Have you, or will you, go by train?

Old Nov 7th, 2001, 06:12 AM
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Have you, or will you, go by train?

Enough nonsense about traveling with children and/or fat people.

I have been a train lover for a long time, and I am gratified to think Amtrak may get a little money to help it out as we try to figure out what traveling should be like post- 9/11/01. On the other hand, security would seem to be a much bigger challenge for trains than planes -- the system is so much more open and complicated.

1. Have you taken the train or would you consider taking the train rather than plane for reasons of safety?

2. If you have traveled recently, have you seen signs of significant tightening of security?
Old Nov 7th, 2001, 06:58 AM
Daniel Williams
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I enjoy travelling by train tremendously...I'm often going from Washington-Baltimore, Baltimore-Philadelphia or Baltimore-NYC on the train. I'll even choose it for some medium-distance trips, Baltimore-Boston and even Baltimore-Montreal...because I enjoy looking out the window at the scenery on these trips and while away the time reading a book. While I like that flying gets you somewhere quickly, I have never enjoyed plane travel and only pick it as a mode of transport when it's really the only choice.

Security in the northeast corridor has been somewhat heavier, I've noticed. There are barricades at Baltimore Station and more of a police presence in DC, Baltimore and Philadelphia. If you buy the ticket at the counter, photo ID is asked for. Honestly these changes probably don't prevent much; Amtrak may have to tighten things up in the future.
Old Nov 7th, 2001, 07:16 AM
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The obvious loser here is "Calling it Straight".

Anyway, I have taken the train from DC to NYC once, and will probably do so again. But not because of any safety concerns. It's ridiculous to think that flight is not safe.

I took the train because while you're actually only in the air between DC and NYC for about an hour, between getting to and from the airport, and paying for cabs, it was actually took about the same length of time to take the train, and I had a lot more room on the train. While the train ticket was more expensive, I spent less on the total trip because I didn't need to take a taxi into NYC.
Old Nov 7th, 2001, 02:24 PM
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In response to "Calling it Straight"..Train travel is not for the poor. Have you checked prices at all? The American Orient Express charges 10,000 for a deluxe bedroom. A trip across Canada costs over 3,000. Those are just a few fares I have seen in the last 2 days.

To Tootle..
There are lower fares available. Train travel is not cheap. But if you enjoy it, go for it. We enjoy it and travel by train when we can. I do not commute by train, I am talking about pleasure travel.

Old Nov 7th, 2001, 03:54 PM
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I take Amtrak to NYC for the same reason as Annie: if you include ground travel time and expenses, train travel works out to the same money and lots less hassle.

"Calling it straight": Clearly, you haven't taken a train lately. They're full of middle-class people and students. Lower-class people take the bus nowadays.
Old Nov 7th, 2001, 04:09 PM
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I have never taken a train in the US but I will certainly consider it in light of recent events. The best night's sleep I've had in years was in a sleeper from Edinburgh to London. The motion lulls you into a peaceful sleep.

I'm curious what train travel is like in the US. Do they have first and second class as they do in Europe? I'd love to hear about the quality of train travel here.
Old Nov 7th, 2001, 05:28 PM
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Having lived in a RR town for over 39yrs, I love the train.

If I had the time, I'd travel trains all the time but, rush rush rush.

The best rides I've experienced:

Sacramento to Reno over the Sierra Nevada in the middle of winter.

Hartford to NYC. My first trip to NYC so each quick glimpse of the city skyline was a tease of a treat.

Europe. The trip from Rome to Venice was just amazing.
Lucca to Paris via Florence/Milano was just awesome. Especially the French Alps at sunset.

Next train trip will either be down the Calif coast or up to Seattle.

Wooo Woooooooooooooo!

ps...or maybe the Napa Valley Wine train? Hmmmmmm
Old Nov 8th, 2001, 06:27 AM
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Hello again.

Apparently there was a response by someone called "Calling It Straight" that must have been pretty offensive, because it is now missing.

The price of train travel can be an issue, without question. That's part of the "cost" of not giving it the same support air travel gets. So, although I don't know what "Calling it Straight" said, you can't say it's only for the poor and then say it's too expensive.

For me, it's a pleasurable activity; and there's no loss of time on some of the shorter NE trips when you figure in door-to-door time -- and at least the train still goes regardless of fog or whether other airports around the country are jammed up so equipment can't get to the East.

But I don't see how you can beef up security on trains away from the station -- the Baltimore Tunnel fire springs to mind, as well as the time one sometimes spends sitting on a siding while an express comes through. How can you secure every bridge, every tunnel, etc. etc.?
Old Nov 8th, 2001, 06:48 AM
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Last Saturday, I took train from Penn Station to Trenton, NJ, traveling mid afternoon. I was surprised and a bit uncomfortable there was not visible 'presence' re: security at Penn Station. When I arrived in Trenton there were more police than I've
ever noticed (in the past).
I was able to purchase a ticket on the train (NJ transit)...no questions asked.
Old Nov 8th, 2001, 06:54 AM
Calling It Straight
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Well look at that - Fodors deleted my post. Didn't think it was offensive at all, and to recap for those who missed it, it said that train travel was the lowest form of travel and was generally used by the poor and people afraid to fly. I talking about the long distance east coast routes, not commuting or sightseeing routes. I guess an opinion is no longer allowed on this site? I guess we all must agree, like lemmings to the sea?
Old Nov 8th, 2001, 06:56 AM
Calling It Straight
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I talking??? How about I WAS talking? The morning coffee hasn't kicked in yet.
Old Nov 8th, 2001, 07:50 AM
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I love taking the train and for that reason alone I am glad we now live in Europe. Here are some of the major problems with U.S. train travel:

1. Deplorable stations--i.e., Newark, NJ. The train station needs a MAJOR overhaul there!! I took Amtrak for a few trip this summer that involved boarding in Newark. Most of the escalators weren't working and the ones that were simply weren't wide enough to handle anything more than carry-on size luggage. The elevator was out of order. Redcaps were sort of available but we had to wait 30 minutes for one--suppose we had been in a hurry? When one finally did arrive, he was helpful and courteous. Similar problems in New Haven, CT (along with virtually no signs telling you which track to take).

2. Lack of connections. Trains are only part of a good mass transit system. Taking the train doesn't do you any good if when you arrive there is no taxi, bus or shuttle service to get you to your destination. Not all travelers have friends or family waiting to pick them up. Even small town train stations in Europe offer connecting bus or tram service most of the day.

3. Delays. BIG delays--two hours or more with no apology, just a shrug and the line that "this train always runs late."

4. Inadequate luggage storage on many trains. Fine for commuters, but for anyone traveling for a longer time, it's too bad. Luggage theft also isn't uncommon, sad to say.

5. Overpriced tickets. I can travel first class from Paris to Brussels, for example, in a beautiful new high speed train and have a meal served at my reserved seat, including wine and Belgian chocolates, a taxi waiting for me when I arrive, and so on, for the same as cattle class travel between New York and Philly.

I like traveling by train, but in the U.S., I rent a car whenever possible.
Old Nov 8th, 2001, 11:59 AM
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Perhaps Straight Talking's post was erased because it was st*pid. Well, your conslusion about lower class people and fear of flying are such bugaboos, neo-voodoo, voodoo that you do so well, why would you wonder at Fodors' action? Gosh, don't explain it again, please. Ciao

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