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Snowbeing Sep 25th, 2013 01:12 AM

Boston to NY - Acela or NorthEast regional

We are making our first trip to the States at the end of December, and will be in Boston from 2 Jan to 5 Jan, and will then be travelling to NY by train. The Acela seems to be 45 mins quicker, but much more expensive than the North East regional. Is it worth the premium ? On the North East regional is there a significant difference between "economy" and "business class".

As a second question, are there any areas that are more suitable to stay at the time of year (winter). We are not really used to the cold, and I am a little worried that I'm going to hate it because of the weather, but we won't visit the States for a while yet and Boston is definitely on my must see list ....

Thanks for the help.

Rhea58 Sep 25th, 2013 02:29 AM

If money is a concern take the North East Regional.

IMO, there is little difference between economy & business
class. I took this train to Pennsylvania (it was a 5 hr. ride)
over the summer in economy & it was quite comfortable w/
2 bathrooms at the end of the car (no assigned seating)
and a diner car for light refreshments.

Maybe someone else can help w/the 2nd question.

elberko Sep 25th, 2013 04:47 AM

I've taken the regular Amtrak train from Phila. to Boston, and it was just fine...I don't think there's much advantage to paying more for business or Acela. There were bathooms and Wifi.


Centralparkgirl Sep 25th, 2013 06:54 AM

I agree with the others. I don't think the acela is worth the price. I was just on the regional from NY to DC and it was fne, cleaner than most planes that I've been on recently.

There is also a 'quiet' car (usually the 2nd I think) that prohibits cell phone use and loud talking if you're looking for a peaceful ride.

You might get lucky and hit a mild spell, but the Northeast is cold that time of year.

doug_stallings Sep 25th, 2013 07:10 AM

I also generally opt for the regular train. But just a caveat. While you have a reservation, you do not have a specific seat assignment on a regular Amtrak train. Business class is a much smaller section, usually next to the cafe car, so it's easier to get two seats together there. Otherwise, boarding an Amtrak train can be a bit of a zoo. Sundays are particularly heavy travel days, even in January.

capxxx Sep 25th, 2013 07:52 AM

Are you asking about ``areas more suitable'' in the sense of neighborhoods within Boston and New York? Places where you could get around easily and stay warm?

Hmmm. I suppose that depends on what you want to visit. Sidewalk walking will be coldest; standing in busses and subways slightly warmer; and taxis warmest of all. You'll want a coat and hat and warm socks, but you'll feel better if you just have to hop in and out of doors rather than stay outside.

Or do you mean ``more suitable'' for staying warm, as in Florida?

cw Sep 25th, 2013 09:20 AM

I would recommend that you stay in the Copley Square/back Bay Area. There are two connected indoor malls (Copley Place and the Shops at the Prudential) there and three hotels connect directly to the malls--Marriott Copley Place, the Westin, and the Sheraton. If you stay there you have access to various restaurants and shops without going out doors.

There are also other hotels just steps away--Hilton Back Bay, Marriott courtyard, Copley Square Hotel, Colonnade, and Copley Plaza.

Prices for the train go up as you get closer to the travel date so there is an advantage to buying early. Also sit on the left side for the best views.

Lookin_Glass Sep 25th, 2013 09:29 AM

I agree, that time of the year Copley is the safest area to stay in case of winter weather. Also good advice on purchasing tickets early, as rates increase. On a Sunday in early January, I'd just go with the regular train. Backbay station is just across the street from Copley so an easy commute and little time to get cold!

nytraveler Sep 25th, 2013 09:38 AM

I always take Acela but it's for business and the company is paying - and my time matters - since I may go back and forth in one day - at most up one day and back the next. On vacation - if you're trying to stick on a budget - use the regular service. Even for business we don't use first class. This is more comfy then flying and doesnlt take any longer - since you are city center to city center.

Not sure what to tell you about the weather. You call yourself snowbeing - and it doesn;t snow where it's warm. That time of year you will have really cold (heavy coat, scarf, hat, gloves and winter - not fashion - boots that keep your feet above the freezing sidewalk. You will likely have snow, sleet and/or ice. A daily high in the 30s and you may get nights of zero (farenheit, not centigrade). Also, NYC esp can be quite windy and it's VERY cold out on the water.

That said - it;s not Siberia - and frankly I prefer winter weather to summer. Unless you get a major blizzard there is no reason not to stay outdoors for reasonable periods at a time (the whole day would make you chilly).

panecott Sep 25th, 2013 09:59 AM

I agree with all the others about the Acela. It's not worth the extra money, and regular Amtrak service is fine.

Maybe you can clarify what you mean by "other areas to stay that time of year". It's hard to answer as written.

Snowbeing Sep 25th, 2013 10:50 PM

Thank you all for the input and suggestions. Will definitely go for the regular train.

@capxxx and panecott - I was referring to areas within Boston that are more winter friendly, but I think that was answered for me in later posts.

I am from Africa - so no snow here. While I'm apprehensive about the weather - I'm also looking forward to it.

Thanks again

Ackislander Sep 26th, 2013 01:40 AM

Copley Square is a good idea if you can afford it. The connections to the T tram/subway lines are as good as the connection to Amtrak.

How cold will it be? The Charles River will almost certainly be frozen right across though not walkable (!).

On a really cold day, the hair in your nose will freeze, leaving you with a rim of fetching crystals around the end of your nostrils. Scarves and hats and boots and gloves and a heavy coat or many layers are in order. And you will need the same stuff in New York.

travelgourmet Sep 26th, 2013 05:21 AM

I'm going to dissent a bit and say that I find the free-for-all for seats on the Northeast Regional to be incredibly annoying and am willing to pay for the Acela because of that. Having to sit or stand in the aisle because the train is overstuffed is not my idea of fun and it does happen during peak travel times.

Another option that my wife likes (haven't taken it myself), is the Limoliner ( There is some variability in travel time that isn't as much of an issue with the train, but it is comfortable and convenient. It is very often cheaper than the train. Of course, if you really wanted to save money, you could go with Megabus, Bolt, etc.

For places to stay, the Back Bay/Copley Square area is always a decent choice, regardless of weather, but any hotel near a subway stop will work about as well.

doug_stallings Sep 26th, 2013 05:33 AM

Limoliner is actually quite sweet, but I wouldn't do it in early January, when there will very likely be ice or snow. Too much chance of traffic delays.

nytraveler Sep 26th, 2013 08:26 AM

Acela seats are not guaranteed unless you are in first class. The seats in all the other cars are NOT assigned - and first come first serve.

And in winter train is the most reliable form of transit. And bad weather and road is likely to have delays - as is air. A real blizzard will shut down the trains as well - but it takes more snow than it does to make a mess of road and air travel.

tomfuller Sep 26th, 2013 08:48 AM

Just a quick note about the BOS to NYP corridor: Because of a power grid problem, the Acelas are not running today.
The regular trains are running on diesel power trying to keep to schedule with the extra passengers that wanted to go on the faster trains.
Let's hope the power problem is fixed very soon.

Bette Sep 26th, 2013 09:16 AM

They are expecting the NE Regional trains to be quite crowded because of this problem in Connecticut. On the news this morning, they said a fix at least three weeks out. I would hope all is well when the OP is here in January.

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