It sounds so terribly romantic, a writer sitting on a train, heading across, sitting back with a pad of paper or a laptop, looking out on a landscape changing by the minute as the writer ponders a variety of topics, possibly scribbling one or two really great concrete ideas.
However, that isn't why I prefer to travel by train. It turns out, with few exceptions and a little extra time: train travel for me has been cheaper than flying. It has also allowed me to see parts of the country I might never have seen. In the Central California Valley where most of my travel happens, I get a barometer of what crops are being grown that year, I know which orchards are changing their practices, and which farms have new colts.
I get views of the California aqueduct. Life on the train is different. There is a serenity that gives the writer that time to contemplate, even on a deadline. For the first time in 3 years, I will be heading into LA on the train with some work, but no major deadline. It will be nice for a change. And maybe, just maybe, my short stories will get the recharge they need.