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Should I catch the train from NYC to New Orleans

Should I catch the train from NYC to New Orleans

Jun 27th, 2014, 04:50 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2005
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Should I catch the train from NYC to New Orleans

I looking at catching the train (Amtrak Viewliner Roomette) from New York to New Orleans in mid to late October. But only if there's lots to see on the way. It's a 30-hour trip and this particular fare includes reclining seats that convert into a bed. Can any one recommend it, or should I just fly and spend more time in New Orleans. I don't have a lot of time and thought it would be a good way to see as much of the countryside as possible. Any advice? Thanks very much
pykiwi is offline  
Jun 27th, 2014, 05:31 PM
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I'll give you another option. Fly to Atlanta and then take the Crescent in daylight from ATL to NOL. You would be disappointed to miss the scenery during the night from WAS to ATL.
The neat thing about a roomette is that you pay for the room and you can take along another person just adding another coach fare.
Either fly home from New Orleans or if you have more time, you can ride the City of New Orleans north to Chicago and take the Lake Shore Limited with a roomette back to New York (or fly home from Chicago).
I must say that it has been more than a decade since I rode the Crescent and the City of New Orleans.
tomfuller is offline  
Jun 27th, 2014, 05:37 PM
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Thanks tomfuller. I do like the sound for that but unfortunately I only have the option of NYC to New Orleans because this is part of a lengthy world trip and I have to be in LA by a certain time, so I'm limited as to what I can fit in. If I'll be sleeping for the best part of the trip (view wise) maybe it's best not to take the train?
pykiwi is offline  
Jun 27th, 2014, 05:49 PM
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I would definitely take the plane. The trains are very unreliable in terms of time - often hours late - and while it's more comfy then a train 30 some hours versus 2.5 seeing the wrong end of a lot of towns doesn't make sense to me.
nytraveler is offline  
Jun 27th, 2014, 06:04 PM
Join Date: Oct 2013
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I have not taken this particular train, but have used Amtrak for travel. I saw $150 coach seats during that timeframe. I would not spend the extra $$ on the sleeper car for overnight. The Cresent leaves late afternoon so, shower at home before leaving. You'll arrive the next evening in NOLA and can clean up there. The reclining coach seats are quite nice and roomy. October is prime leaf viewing in the southern states and I would love to take this route at that time of year.
rjasnumberonefan is offline  
Jun 27th, 2014, 06:24 PM
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If the Crescent is on time (sometimes happens), it leaves Atlanta at 8:30AM and arrives in New Orleans about 7:30PM (11 hours in daylight). The coach fare is about $100. Even if it comes in a couple hours late, it gives you the chance to see some night life in the French Quarter.
If you have to be in Los Angeles on a certain date, you might want to fly to Oakland or San Francisco and take the Coast Starlight south from Oakland to Los Angeles. You get to see a good stretch of the Pacific Ocean south of Santa Barbara.
The Coast Starlight is scheduled into Los Angeles at 9PM Pacific time. There is a good shuttle service between the train station and the LAX airport.
How were you planning on getting from New Orleans to Los Angeles?
tomfuller is offline  
Jun 27th, 2014, 06:36 PM
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I'll fly from New Orleans to LA. That's already sorted. And I only have the option of flying NYC to New Orleans or taking the Crescent. So I simply have to choose between the two. I'm thinking I will take the train because it's probably the only time in my life I will and it'll be an experience if nothing else. I understand I'll be seeing the back end of towns, but if there is other stuff to see in between, and as you say rjasnumberonefan, prime leaf viewing, then that sounds pretty good.
pykiwi is offline  
Jun 27th, 2014, 06:48 PM
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Hi pykiwi,

I like taking trains and have taken the train you mention a few times. However, given your time limitations and desire to maximize what you see, I'd probably recommend flying from NYC to New Orleans so you can, as you say, have more time to enjoy New Orleans itself.

If you do choose to take the train you'll get the urban aggolmerations of the Northeast Corridor your first day (Philadelphia,Baltimore, DC) and the rolling hills and farmland of the Deep South Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi your second day. The first day has more classic "photo ops" than the second (Boathouse Row Phila, Philadelphia skyline, lovely Chesapeake bay estuaries, Baltimore skyline, Washington monument, Jefferson memorial). I do enjoy the second day, but more for the tranquility and sociability of the train than any scenic "wow" factor (although there is the odd nice vista). If it's only the northeast corridor sights that interest you by train, you could potentially take the train as far as DC and fly from there to New Orleans instead?

Have fun deciding! Daniel
Daniel_Williams is online now  
Jun 27th, 2014, 09:39 PM
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Spend your time in New Orleans. Amtrak schedules are extremely unreliable because tracks are shared with freight trains which have priority over Amtrak. As a result, you may pass through in the dark a place you were hoping to see because you were scheduled to pass through during the day time. Use some of the time you might have spent on the train to visit a swamp! It will be time better spent.

happytrailstoyou is offline  
Jun 27th, 2014, 10:14 PM
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Sorry to say the Crescent, the TRAIN, is not what it was when the Southern Railway ran it from Washington to New Orleans and I agree you really aren't going to see a lot of "fantastic" scenery along the way. And, it can be quite late just as the Coast Starlight can be...as in hours or so.
Dukey1 is offline  
Jun 28th, 2014, 06:45 AM
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When I was at university, I took the Crescent Limited between South Carolina and New Jersey for holidays. Going south, it got dark soon after Charlottesville and was light somewhere between Charlotte, NC, and Greenville, SC.

Dinner was fresh food, cooked on the train, served on white table cloths with thick linen napkins. The steward never carded me, so I had a nice bottle of wine to ease me into slumber.

Northbound, we got fresh cooked breakfast in the dining car, eggs with bacon or sausage, buttery grits, biscuits, and wonderful coffee in silver-plated pots, all at a price substantially cheaper than flying.

It won't be like this, but it will be interesting. Take a hamper of food and some good books. I have a friend who travels yearly from Boston to Santa Fe in this fashion and would travel no other!
Ackislander is offline  
Jun 28th, 2014, 07:34 AM
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While the scenery is not the most stellar, one thing you might enjoy taking the train for is for the opportunity to meet Americans (a lot of Southerners & folks from the Northeast Corridor) in a social context. Having the roommette, you are "seated" with other passengers in the dining car for meals, people introduce themselves for supper. Sometimes this can be a bit awkward but more often than not, good conversations can ensue & one can almost feel like friends with the fellow passengers with whom you hit it off. If a delay of a few hours seems annoying to you (quite common), though, you'll want to fly instead. Daniel
Daniel_Williams is online now  
Jun 28th, 2014, 04:12 PM
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How much time to you have for travel to New Orleans and visiting there?
KTtravel is offline  
Jun 28th, 2014, 04:36 PM
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Agree it depends on how much time you have for the whole trip and for NO.

I am prejudiced against Amtrak based on a lot of reports I have read here - plus one time they took almost 9 hours to get an elderly uncle from DC to Williamsburg VA (which should be about 3.5 hours) - with no explanation at all. (We were ready to call the police there to checkout why he hadn't arrived when he could finally get phone service to call us.
nytraveler is offline  
Jul 5th, 2014, 12:07 PM
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Thanks everyone for your advice. I have decided to take the train simply because I will always remember I took the train from NY to NO, but won't think twice about a flight ever again. I figure the experience - good or bad - will stay with me forever. Thanks again
pykiwi is offline  
Jul 5th, 2014, 01:01 PM
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Pykiwi: Since you've made up your mind to go, I hope you enjoy long-distance Amtrak travel as much as I do and that includes the several train trips I've taken from the northeast corridor to New Orleans. As long as you expect to be a few hours late, you'll appreciate the experience I hope.
Daniel_Williams is online now  
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