East Coast Amtrak experts--help please!

Aug 4th, 2004, 08:13 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 133
East Coast Amtrak experts--help please!

Hi All,

I need to get from Philadelphia to Baltimore (near Johns Hopkins) later this month on a Thursday, and on the following day, Friday, from Baltimore to Manassas, VA. Looking at the Amtrak website, I have boiled my options down to these:

1) Phil - BWI (airport)
2) Phil - BAL (downtown)?
3) Phil - WAS (Union Station)and get picked up by friend to drive to Baltimore

1) BWI - WAS - Manassas
2) BAL - WAS - Manassas

1) For the Philly to Baltimore or Washington legs, it looks like there are trains every hour or less. Will I be able to just show up at the station that day and buy a ticket--or do I really need to reserve a specific time? (I already reserved my WAS - Manassas tix because there is only one train at the time of day that I need).

2) Which station in Baltimore is closer to Johns Hopkins? (couldn't find a station map on the Amtrak website.)

Thanks for all your help!

AZWildcat is offline  
Aug 4th, 2004, 08:18 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,476
There is only one AMTRAK station in Baltimore which is Union Station. You could get a taxi to and from Johns Hopkins.
TopMan is offline  
Aug 4th, 2004, 08:33 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 2,881
The BWI station is outside the city, while Johns Hopkins is relatively close to Union Station-Baltimore, so definitely get off at the Baltimore stop.

You can probably show up and get a ticket from PHL to BAL, but recognize there are different prices depending on the type of train. Unreserved are cheapest. Reserved are more expensive. Acela and Metroliner the most expensive.
MikeT is offline  
Aug 4th, 2004, 08:38 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 133
Thanks for the quick and knowledgeable replies!

Guess it'll be PHL - BAL and I'll just "wing it" that day and catch the next departing train once I arrive at the Philly train station!

Thanks again!
AZWildcat is offline  
Aug 4th, 2004, 09:14 AM
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Trains do often fill up, especially the "cheap" (unreserved) ones. I would estimate your departure time and buy a ticket for that time. Amtrak lets you change your tickets for no cost (unless you're changing to a faster/more expensive train). I've done it plenty of times, by phone even, when I wanted to take an earlier train.
suzanne is offline  
Aug 4th, 2004, 09:33 AM
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Posts: 24,213

Just to reiterate others have said, it should be ok to show up at PHL and buy your ticket to Baltimore at the station on the same day. Just beware of the schedule, as there are Acela Express trains which cost quite a bit more. Some non-Acela Express trains require reservation, which is the same price as the UNreserved non-Acela. But in the case of reserved trains, you are guaranteed a seat.
yk is offline  
Aug 4th, 2004, 02:56 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,107
If you find a train going to BWI but not Baltimore/Penn, don't eliminate it completely from consideration.

You can take a MARC commuter train from the BWI rail station back to Penn, or you could take the free bus from the rail station to the airport terminal, then take Light Rail back to Baltimore. Website for both MARC & LightRail is

rb_travelerxATyahoo is offline  
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