There's been quite a bit in the press recently about the use of trains for smuggling between Mexico and the U.S. (drugs and people going north; cash and guns going south), so I don't believe I need to delve into the subject in much detail here. I will say that we certainly hear many Wild West-type stories about train hold-ups in some of the rougher, sparsely populated areas of South Texas. We also keep hearing about increased inspections of and seizures from trains in the past couple of years, but I have no way of knowing whether this is true. I suspect freight trains remain a major source of illegal contraband in both countries.
I do have one entirely separate story of my own regarding trains, although I'm not sure of its value. The one and only time my (former) husband took me with him on one of his business trips overseas was on a mid-eighties trip to Switzerland for a conference. One day while we were on the trip, my husband suddenly announced he'd always wanted to visit Lichtenstein and that he'd already obtained information on traveling there as a day trip by train. He said he wanted to go there immediately and that we'd be back at our hotel in time for dinner if we left right away. I was puzzled by his sudden desire to go to a place he'd never even mentioned to me before, but I was curious to see it, so I grabbed a few things and off we went.
The train ride took about an hour and was very pleasant and scenic. When we arrived there, I wanted to climb the hill above the main town area and tour the castle, but my husband insisted on taking a walking trail through the woods along the hillside between the castle and the town that he said someone had recommended. I must admit it was a very pleasant walk, and I remember meeting some interesting people along the path who were also out for an afternoon stroll.
Unfortunately, our walk was all too short. My husband suddenly stopped after about a mile or so and said we'd have to turn around and hurry back if we were to make our return train. He hadn't mentioned anything about this before, and I remember being confused because he'd originally talked about wanting to do and see more while we were there. He practically raced back to the train station as I struggled to keep up--but when we got there we had to wait an hour or more for our train back to the hotel.
To this day, I have no idea why my then-husband suddenly wanted to make this trip, but I've always been glad I got at least a quick look at Lichtenstein. (I haven't been fortunate enough to have been able to visit many other foreign countries.)