Dear Tell All: I'm excited about the upcoming high-speed passenger rail service between Madison and Milwaukee - and not just be-cause it will get me to Summerfest quicker than my car. No, the part that thrills me is the possibility for romance on the round-trip voyage. I'm a huge fan of movies like Brief Encounter, in which Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson have an adulterous romance after meeting by chance in a train station. Then there's Twentieth Century, in which John Barrymore tries to win back Carole Lombard on a luxurious train.
I see myself heading to one of those glassed-in compartments where the seats face each other. I have a cocktail in my hand, and I bump into a tall, dark stranger in the narrow aisles. The train lurches right, throwing me into his arms. We disembark at the next stop - Watertown - and kiss passionately on the platform as steam envelops us, suggesting our uncertain future.
The only problem is, I'm not exactly sure what the high-speed train to Milwaukee will be like. Any chance my fantasy could come true?
Dear Ticket: Some parts may come true, while other parts won't.
Forget about the old-fashioned glassed-in compartments with seats facing each other. The train will have rows of modern, efficient-looking bucket seats, all facing forward. However, there will be a narrow aisle between the rows, all the better for bumping into your tall, dark stranger.
Another place you might meet this dude is in the Bistro Car. It will serve food and beverages, and passengers will be able to stand in a dining area equipped with bar countertops. The countertops will have handholds to ensure that you don't fall into anyone's arms when the train goes around a curve. But who's to say you have to hang on to them very tightly?
Unfortunately, you and your stranger won't be enveloped in steam when you disembark. These trains are powered by diesel electric engines, unlike the ones that dominated the tracks till the mid-20th century. You'll just have to create your own steam when the tall, dark stranger comes to your house to return the scented handkerchief you left behind in the Bistro Car.