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December 17th, 2009

When was the last time you took a train?

Really, when?

I don’t think I have since… maybe high school. The thing is: I want to. But the price either sucks or the nearest train station is 50 miles away. I’m a fan of rail travel based on the trips I took (including across country) as a kid with my non-flying family, but I also have trouble paying more than a plane ticket, you know?

Posted in Everyday Life

Dave Walls December 18, 2009, 12:08 am

For my last job, I traveled Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor extensively (Anywhere between Washington, DC, NYC, and Boston).

While Amtrak certainly has plenty of flaws (i.e. A rewards program that takes forever to earn a reward, points usually don’t get added manually, Oversold trains, stations that are falling apart, etc.), I’d argue that, at least for those of us in this corridor, Amtrak is the smart way to go, especially when traveling to NYC. I can skip the traffic of Philly , NJ, and those horrible tunnels, and end up right in the heart of Manhattan. Going to DC? I end up at Union Station, and can hop on the Metro to wherever. Same with Boston. Love it.

The Acela high speed line is nice for business travelers, although I can’t really endorse spending that money for leisure travel.

If you’re looking for a cool train ride to Florida from Virginia, try the Auto Train. You travel from Lorton, VA to Sanford, FL (just a bit outside Orlando). It’s an overnight trip with dinner and cont. breakfast included. A bit pricey, but definitely a memorable trip I’ve done several times.

Probably the best part of traveling Amtrak is they are very cool about exchanging tickets for another train. Miss your train, or want to go home sooner? I can walk up, exchange the ticket, and either pay the difference (if the train I want is more expensive), or get a refund/voucher for the credit I’m saving.

I’ve got about $300 saved in vouchers, plus enough reward points for 4 round trip tickets, so my new wife and I will be taking some NYC and Boston trips in the spring. 🙂

Ryan December 18, 2009, 2:15 am

(My mom reminded me that I took the train a number of times in college to return home before breaks. Oops. I’m senile.)

Paul December 18, 2009, 3:27 am

Every day. It’s how I get to and from work.

Rob December 18, 2009, 4:21 pm

My fiancee and I took a train on the day of our engagement, which just happened to be my birthday. We took a ride on the Strasburg Rail Road. Sure, it doesn’t actually go that far, but that’s OK. It’s still a train, dammit.

Aanen December 18, 2009, 9:15 pm

If European trains count, this past summer in Norway. Loved it.

As for the US, I took the train down to Savannah Ga. after I got laid off. It pretty much sucked. There were speed restrictions all the way down. (CSX owns the tracks)What was only supposed to be a 6 or so hour ride ended up taking 13 hours plus. Coming back was even worse. Next time I take Amtrak, I’m forking out the extra $$ for a sleeper for long trips)

Dave Walls December 19, 2009, 5:29 am

Wow, I haven’t even thought about the Strasburg (PA) railroad since I rode that in 3rd grade. I remember it being a lot of fun, but again, I was in third grade. I thought K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider was real.

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