View Full Version : Amtrack trains

08-03-2008, 02:07 PM
Has anyone traveled by train instead of by car? Is it better/cheaper? For those that have, what are the pros/cons?

08-03-2008, 02:12 PM
I guess it depends where you are traveling to/from. I enjoy traveling by train and find it better than driving or flying because there is less hassle.

08-03-2008, 03:13 PM
I've traveled cross-country twice--coach only. It was about 13 years ago, so don't remember the cost. But I loved it. The second time I took my almost 6-year old godson and he had a ball. The only bad thing was no shower for 3 days, but you could wash up and change clothes. We took snacks and stuff so we didn't eat in the dining car every day. I'm not a plane person, so I prefer to drive or take the train if I can.

08-03-2008, 03:18 PM
As the pp said, it depends.

I use Amtrak whenever I can, as it saves wear & tear on me.:goodvibes
The San Joaquins go up the center of California and I am able to relax or work when I go the SF or Sac, and don't have to deal with parking.

We took the Coast Starlight and Empire Builder to Minnesota last year & will be taking the Sunset Limited to New Orleans this year on the way to WDW. [We would go all the way if the route had been fully restored post-Katrina, but even with the tracks fixed there is still debate on the issue:confused: ]

I treat the train as part of the vacation. If you are in a quick hurry, it may not be the best choice...unless if you were driving and would have to spend the night you are able to keep moving while you sleep [something most of your passengers would not prefer in the automobile:rotfl:]

I like the freedom to walk around, get something to eat, use a bathroom...all the while not being stuffed into an airplane seat and herded like cattle. If you book a room, meals are included.

If you plan to use Amtrak, book early as prices increase the closer to the date. They offer AAA discounts.

08-03-2008, 03:27 PM
We traveled from NY to disney in '06. and are doing it again this year. This year it is $400 less then flying. I dont want to drive, as i am the only driver in the house. We changed trains in NYC, and then stayed on the same train the whole way down, we did coach as the first calss cabins are extreamly expensive.

If you have any specifics just ask

08-03-2008, 03:53 PM
I can't speak from my own experience, but my MIL and BIL/SIL and their 4 kids just took the Amtrak from Altoona Pennsylvania to Kissimmee FL in July. It took them 28 hours door to door - :scared:

I think they liked the train the first 4-5 hours or so, but after that they said it was noisy, cold and with all of the stops and starts they didn't get a wink of sleep. They were not able to get a sleeper seat, so they were in a regular train seat for the whole trip and other passengers on the train were up and talking all night long..

It was also a hassle trying to get everyone and their luggage to the closest car rental agency (15 minute drive each way) so we had to pick them up in shifts. Honestly, I think driving would have been a much better solution if they didn't want to fly. They won't ever take the train to FL again.

08-03-2008, 04:07 PM
The research that I have done regarding traveling from Northern Ca. to Southern Ca. it works out this way, Greyhound, least expensive, Amtrak, only a bit more, and faster, overall, and then air plane, fastest yet, however, you need a shuttle to/from the airport, and then a shuttle to/from your destination airport, that is how you lose some savings, if you have a nice fat budget for traveling, then not a big difference, however, if you have a smaller budget, or if you are simply interested in saving money, then Amtrak and Greyhound is the way to go.
Amtrak does give a nice discount for AAA roadside service members, as well as other discounts too.
I have not traveled as of yet, via Amtrak, and am looking forward to doing so, I love trains.
Where are you coming from? and are traveling to? and whatever choice that you make, I hope that you have a great trip, and a wonderful time at DL, or WDW, or both. :)

08-03-2008, 04:54 PM
I've looked into it for my family of three to go from Salt Lake to Chicago to visit my parents. Unless I am doing something wrong, it's always cost the exact same as plane tickets. I've been trying to figure out why anyone would want to spend 32 hours on a train versus 3 1/2 on a plane, but maybe I'm plugging the information in wrong??? I imagine for shorter distances it might be worth doing.

08-03-2008, 05:04 PM
If you look at the transportation board you will find many threads on the Amtrak train.

I have taken both the auto train and regular train to Florida.

08-03-2008, 07:56 PM
Over July 4th weekend, we decided to go to Chicago by Amtrak. It was suppose to be a 2 hour train ride. Getting there, it took about 3 hours because the train was delayed and we had to stop for our turn to use the tracks. It was a bumpy ride that left my daughter and I sick.
On the ride home, our train was canceled because of "issues". The station then divided the passengers up based on their stop and we were bussed to the Amtrak stations we were scheduled to get off at.
We were the last of the passengers to leave Chicago (two hours after we were suppose to depart on the train). We were gave water and some crackers. Apparently Amtrak using buses happens often. :mad:
Our bus driver had road rage and tailgated cars in front of the bus. He kept honking the horn and telling us that if Amtrak would have been 5 minutes later to call, he would be drunk at a party by now. We didn't get to our station until after midnight (about 4 hours after we were scheduled to arrive by train).
When I called Amtrak to complain, I was gave credit for future travel. I have been wondering how much I could get if I sold the credit because I don't think I will ever ride Amtrak again!!!
The weekend was suppose to be a small get away. My kids hadn't road a train and I never realized how Amtrak "rolls". I think from now on, my family will travel by car since we don't have problems.

The Disney Bunch
08-03-2008, 09:08 PM
We did the autotrain this past trip & loved it - it does take longer but I liked having my own car there & I could pack it with whatever I wanted so there were no airline bag charges! We paid about $1900 for our minivan, 2 adults, 3 kids in a family suite - which was cheaper than the airfare, a car down there, a car service to take us to & from the airport here. It is a little tight but it was all part of the adventure - We did it in two parts - we left Jersey, drove to Penn, stayed over night & in the morning drove to Lorton VA where we picked up the autotrain in the afternoon - it left later that afternoon & pulled into Orlando the next morning - we got dinner - I got surf & turf (steak with shrimp) there was wine - snacks - a movie. It was fun. We would definitely do it again.

08-03-2008, 10:54 PM
OMG! Maymom, that sounds like a scene from a disaster film, I sure do hope it is not like that for me, that would really disappoint me, not to mention, make me really very unhappy, as well, as to a degree, angry.
I don't see why trains have to be late, in Russia, apparently, their train system runs perfectly. So that is always reported anyway.

08-03-2008, 11:25 PM
OMG! Maymom, that sounds like a scene from a disaster film

Anytime my family goes on vacation, it's a disaster if we take any type of transportation besides our car. Last year when we tried to get home from Disney, we had about 9+ hours of waiting in airports. In Orlando, our plane was delayed because of afternoon storms. When we finally arrived in NC, we missed our connecting flight. The next flight wasn't for several hours. We didn't board until an hour after we should have taken off because our crew was helping another plane get off the ground. Then the airport went down to 1 runway because it was after midnight and there is a noise ordnance. When we arrived in Detroit, there was construction where we were suppose to land and we had to circle the landing strip till an open spot became available. I think our feet finally touched MI soil around 3 a.m.
5 year before that, we had similar things happen when we tried to go to R.I. The kids and I have flown to two destinations and both times, we was one delay after another.
So we hoped that Amtrak would be different. It wasn't and we realize that if we want to travel, it needs to be by car only. We have drove to MA and SC both this year and the worst that happened was delaying our trip home from MA by a day because of the snow storms. Yes dh and I are sleep deprived because we prefer to travel at night, but it works for us.

08-04-2008, 12:02 AM
Once again, oh my goodness! you definitely have had adventures of one sort or another, by plane, or train, o.k. maybe a bit on the misadventure side, but still a kind of adventure, I sure do hope that your next trip goes great, and no snowing! or at least, have snow chains in the trunk, which you may already have. I don't know how to put those things on, but it might be a good idea for me to learn.
I believe that if it took that long for what should have been a much shorter flight, that by the time the plane landed, and my feet are upon the earth, I would do what the pope does, kneel down, praise the lord, and kiss the ground, seriously.

:flower3: Have a great and wonderful trip to,from and during your vacation! :)

08-04-2008, 12:03 AM
I traveled by Amtrak from St. Louis to Dallas last December and I really enjoyed it. I would recommend researching the train you'd be on - the Texas Eagle was a double-decker & I would've hated being on the top level. I paid more (about $10) for a lower level seat and it was MUCH more comfortable & less crowded! I also used Bonine to prevent any motion sickness.

We did run perpetually about 1.5 hours late (give or take) and it wasn't as much fun on the trip back when the train was packed to the gills (around Christmas!), but it was less than half the price of flying, I was able to travel overnight and I had no problem sleeping. Most of our delays were weather related (couldn't go as fast) & related to freight traffic sharing the same tracks.

If I were going to be on the train for more than a day, I would have upgraded to a sleeper car - but apparently you can sometimes upgrade with the conductor for a lower rate if they have one available (I tried, but they were full). There is no guarantee with that though.

Anyway, I enjoyed it enough to want to plan a more extensive train trip with my family later (when DD is a little older).

08-04-2008, 08:04 AM
I've been trying to figure out why anyone would want to spend 32 hours on a train versus 3 1/2 on a plane, but maybe I'm plugging the information in wrong???

Because it's fun! We're planning on the Zephyr from CHI to EMY next October. Just for fun!

08-04-2008, 08:37 AM
I checked out prices for our trip to Orlando (from Ann Arbor) and it was $800 (flights are $1000) but it was TWO train transfers, and 38 HOURS!!! We can drive in 18 or fly in 3!! I really wanted an adventure, but not that much of an adventure!:rotfl2:

08-04-2008, 08:50 AM
We came home from Disney (to Ohio) one time and will never do it again! It took forever (we were 6 hours late) to get to DC, stayed in DC for a couple of days and then headed home. On the way home from DC a gentleman burped in his sleep so disgustingly loud that none of us could sleep. Think of snoring only juicy burping! That all being said, I do take the train to DC to visit my daughter. It is always late, but sometimes just a little. Last time the bathroom backed up and our car smelled like it, but we asked to move to a different car and we had no problems. The ride home was fine. It is about the same as driving cost wise if I am by myself. The plus is I don't have to drive and I can get up and walk around,etc. If I ever decide to go to Florida again by train, I would get a sleeper car, but they are sooooo expensive.