with nostalgic names like "Sunset Limited," and "Coast Starlight." But while the author lives through her share of strange and stressful moments, the book is truly a tribute to America’s railways — and the people who ride them.

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