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Old 12-20-2004, 12:00 PM   #106
NjRon
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I just made my first round trip on the auto train. Can a vetern traveler
explain the rough ride on the north bound trip. We were litterally bouncing
in the bunk most of the night. I don't think I slept more than 30 mins at
a time from 10PM to 7AM. Is this common ?
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Old 12-20-2004, 01:02 PM   #107
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We just got back last week (12/12) from our 5th round trip on the Auto-Train. I used to think that the northen 1/2 of the trip had more movement than the southern. This trip, I thought that the entire south-bound trip was fairly smooth all the way. We did experience some movement on the way back north, but not as much as I recall in the past.

Movement (bumps, bounces, etc) are fairly common on long-distance train travel. The tracks are owned and maintained by CSX (NOT Amtrak) and are maintained primarily for freight trains. Amtrak as little, to no, control ove the maintenance of the tracks. There are national 'standards' for track maintenance and that's all CSX is obligated to keep them to. Like I mentioned, I did feel that this year was a VAST improvement over the last few.
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Old 12-20-2004, 01:59 PM   #108
NjRon
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Thanks DVC Chris. We traveled south on 12/11 and north on 12/17.
I agree that south was smooth sailing. I guess we were expecting the
same on the way back. Overall it was a fun experiance.
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Old 01-01-2005, 05:43 PM   #109
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Driving to Lorton

I'm thinking of taking the autotrain for my next trip. I would be driving down from Ontario to Syracuse, NY and then to Lorton. I'm really nervous about the traffic around Washington. How much extra time should I factor in for unexpected traffic problems? Is the station very easy to get to? I would hate to be driving around DC lost!!! I'm too scared to fly but am now worried about driving to Lorton. Is it a safe area?
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Old 01-01-2005, 09:11 PM   #110
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Lorton itself is a very quiet town. You will be on the hihway all your trip,. no getting lost in Dc unless you try to take a short cut.

The Autotrain is right off of I-95.

I checked online it says 6 hrs and 31 min to Lorton from Syracuse.

I'd give 2 extra hours.

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Old 01-02-2005, 01:50 PM   #111
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandy22
I'm thinking of taking the autotrain for my next trip. I would be driving down from Ontario to Syracuse, NY and then to Lorton.
When will you be leaving Syracuse? Time of year/weather as you know will be a big factor for you. I would almost plan on driving down from Syracuse the day before your Autotrain departure. Will you have a "navigator" with you? The roads around Baltimore & Washington, DC can be confusing for someone who is not used to the area.
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Old 01-02-2005, 03:36 PM   #112
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No navigator - I'll be the only adult in the car. From home it takes 3.5 hours to reach Syracuse, and then another 6.5 hours from Syracuse to Lorton. I need to give myself an extra 2 hours for unexpected traffic delays and check-in by 3. I was planning on leaving at 3:00 am and drive straight through (that puts me in Syracuse at 6:30am - I should just miss rush hour traffic right?). I would arrive in Washington around 1:00 pm - is there any traffic at this time?

I'm confused with the conflicting information on how easy it is once in Washington, on the 95, is it just a matter of staying on the 95 until the exit or is it more complicated that that (highway merges, multiple exits, etc). And just how many lanes is there on the 95 in Washington?

I'm either going in Feb. or April - haven't decided just yet.

Thanks for your help :D
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Old 01-02-2005, 08:52 PM   #113
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Have you actually driven Syracuse to Lorton in 6.5 hours? I think that time is pushing it. I have driven from near Baltimore to Syracuse several times & it takes longer than 6.5 hours - you did need stretch breaks, rest room stops, snack time, etc. Also, compared to the Baltimore & D.C areas, Syracuse really doesn't have a rush hour. It should be a straight shot down I81 from Syracuse. I83 onto I695 in Baltimore can be tricky if you don't know the roads, which lane to be in, etc.

I realize it might be nice to get away from the wintery north in February, but I'd rather drive from Syracuse to the DC area in April than in February. Have you driven I81 in Pennsylvania?

Just some food for thought ...
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Old 01-03-2005, 02:17 PM   #114
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I agree Syracus to Lorton in 6.50 hours is pushing it

I recenty made the trip from southern NJ to Lorton in 4 hours using Rt. 95
to Rt. 301, Rt. 301 to Rt 50, then back onto Rt 95. Rt. 50 put me back on
rt. 95 36 miles from the Lorton exit. I by-passed all Baltimore/DC traffic.
I traveled off hours leaving NJ at 7PM on the night before our scheduled
train depature and spent the night in Lorton.
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Old 01-03-2005, 02:54 PM   #115
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About spending the night. I rceommend it if you can afford it.

The comfort inn offers a discounted rate.

But if you can't afford it, give yourself plenty of time and always leave earlier.

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Old 01-03-2005, 03:56 PM   #116
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I second the comfort inn if possible.
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Old 01-03-2005, 05:07 PM   #117
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Thanks for all the help! I've never driven farther south than Syracuse so I really don't know what to expect. While staying an extra night in a hotel prior to the auto-train sounds like the best plan, it would turn my trip into a 3 day journey. It will be quicker to just drive all the way down with one overnight stop (taking the 81 to 77 to 26 to 95 to 4 route)

But I will take the autotrain on the way back home - logistically it makes a lot more sense.

I've taken the regular train from NYC to Orlando once in the past. The train experienced MANY problems resulting in a 10 hour delay arriving in Orlando and 7 hour delay returning to NYC. On the way back, I just couldn't believe it was happening again! It was a pretty bad experience...they ran out of food, the toilets stopped working and the ventilation/AC were no longer working. Passengers started getting really upset and the crew didn't seem to have any answers . The delay in returning made us miss the bus connection back home. I've questionned whether or not I really want to try Amtrak again but from reading this thread it sounds like the autotrain has a good history of running smoothly. And to be fair I should mention that Amtrak gave me a full credit voucher to make up for what happened.
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Old 01-03-2005, 09:47 PM   #118
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When we used to take the Autotrain, we took a small cooler with drinks - juices, water, sodas, & some snacks. Don't forget to take some things to keep you busy - deck of cards, book, magazines, etc.
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Old 02-03-2005, 02:05 PM   #119
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Smile What a great thread

Thank you all, I've been reseaching using Auto Train for our trip in Aug 2005
We decided to drive instead of fly. Will be on the road for almost 3 weeks.

A week at WDW.

Lots of sites and some family to visit this time.
Will be a real family vacation by car, just like we did when I was young. ( over 30 years a go)

Driving from CT, mapquest indicates about 325 miles to Lorton VA.
Will be leaving by 6 am, looks like I should be able to get thier without an overnight stay.

Leaning to using Auto Train, DW and I are pooh size, dd(8) is not
Anyway Which would be better, Family Bedroom, or 2 regular bedrooms?

Thanks for all the tips in this thread.

Ed in CT
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Old 02-03-2005, 02:33 PM   #120
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ct_TiggerFan
Thank you all, I've been reseaching using Auto Train for our trip in Aug 2005
We decided to drive instead of fly. Will be on the road for almost 3 weeks.

A week at WDW.

Lots of sites and some family to visit this time.
Will be a real family vacation by car, just like we did when I was young. ( over 30 years a go)

Driving from CT, mapquest indicates about 325 miles to Lorton VA.
Will be leaving by 6 am, looks like I should be able to get thier without an overnight stay.

Leaning to using Auto Train, DW and I are pooh size, dd(8) is not
Anyway Which would be better, Family Bedroom, or 2 regular bedrooms?

Thanks for all the tips in this thread.

Ed in CT
The Family Bedroom is probably your best choice, but keep in mind the child-size berths are only 4'9" or 4'7" (adult berths are at least 6'2"). This room is downstairs, conveniently close to the shower and restrooms. Two "bedrooms" (formerly called deluxe bedrooms) would be prohibitively expensive, if the most spacious and luxurious accomodations on the train. Two "roomettes" (formerly called standard bedrooms or economy bedrooms) are more reasonable, but with only two seats per room, would leave one person alone in the other room (both "Pooh sized" adults would want the lower berths in a roomette - trust me!).

The Family Bedroom:
http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/Conten...Page&c=am2Copy
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