A number of you may notice that this selection was cut and pasted from my recent "Tell Me About Amtrak..." posting. However, since I was message #17 in that string, I thought some of my suggestions might help more people on a new string.
One more suggestion for those who are travelling to neighboring cities unreserved at certain times...look into the commuter rail as well for convenience! I often take MARC Balto-Wash DC (on weekdays only; sometimes these are express with only the same stops as on Amtrak!) for $5.75 one way/$10.25 roundtrip! Wilmington-Phila. and Phila.-Trenton can be done on SEPTA; Trenton-Newark-NY on NJ transit; NY-New Haven on Metro North RR; DC-Fredericksburg on VRE.
Here is my previous posting:
While I believe Tom probably did have a bad experience, I would say, on the whole that Amtrak from NY to Boston is the way to go, particularly now with the new Acela Regional (4h NY-Boston) and hopefully soon with the Acela Express (3h NY-Boston). Make sure to check listings because some trains take longer than others.
Certainly, Amtrak does have its troubles. I took the train from Richmond to Baltimore this past weekend and the train was an hour and a half late arriving in Penn Station due to a freight car trouble. However, considering the number of times I take the train, I would say Amtrak's on-time average is very good. For this trip, I pulled out a good book and was fine. Honestly, I've had far worse luck with flying and driving in the past as far as delays are concerned.
Since I travel on the train a lot, I have a few helpful hints for the beginning train traveller. One trick to improve your luck is to pick a train that originates as close to your starting destination as possible (i.e., I shoulda picked one starting in Richmond, I was on one originating in Newport News). That way you minimize possibility of delays. If your travel starts within the northeast corridor (NY-Phila-Balt-DC), I've never once been more than 10 minutes late picking a train that started in NY or Washington. As trains begin further south and occasionally further north, that's where the problems can arise.
If travelling within the northeast corridor, there are lots of trains; consider alternate plans; being flexible can save you much time. For example, I often go from Washington to Baltimore. It has happened that I've seen that my unreserved from the South has been delayed, but that there is a Metroliner leaving earlier bound for Baltimore/New York. For a little extra (only $3 -$5 to Baltimore!!!), I bought a Metroliner ticket (or once I asked the ticket agent for an upgrade from reserved coach to Metroliner) and off I went BEFORE the delayed unreserved has arrived!
In fact, for unreserved trains, I would suggest NOT buying them in advance! Go to the QuikTrak machine or agent when you get to the station; you can arrive at the station and be on a moving train (particularly with QuikTrak) in 5-10 minutes if you time it right.
Happy travels! Dan.
Some Helpful Suggestions for Those Using Amtrak in the Northeast
- 1 Updates from Hanalei
- 2 Columbus food !
- 3 Hotels in New Orleans
- 4 Chicago Architectural Tours
- 5 Reasonably priced seafood/steak restaurant near the strip in Las Vegas?
- 6 A trip to east coast vs a trip to Hawaii
- 7 10 day Hawaii Vacations
- 8 San Francisco - Exploratorium
- 9 New York, New York...my kind of town
- 10 Logan Express
- 11 One day in NYC
- 12 Cast Party at Birdland Monday nights
- 13 Great Beach's
- 14 Charleston, SC and Wild Dunes
- 15 National Parks?
- 16 Going to Dodge City, Kansas
- 17 Death Valley in November
- 18 Hotels in NYC 26th-29th August (2013)
- 19 Blue ridge parkway
- 20 Minnesota State Fair
- 21 Another apartment rental scam in NYC
- 22 Jackson Hole & Yellowstone
- 23 Best ice cream in Charleston
- 24 Fires in Colorado
- 25 Seattle in July