Getting Around By Train

the el

Take the "L" when you are in Chicago.


elevated: something that is up high

get around: travel; go a short distance

practical: realistic; possible; doable

residential: an area where people live

subway: a system of underground trains

trolley: a small train that’s similar to a bus, but it travels on tracks

When you visit a different city or country, how do you choose to get around? Do you walk, drive a car, take the bus, or ride the train? Walking is the easiest thing to do in a city, but if you have a lot of ground to cover, it’s not a practical choice. Cars are expensive and sometimes parking is a problem. Buses are good for riding around within the city, but trains are usually better because they’re faster and they can travel longer distances at a lower cost.

In the United States, many cities have trains that provide transportation inside and outside the city. Cities like Chicago, New York, and Washington D.C. have subway systems located beneath the city. If you have to travel around the city, find a subway map and you will be able to travel just about anywhere underground.

Many cities also have trains that travel above the ground. It’s a great way to see everything. Trains travel through downtown areas and through the commercial and residential districts. Tourist attractions such as museums and shopping districts are easily reached by train. In Chicago, you can take the "L," an elevated system of commuter trains that connect the neighborhoods to the downtown area. San Francisco is famous for its trolley system. Other cities like Denver, Portland, Minneapolis and St. Paul are developing light-rail systems to help meet the needs of a growing population.

For long-distance travel, you can take Amtrak, which is the national railroad system used by passengers who are on business or traveling on vacation. If you want to travel a long distance, a plane is much faster, but Amtrak is cheaper and for some people it’s much more relaxing than a plane. On the east coast of the United States, Amtrak is a very popular way to travel.

If you decide that you want to live in the United States, it’s a good idea to consider finding an apartment or a house that’s close to a train station or a bus stop. Owning a car is really expensive, plus you need to have a driver’s license and car insurance in order to drive. Most immigrants wait a year or two before buying a car. In the meantime, mass transit options (buses or trains) are a great way to save money.

So before you come to the United States, find out which cities have a good public transportation system. It’s easier and less expensive to take mass transit instead of driving, and you’ll meet more people that way.


Now you try it. Read the paragraph above. If you have a microphone, you can record your voice and compare it to my voice.


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