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Old 08-26-2012, 07:41 PM   #1681
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pwdebbie
That graphic is just what I needed to see. So there is only seating for about twelve people in the lower level? And the bathrooms are down a hallway -- that is so much better than what I pictured. What is in the shaded area at each end of the train car?
That is where the "trucks" are; the wheels and axles.
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Old 08-27-2012, 08:43 AM   #1682
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Re: water on the train.

If you are in a sleeper car, don't bother to pack water. Amtrak provides lots of bottled water for the rooms, and also has some extras in the lounge car.
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Old 08-27-2012, 08:54 AM   #1683
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Quote:
Originally Posted by la79al
Mykidslovesdisney--thanks for the super detailed report!

Couple of questions for anyone. After some delay and drama, we finally booked our week at the condo. Problem is, that week for the AT is about $150 more than the other weeks we were looking at. Super budget trip so now I'm starting to panic. Does anyone know of any ways to 'earn' Amtrak travel? I know about Guest Rewards but haven't really seen any businesses on there that I could use. I know about the credit card, but doubt I could get one, being a SAHM with a huge student loan debt. I am just hoping against hope that there is some other trick. Next questions-if I book now for myself and the 2 kiddos, but then my mom wants to ride with us, can I add her later? Right now, oversize vehicle (which I think our van is, by 2 inches) is about $110 more than regular vehicle. What are the chances of them adding more space for oversize vehicles and the price coming down? Again, hoping against hope. My 4 year old and I are super excited about taking the AT so that part of the plan is not going to change, just might need to reconfigure some things. TIA!
I'm sorry to hear your price has increased.

Besides the Amtrak credit card, you can also transfer points from your Master Card with Ultimate rewards, if you have one of those.

You also get 500 points to refer someone to Amtrak when they take their first trip.

There are special promos through out the year where you can get bonus points for your travel, too.

As for adding your mom, you'd prob have to call Amtrak to make sure it is handled correctly. If she books by herself, she will have to bring a vehicle along. So you'd want to make sure to modify your ressie, not book a new one for her.

I doubt prices will come down for seats or vehicle...perhaps if your mom joins you may be able to use her car and see if Amtrak can switch you, assuming the car price is still cheaper.

Best of luck and enjoy your travel!
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Old 08-27-2012, 12:57 PM   #1684
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We looked into using points last year, I think it was something like 20k for a trip. There are AAA discounts and midweek travel is cheaper than weekends.
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Old 08-27-2012, 01:30 PM   #1685
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imlazar
We looked into using points last year, I think it was something like 20k for a trip. There are AAA discounts and midweek travel is cheaper than weekends.
Plus you have to use points for your vehicle, too.
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Old 08-27-2012, 02:15 PM   #1686
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Originally Posted by Marshay View Post
Plus you have to use points for your vehicle, too.
We just booked using points for our return trip in May for 30,000 points. 15,000 for a regular car, 15,000 for a roommette.

Here's a link to rewards site, you have to click on "view the zone map" to see the auto train rewards (roommette would be for one zone).

https://www.amtrakguestrewards.com/redeem
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Old 08-28-2012, 08:28 AM   #1687
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jad215

We just booked using points for our return trip in May for 30,000 points. 15,000 for a regular car, 15,000 for a roommette.

Here's a link to rewards site, you have to click on "view the zone map" to see the auto train rewards (roommette would be for one zone).

https://www.amtrakguestrewards.com/redeem
How easy was it to do? And was that round trip or one way?

I am soon at enough points once I transfer in my Ultimate rewards...not sure how that all is done yet but we're hoping to do in 2014 or 2015.
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Old 08-28-2012, 09:16 AM   #1688
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How easy was it to do? And was that round trip or one way?

I am soon at enough points once I transfer in my Ultimate rewards...not sure how that all is done yet but we're hoping to do in 2014 or 2015.
The process is very easy. You have to call the guest rewards number. That was for one way (sanford to lorton). I looked to see which way was more expensive and we used points for that trip and paid cash for the other (lorton to sanford...using AAA discount it was $477 for the car and roommette, but we also book really early).
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Old 08-29-2012, 09:10 AM   #1689
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Our family is seriously considering the Auto Train for our 2013 trip. My question is this: if your car is the last one off (we're considering my streak of luck, here), how long is the wait from the time the train disembarks?

I'm thinking of my hubby here. He suffers from anxiety and doesn't do well standing in any one place for very long (constantly has to be on the move). So, waiting in a train station for two hours after we disembark might make me change our plans to a flight instead (which I would not like to do.....the Auto Train will save us close to $1,000).

Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-29-2012, 09:27 AM   #1690
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FigmentChick View Post
Our family is seriously considering the Auto Train for our 2013 trip. My question is this: if your car is the last one off (we're considering my streak of luck, here), how long is the wait from the time the train disembarks?

I'm thinking of my hubby here. He suffers from anxiety and doesn't do well standing in any one place for very long (constantly has to be on the move). So, waiting in a train station for two hours after we disembark might make me change our plans to a flight instead (which I would not like to do.....the Auto Train will save us close to $1,000).

Thanks in advance.
On our recent trip, our car was one of the last ones off, probably in the last 25 or so and our wait was about an hour from the time we de-trained.

The stations in Lorton and Sanford are large with places to stand or sit or go outside and wander. Thats what I did when we were waiting.

I have pictures of the station that I hope to post sometime soon.
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Old 08-29-2012, 09:33 AM   #1691
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we just came home Sunday and we were near the end too and it was exactly an hour- we were talking to people next to us so it went really fast.

They do a pretty good job getting you out quickly. I hear if your last you get an Auto Train mug
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Old 08-29-2012, 09:38 AM   #1692
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we just came home Sunday and we were near the end too and it was exactly an hour- we were talking to people next to us so it went really fast.

They do a pretty good job getting you out quickly. I hear if your last you get an Auto Train mug
Do you remember what you car number was? There was a family sitting near us that was convinced there's was going to be the last car out (as were we). Our car number got called so I never did find out if there's was last? It's funny sitting there waiting for your number to be called, you can see the disappointment on peoples faces as the other people get up to leave
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Old 08-29-2012, 09:39 AM   #1693
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Originally Posted by denise5374 View Post
On our recent trip, our car was one of the last ones off, probably in the last 25 or so and our wait was about an hour from the time we de-trained.

The stations in Lorton and Sanford are large with places to stand or sit or go outside and wander. Thats what I did when we were waiting.

I have pictures of the station that I hope to post sometime soon.

All of this is totally true to our experiences on the way down and back. We were literally the last train to be emptied on the way back. An hour is a perfect assessment.
Plenty of room to walk around inside and outside.

Go for it -- we loved it and will be doing it again without hesitation.

The meal times really break things up for you as well, when on the train -- so much more room with walking around to lounge, etc. and even in between the seats. We had the last row of seats in one of the cars on the way back and we had this extra like standing room which I used alot and just leaned over the back of the kids seats if they were playing a game or something. Plus you could go sit at real tables in the lounge and bring cards or games or something.
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Last edited by DJFan88; 08-29-2012 at 09:42 AM. Reason: for clarity
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Old 08-29-2012, 10:07 AM   #1694
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I'm sure the time waiting will depend on the number of vehicles on the train that day - but if you're the last car off, you'll get a nice Amtrak souvenir coffee mug to take home! We use ours proudly
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Old 08-29-2012, 10:25 AM   #1695
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Originally Posted by denise5374 View Post
Do you remember what you car number was? There was a family sitting near us that was convinced there's was going to be the last car out (as were we). Our car number got called so I never did find out if there's was last? It's funny sitting there waiting for your number to be called, you can see the disappointment on peoples faces as the other people get up to leave
We were 433 or 443. Were you the couple that dropped your son off from school and had the cute dogs?

I see you are from Philly suburbs- so are we.
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