More than 80 trains a day arrive at Washington, D.C.'s Union Station. Amtrak's regular service runs from D.C. to New York in 3¼–3¾ hours and from D.C. to Boston in 7¾–8 hours. Acela, Amtrak's high-speed service, travels from D.C. to New York in 2¾–3 hours and from D.C. to Boston in 6½ hours.
Two commuter lines—Maryland Rail Commuter Service (MARC) and Virginia Railway Express (VRE)—run to the nearby suburbs. They're cheaper than Amtrak, but the VRE doesn't run on weekends, and only one MARC line (the Penn Line) does.
Amtrak tickets and reservations are available at Amtrak stations, by telephone, or online. Amtrak schedule and fare information can be found at Union Station as well as online.
Amtrak has both reserved and unreserved trains available. If you plan to travel during peak times, such as a Friday night or near a holiday, you'll need to get a reservation and a ticket in advance. Some trains at off-peak times are unreserved, with seats assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.
Amtrak. 800/872–7245; www.amtrak.com.
Maryland Rail Commuter Service. 866/743–3682; www.mta.maryland.gov.
Union Station. 50 Massachusetts Ave. NE, Washington, District of Columbia, 20002. 202/289–1908; www.unionstationdc.com.
Virginia Railway Express. 703/684–1001; www.vre.org.