I met Chiang Mai local ex-pat artist Susan (through Skowmon and Prawat in NY) - she graciously drove me to the train station to catch the long ride back "home" to Bangkok:
this is what my "sleeper car" looks like (not a good night's rest):
Met some folks in the restaurant car while listening to great Thai music. Superman was a Muay Thai (kickboxing) student in Chiang Mai for the last 2 months, very cool guy from New Zealand. BTW, the notion that train food will be bad is culturally specific (the food was amazing). In Thailand there's no reason to assume that food will be bad anywhere. Indeed, it's a safe bet to assume the opposite.