Travel by train?
posted at 12/21/2010 11:00 AM EST
I'm thinking of going to Washington DC area to visit some relatives. I don't want to drive and am not sure that I want to go by air given all the hassles of air travel lately. So I am thinking of possibly taking the train. I haven't traveled by train in the US in a long time. I've heard that service and trains have improved. I am hoping that someone who has traveled recently by train to either Washington, DC or NY will share their experience. I am wondering whether to 1) go by Acela or Northeast Corridor train? - the difference is @ 1 hr of travel time. 2) if I chose the slower train then should I pay for the upgrade to business class rather than commercial seating? 3) Travel out of South Station or Back Bay Station? BB is closer to me but I am worried if I travel at peak times (school vacation wk) that we may not get seats together if we don't go out of SS.
Re: Travel by train?
posted at 12/23/2010 1:12 PM EST
I think this would be a great trip. Penn Station in DC is in the heart of the city. If you chose the slower train I would upgrade to business class. We don't take this route (we're in Albany, NY) but we often take the Amtrak from here to NYC and it's great. My Boston based niece and Providence based daughter both have taken the train to DC and had no issues.
Re: Travel by train?
posted at 12/28/2010 10:27 AM EST
Obviously fares will differ depending on your dates/times but checking rates for going down on a Friday and back on a Monday could result in the Acela being $152 each way. All Acela seating is either Business or First class; the only difference being free meals/drinks (same seat size and room between seats). For the Regional you’d be looking at $93 going down and $132 coming home. On the regional to upgrade to Business class you would pay an additional $47 each way; so the return on the Regional with a Business Class upgrade would actually be more than the Acela. Also, depending on the day you travel you might be able to get a 10% AAA discount on your entire Acela fare where if you were to use a AAA discount on the Regional you would only get 10% of the base fare and nothing off of the amount you pay to upgrade to Business Class. AAA discounts are not available on weekday Acela trips though, so unless you were traveling on a Saturday or Sunday that would be of no use to you. I would go out of South Station as you can assure yourself of getting seating together. Also at South Station if you use the “Red Cap” (a guy who helps you with your luggage) you get to board first; the Red Cap service is free, though a tip is expected.