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If you ever want six or seven hours of uninterrupted reading, take the Amtrak from Union Station to St. Louis. Sure, you could drive the same distance in about four hours, but you’d miss the history, the spirit of adventure and the uniformed porters — all things you’d ponder whenever the train stopped, miles from any station, for no apparent reason. And what about the $8 billion in federal stimulus grants awarded to rail projects this year? Journalist and teacher James McCommons looks at the divide between what trains could offer green-minded travelers and what Amtrak delivers in an entertaining new book with a 17-boxcar title: Waiting on a Train: the Embattled Future of Passenger Rail Service — a Year Spent Riding Across America. McCommons speaks at 6:30 p.m. at the Kansas City Central Library (14 West 10th Street, 816-701-3400). A reception at 6 precedes his talk. Reservations are recommended.

Thu., May 27, 6:30 p.m., 2010

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