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Old 01-14-2004, 05:24 AM   #46
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I have just started looking at rates for 8/04. I have just convinced my dh to take the autotrain on the way back home. He tells me why not do it round trip. I am just afraid if we go down with autotrain and hates it.

Do you get meals only if you book a sleeper? Do you get your own restroom if you have just the standard bedroom (beds for 2?).

Wondering if I should book now. Please e-mail or send me a private message. I do not get e-mail notifications. Thank you in advance.
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Old 01-18-2004, 03:39 PM   #47
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Okay, it's me again. I just reserved the trip coming home for August 04. Could not remember the details of lower level and regular coach upstairs. Amtrak told me less seating lower level, this is where restrooms are and that these seats usually goes faster. I have read all the posts here, but don't understand the compartment thing. Also, if we want to sit at the tables/play cards, etc., is there a car in the lower level or just upper level? Thanks. PM me please. I receive no e-mail to threads I reply to.
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Old 01-18-2004, 04:03 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally posted by AnnaS
Could not remember the details of lower level and regular coach upstairs.....I have read all the posts here, but don't understand the compartment thing. Also, if we want to sit at the tables/play cards, etc., is there a car in the lower level or just upper level?
In a Superliner coach such as those used on Auto-Train, most of the seats are on the upper level. Some, necessairily used by persons with mobility impairments who cannot negotiate the stairs above, are on the lower level and otherwise available to all passengers. They are closer to the restrooms (none found on the upper level) and the doors, and there is generally less of the sideways "sway" motion that seems to bother a few first time travelers. On the downside, car to car passageways are only on the upper level of the Superliner. So, to reach the dining car for meals or lounge car for snacks (also where the tables you inquired about are located) you have to go upstairs.

By "compartment thing", are you referring to the sleepers (some older railway passenger cars had both "bedrooms" and "compartments", and they were definitely not the same thing) or simply to how the coaches are laid out?

Meals in the dining car are included in your ticket price for all passengers (on Auto-Train only). The Superliner standard bedroom does not have restroom facilities; a small restroom is on the upper floor, and larger restrooms (and showers) are on the lower level. Most standard rooms are on the upper level. Only the deluxe bedroom, upper floor only, has private restroom and shower in the room.
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Old 01-21-2004, 11:17 AM   #49
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Sorry if this has already been asked.....

Based on the last few posts, it seems as though the ride has somehow become bumpier than in the past. When we took the AT back in 2001, my poor DH didn't sleep a wink because of the bumps, bangs, and deep swaying. I'm not gonna tell him it may be worse now!!

Perhaps I'll look into having our doctor write a prescription

Is there less swaying if you sit on the lower level? On our previous trip, we sat on the upper level and I swore the train was going to tip right over due to the severe swaying. I think the swaying bothered me more than the bumps and bangs. I'm also thinking of asking for a lower level seat just to be closer to the bathrooms.

Opinions??? Thanks
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Old 01-21-2004, 01:22 PM   #50
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I've always ridden lower level since it is very hard for me to manuver stairs. And even the lower level seems to be bumpier as well.

I'm not sure about swaying.
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Old 01-31-2004, 08:39 AM   #51
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Does anyone know where I can see the train seat layouts? If I choose the autotrain and lower reserved coach, do I pick the seats? Is it luck of the draw? We took the autotrain in '97 but I swear I have little memory, lol. We were on the lower level and were seated at the back I'm pretty sure as we figured that was the most room and we had a 1 yr old. Now, I can't remember how seating is but there are five of us so it appears a sleeper car won't work so reserved coach it is.

Anyone able to advise? Thanks.
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Old 01-31-2004, 09:52 AM   #52
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With lower level, you are not assigned specific seats until you check in at the train station. When you check in, you can request what seats you'd like. If you don't - the person checking you in assigns your seats. Based upon how full the train is and if others have checked in before you will decide if your request can be met.

Just a reminder that since lower level is intended for handicapped passengers, many elderly people are in lower level.

Personally most of the time I've travelled the train was not that full and most people can spread out even upstairs.

It depends on what month you are travelling.
The busy months are usually
March or April or May or September, October, November

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Old 02-08-2004, 02:27 PM   #53
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Quote:
Originally posted by disney4us2002
Does anyone know where I can see the train seat layouts? If I choose the autotrain and lower reserved coach, do I pick the seats? Is it luck of the draw? We took the autotrain in '97 but I swear I have little memory, lol. We were on the lower level and were seated at the back I'm pretty sure as we figured that was the most room and we had a 1 yr old. Now, I can't remember how seating is but there are five of us so it appears a sleeper car won't work so reserved coach it is.

Anyone able to advise? Thanks.
I believe the Autotrian has changed since you last rode it in 1997. Was there an upstairs when you were last on it? The train now has an upper & lower area.

The lower area is supposed to be reserved for those riders with medical needs/issues. However, I personally found Amtrak to not be as nice to guests with medical needs. Amtrak quoted me more money for a downstairs coach seat than an upper coach seat. When I called them on it, I finally got the same price as an upstairs seat. Once in the lower coach section, I learned it is mostly used by Amtrak personnel & their families traveling.

Also, be prepared for a MUCH bumpier/rockier ride than in 1997. We will not ride the Autotrain again unless the tracks are better.
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Old 02-08-2004, 06:35 PM   #54
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2 subjects I want to briefly touch upon:

1st regarding not nice.
I've only had one person at amtrak ever be rude to me.
(This was a general phone agent)
After I pointed out the fact that the passenger had passed away
(my husband's grandfather) and insisted that this refund was a "special case".
I must say this. The refunds people were really nice and understanding.
Like any other customer service issue, I would urge anyone that has an issue to either call back and/or ask for a supervisor if you feel the agent is incorrect.

2nd regarding the rails:
I'm not sure how much power amtrak has here because neither the government nor Amtrak owns the rails that the autotrain travels on. The rails are owned by CSX.
My suggestions are: Write a letter to Amtrak and also to Transportation secetary. Also ask Amtrak who to contact about this.
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Old 02-09-2004, 12:35 PM   #55
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Quote:
Originally posted by cherylp3

1st regarding not nice. I've only had one person at amtrak ever be rude to me. (This was a general phone agent) ... Like any other customer service issue, I would urge anyone that has an issue to either call back and/or ask for a supervisor if you feel the agent is incorrect.

It was the Amtrak employees on the reservation phone that I was referring to. I used the word "nice," although I really feel Amtrak discriminated against people who need the lower car for medical reasons. I could get the lower price if I wanted to sit upstairs, but not downstairs. Why should someone with a medical need pay more? I'm not asking you to asnwer that question. I did speak to a supervisor & I pointed out the discrimination in price for paying riders.


Quote:
Originally posted by cherylp3

2nd regarding the rails:
I'm not sure how much power amtrak has here because neither the government nor Amtrak owns the rails that the autotrain travels on. The rails are owned by CSX.
My suggestions are: Write a letter to Amtrak and also to Transportation secetary. Also ask Amtrak who to contact about this.
Until the owners of the track decide to make improvements, I don't see any changes being made. I just feel future riders should know the Autotrain ride is not what it used to be.

I gather from this post that you are a big fan of Autotrain. I used to be, but I am no longer, so we will have to agree to disagree .
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Old 02-09-2004, 07:56 PM   #56
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Judith, I believe you must be correct about the train being different. Neither my dh nor I remember any upstairs, lol. That explains a lot. As to being a fan of the autotrain, I sure hope I will be after our Christmas trip to Disney. Between outrageous airfare and rental car rates, there is just no way to convince my dh to fly again. He doesn't like flying altogether anyway, but the expense on top of it makes him nuts. He also thinks having our own vehicle (a minivan) will make our vacation easier. It sure will make packing and loading whatever we want easier. My boys are also thinking of the train as an adventure - part of our vacation rather than just a mode of transportation so I think we'll have fun (at least on the way down!!).
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Old 02-18-2004, 09:07 AM   #57
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We took the Autotrain roundtrip to Disney in 2000.

We had a sleeper (dlx family?) on the way down, but had to take coach on the ride back (family sleeper was sold out)

Having the sleeper car was fine, a little bumpy but nothing bad, IMO.

Riding in coach was TERRIBLE. And....... we had the 4 front seats in our car, so there was no one in front of us and we had extra leg room (which was nice) But still manuvering through the aisle to get to the bathroom was a pain. People had their nasty FEET sticking out in the aisle, kids were screaming, people were loud. UGH. It was awful. I would never ride coach on the Auto Train, unless you like being around a bunch of strangers for 18 hours.

The food in the dining car was very good both times.

I also didn't find the price so great, but we got to have our van in Florida which was nice. Last time we flew. From now on we will fly and rent a car, it's just so much faster.
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Old 03-01-2004, 10:16 AM   #58
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Updated main info page 3/1/04 with the new discount info.

Here it is also:
Book online by May 15 and save an additional 5%!
http://www.amtrak.com/savings/5online.html

Starts March 1st!
Save time and money when you book online. Please use discount code H406.

This spring, see the country the way it was meant to be seen. By train. With over 500 destinations, from Chicago to San Francisco, and from Washington, DC to Orlando, Amtrak can take you and your family anywhere you want to go. And when you book online by May 15, you save an additional 5% on our already low fares. Seniors and children can save even more.

Book now and use promotion code H406

Terms and Conditions:
This offer valid for five (5) percent off the best available regular (full) adult, senior, disabled adult, Student and Veterans Advantage, AAA and NARP members discounted adult rail fare. Disabled passengers must call 1-800-USA-RAIL to make reservations using this special offer and to receive the Amtrak discount for disabled passengers. Offer valid for reservations: 01Mar04- 15May04 and for travel 01Mar04-31Aug04. Blackouts apply for the following dates: 08-12Apr04, 28May04-01Jun04, 02-05Jul04. Up to 2 children ages 2-15 may accompany each paid adult at 1/2 of the discounted adult rail fare. This offer is not valid on the following: Metroliners, Acela Express, and joint Amtrak/VIA Rail Services provided by other non-Amtrak carriers. This offer is not valid for travel on Northeast corridor (Boston, MA/Albany, NY - Washington, DC) trains during the peak travel periods. Senior Discount does not apply to Auto Train. Fares, routes and schedules subject to change without notice. Other restrictions may apply. Please refer to Discount Code H406.
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Old 03-10-2004, 11:38 AM   #59
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Talking Doesn't that sound familiar....

JesseTravels,What you said about screaming kids,feet sticking out in the ailses,and loud people sound exactly what we all put up with on ALL public transportation.Unfortunately.I was referring to Air Travel (IMHO). "UGH, It was awful" Describes it perfectly!
The last time we took Amtrak it was very bumpy and swayed alot too.Along with the fact that we were delayed at every turn and ended up being almost 3 hours late to our destination.
Never Again...
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Old 05-12-2004, 07:56 PM   #60
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DH really wants to take the AutoTrain for our next trip in Feb. 2005. I was wondering when the best chance for discounted fares might be. Should we just book now or wait for possible discounts? We are looking into a sleeper car - are these ever discounted beyond the AAA rate?

Thanks for any help!
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