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Author: Subject: Amtrak: Your experience with overnight travel

Extreme Peach





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  posted on 4/30/2009 at 02:10 PM
Contemplating an unhurried trip from the West Coast to Boston via Amtrak with reserved coach accommodations and an 11 year old daughter in tow. Anyone done any similar traveling on Amtrak? How did it work out? If you brought family, did they enjoy it? Any problems with dining, keeping entertained, or changing clothes during the trip?

 

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A Peach Supreme



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  posted on 4/30/2009 at 02:14 PM
I have always wanted to do this. How did you book your trip? Travel agent or directly through Amtrak?

 

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  posted on 4/30/2009 at 02:22 PM
quote:
Contemplating an unhurried trip from the West Coast to Boston via Amtrak with reserved coach accommodations and an 11 year old daughter in tow. Anyone done any similar traveling on Amtrak? How did it work out? If you brought family, did they enjoy it? Any problems with dining, keeping entertained, or changing clothes during the trip?


I did Portland to SF a few years ago with family - two younger boys around 10 & 12 at the time. Only one night but it was great. Food's excellent, movies and activities for kids in lower level of lounge car, nice accomodations (went for larger room at end of car with windows on both sides but able to sleep all four of us), great staff on the cars. I would absolutely do it again without hesitation - even all the way across country. Does Amtrak offer tix that allow you to get off somewhere for a night then catch the next day's train? Might be worth exploring for the longer trip so you could break it up and do some sight seeing. Have fun!

 

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  posted on 4/30/2009 at 02:22 PM
I used to travel to Florida by Amtrak when I was a kid, some 30 years ago, and I remember it being the slowest train ever. It seemed to crawl the entire way.

But this does bring back memories.

I remember playing "Bingo" in the club car, and winning an Amtrack mug.

My cheapo father never allowing us to eat in the dining car. Every time we had to eat cold chicken wrapped in tinfoil....... yuk!!

Getting up in the middle of the night and noticing that the train has been stopped at the station for hours (this was in Columbia, South Carolina). That stupid train never seemed to move!!

[Edited on 4/30/2009 by BarrySmith]

 

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  posted on 4/30/2009 at 02:28 PM
If you don't mind lots of delays, and sometimes inconsiderate freaks, go for it. swine flu is another issue.
 

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  posted on 4/30/2009 at 02:38 PM
I have also always wanted to do the whole across country by train thing but it has got to be pretty expensive. I did do 12 hours each way on Amtrak to Toronto ten years ago. It was a pretty relaxing way to travel but there wasn't very much in terms of scenery in western NY. I bet the scenery gets really cool as you get out west towards the mountains. Would love to do NY to California someday, then drive the coastal highway south from Frisco and end up at the Grand Canyon. That is my fantasy vacation.

 

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  posted on 4/30/2009 at 02:43 PM
The best way to travel by train is through Canada. Take along The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, The Band, Buddy Guy, Delaney & Bonnie, Ian & Sylvia & Great Speckled Bird, Mountain, New Riders of the Purple Sage etc. and a whole trainload of freaks, some southern comfort, and you'll have one great party!

Oh yes, it's been done already. (Festival Express)

[Edited on 4/30/2009 by BarrySmith]

 

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  posted on 4/30/2009 at 02:53 PM
My uncle and my cousins (about 7 and 11 at the time, maybe younger) went from LA to Philly by train. They loved it. From what I remember, they made some stops along the way to see the sights, but overall they had a good experience.

 

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  posted on 4/30/2009 at 03:04 PM
quote:
quote:
Contemplating an unhurried trip from the West Coast to Boston via Amtrak with reserved coach accommodations and an 11 year old daughter in tow. Anyone done any similar traveling on Amtrak? How did it work out? If you brought family, did they enjoy it? Any problems with dining, keeping entertained, or changing clothes during the trip?


I did Portland to SF a few years ago with family - two younger boys around 10 & 12 at the time. Only one night but it was great. Food's excellent, movies and activities for kids in lower level of lounge car, nice accomodations (went for larger room at end of car with windows on both sides but able to sleep all four of us), great staff on the cars. I would absolutely do it again without hesitation - even all the way across country. Does Amtrak offer tix that allow you to get off somewhere for a night then catch the next day's train? Might be worth exploring for the longer trip so you could break it up and do some sight seeing. Have fun!


Does Amtrack have privite sleeping room like the old trains?

 

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  posted on 4/30/2009 at 03:10 PM
I took the Auto Train from Orlando to DC , you could've timed it with a calender, sooooooooo slow, I'm glad I had my one hitter,couldn't have done it with out it.

 

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  posted on 4/30/2009 at 03:12 PM
I just checked for the hell of it. A round trip from NY to Denver(I would love to do Red Rocks) for one coach seat is $358.00, $179.00 one way. It is about a 39 hour trip. I didn't check for the sleeper cabins but I'm thinking those would be hella expensive.

 

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  posted on 4/30/2009 at 03:17 PM
Yeah, I just checked. Wow! Add $358.00 to your ticket price for the smallest cabin. Each way!!! Way out of my means.

[Edited on 4/30/2009 by sixty8]

 

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  posted on 4/30/2009 at 03:35 PM
Have done two long distance train trips, one across Canada on VIA and another from Jacksonville to NYC and back, with family.

Like others have said above, not cheap by any means and not fast nor necessarily on time.

The sleepers are nice and expensive but private, they convert to lounge chairs during the day.

It's an experience, one your daughter would most likely never forget.

But pricey.

My kids brought all their electronics which kept them busy.

The adults of course loved the trip, I suspect the kids when looking back on it will think the same.

 

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Extreme Peach



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  posted on 4/30/2009 at 04:04 PM
Thanks for the replies so far. Has anyone done multiple nights in reserved coach (no sleeper room)? While it looks like the seats are very comfortable it does look it might be too close to a Greyhound experience for sleeping.

 

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  posted on 4/30/2009 at 04:26 PM
I have always wanted to do a train trip, so I could take in the scenery and enjoy the ride, but the cost has always put me back behind the wheel

As long as the journey is part of the trip, the cost will probablly be worth it in the long haul. Flying is cool, and if you purchase tickets well in advance you can get some good bargains. I would go for it If you got the Funds.

 

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  posted on 4/30/2009 at 04:34 PM
Out of curiosity, I pulled fairs for my planned trip to ATL in early Fall. Over twice the cost of car rental with gas, and it will take almost twice as long.*

Eff that.



*although the five-hour layovers in DC would be enjoyable

 

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  posted on 4/30/2009 at 04:49 PM
quote:
The best way to travel by train is through Canada. Take along The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, The Band, Buddy Guy, Delaney & Bonnie, Ian & Sylvia & Great Speckled Bird, Mountain, New Riders of the Purple Sage etc. and a whole trainload of freaks, some southern comfort, and you'll have one great party!

Oh yes, it's been done already. (Festival Express)

[Edited on 4/30/2009 by BarrySmith]



LOL

 

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  posted on 4/30/2009 at 05:01 PM
my experiences with amtrak are dated, but they might be worth something. I took a train from laramie? wyoming to sacramento overnight in the late '70s & most of the best scenery went by when it was too dark to see. I slept in the seats & several people with their own rooms decided to come out to the seating area and hold a conversation at daybreak, so that's when I was all finished sleeping, not by choice. went from nyc to atl in 2003 (again overnight) and had my own room--there was a full moon & the train went really fast, so I could see the landscape by moonlight & I knew when I was back in the south when I saw plenty of kudzu! incredibly enough the train pulled into atlanta early & I could have made it to work on time (that was my plan) but MARTA broke down when I was 3 miles from work and I had to have somebody come get me! couldn't believe I got that far & public transportation let me down. I know various people who have gone from atl to new orleans and apparently freight trains have priority on that line, so who knows when you will get there...
 
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True Peach



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  posted on 4/30/2009 at 05:58 PM
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Out of curiosity, I pulled fairs for my planned trip to ATL in early Fall. Over twice the cost of car rental with gas, and it will take almost twice as long.*

Eff that.



*although the five-hour layovers in DC would be enjoyable



Hey Randy, Chicago is the five-hour layover for the trip I checked out from NY to Denver. If I ever do it we could meet up for some deep dish pizza and I might even try one of those Chicago salad hot dogs!

 

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  posted on 4/30/2009 at 07:58 PM
I used to travel to NYC on the George Washington, that I caught at Ashland, KY, then changed trains in DC. That was because B&O and C&O were different companies at the time. That all changed and we never had to change in DC. Nothing like a train ride.

 

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  posted on 4/30/2009 at 09:58 PM
Amtrak trip of about 12 years ago was the best vacation of my life. I took my--then intact--family...the girls were about 8 and 10. We booked a deal that allowed for disembarking 3 times and staying for however many days we chose at those locations. We left Cincy on the Cardinal....made our way (Coach) into Chicago. Got aboard the California Zephyr heading West. Stopped in Glennwood Springs Colorado and spent 4 days with an old college chum...got back on....went to Lake Tahoe...spent 3 or 4 days there. Actually then FLEW to Phoenix--we could have taken the train but that part would have been a hassle...Reno to Phoenix air was only about 29 buks each. Visited with a friend in Scottsdale for 3 or 4 days....made our way to Flagstaff and got back on the Southwest Chief and went straight to CHicago.....then Cardinal back to Cincy.

Very inexpensive when all things considered....meals were superb....certainly enjoyed the 'glass touring cars' with the BAR!!! Pounding a few beers and watching the sites go by. My daughters had a blast....the train staff took great care of them and you make a lot of friends on the train during the trip. The sleeping accomadations were cool...it took a nite or two to get used to the 'groove' but it was fine. The scenery on those two trains was just unbelieveable and you can sit and enjoy it. Throw your watch out of the window....timetables as in 'air travel' are irrelevant. Sit back and relax. My daughters still talk about that trip and we all say we're gonna do it again some day. Would love to do the "Empire Builder'' which travels across the Northern tier of states...along much of the same route that Lewis & CLark traveled.

One thing we learned by accident during the trip is that 'train travel' is probably the most efficient and economical way or travel. Beats airlines by strides....granted it does not always meet TIME requirements. Biggest problem is that the Airline industry/lobbyists have done everything they can to torpedo passenger train travel whenever it gains any momentum. They talk that train travel is "Government Subsidized".....CRAPOLA when you do the investigating. They are forced to pay for stuff that the airlines get for free....so it is the airlines that are really 'subsidized'. We sat with the President of the Railriders Assoc. on one leg of the trip.....he filled us in bigtime!!! I've done some research and he is/was RIGHT!!! It appears Mr. Obama may be a supporter of "Rail"....ole Bush did everything he could to shoot it down.....oil companies and airlines don't like the competition.!!!

Take the trip!!! Can we go with you???!!! (Actually have tho't about a train trip to Colorado for the Red Rocks and Aspen shows!!!)

 

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  posted on 4/30/2009 at 11:18 PM
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.ole Bush did everything he could to shoot it down.....oil companies and airlines don't like the competition.!!!



Just like his brother, Jed, I mean Jeb did to a proposed rail system that would have been a big blessing to Floridians.

 

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Extreme Peach



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  posted on 5/1/2009 at 12:14 PM
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Take the trip!!! Can we go with you???!!! (Actually have tho't about a train trip to Colorado for the Red Rocks and Aspen shows!!!)

Funny that you mention a Colorado destination. Right now working on Amtrak to Denver to see some friends near Boulder. May to this rather than the complete cross country jaunt as I'd love to see both the Sierras and Rockies via the train route.

One thing that I'm still waiting to hear some comment on is sleeping in reserved coach rather than the nicer (and pricey) sleeping accommodations. It seems like everyone who has done an overnight trip went the more deluxe route. Anyone slept in reserved coach?

 

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  posted on 5/1/2009 at 12:46 PM
My brother took his family (two young sons) from Kalamazoo to Washington state about 10-15 yrs ago and swears by it, so much so he is going himself (alone at age 60) from Chicago to SanFran this summer

oneday, someday.. I'm gonna head from denver to sacramento or vice versa

saw it on travel channel, looks like a beautiful trip if it is scheduled right

 

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  posted on 5/1/2009 at 12:48 PM
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My brother took his family (two young sons) from Kalamazoo to Washington state about 10-15 yrs ago and swears by it, so much so he is going himself (alone at age 60) from Chicago to SanFran this summer

oneday, someday.. I'm gonna head from denver to sacramento or vice versa

saw it on travel channel, looks like a beautiful trip if it is scheduled right




Take that train to Denver and come to Red Rocks, Capn! It's one seriously great time.

 

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