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New York City to Washington DC by Train - advice needed

Northern Territory
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New York City to Washington DC by Train - advice needed

Hi we are a family of 4 from Australia. We will be in New York City from 1st - 4th October 2014. We then are traveling to Washington DC for 3 nights. I thought about the plane, but then thought that the Train would be better as we get to see some of the country side etc. When I googled Train travel it came up with so many options. Can anyone help me with this. I know the train pulls in to Union Station in Washington; but where do they depart from in New York? We are staying right in Times Square and the 4 of us will each have a suitcase. Would appreciate any feedback and helpful information. Thank you kindly.

Quainton, United...
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1. Re: New York City to Washington DC by Train - advice needed

Just go to the Amtrak website www.amtrak.com

Trains run frequently from New York Penn Station on 34th street to Washington Union station. Faster than the plane, and a lot less hassle!

There's the business-orientated Acela 150mph trains, or the slower but cheaper NE Regional departures.

Buy online and print your own ticket.

Northern Territory
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2. Re: New York City to Washington DC by Train - advice needed

Thanks for that. I just went on the website but am now confused, as there were only about 3 Trains that offered 'Checked Baggage'. When I went on to read about the baggage rules, it states that only some trains will take our luggage and that otherwise our luggage will come on a different train/bus. I find this quite bizarre, surely if I purchase tickets I can purchase baggage tickets as well, as we definitely need our suitcases with us.

Albufeira, Portugal
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3. Re: New York City to Washington DC by Train - advice needed

In the USA checked baggage often travels on a different train or even not by train at all. I wouldn't bother and just carry your bags on board yourselves.

Bucks County...
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4. Re: New York City to Washington DC by Train - advice needed

You can take your suitcases with you on the train. There are racks at the ends of the cars for luggage, as well as overhead racks. The AMTRAK luggage size/weight/number of bags policies are NOT enforced between Boston and Washington. It is very common for passengers to bring their luggage (and many other odd items) with them on this route. You should not have any problems.

Chicago, Illinois
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5. Re: New York City to Washington DC by Train - advice needed

Checked baggage is only on long distance trains. The Northeast Corridor is a combination of regional, commuter service. Only three long distance trains use that route. On all trains without a baggage car you take you luggage on board with you.

I' not sure what cubsur is alluding to, I've never had my luggage on a different train. I'm not sure that Amtrak TSA will allow that. After 911 they even stopped their parcel/freight cartage on passenger trains. Mores the pity since I was always shipping to LA or NYC on a weekly basis and the train always got the product downtown when expected.

Edited: 02 June 2014, 13:52
Northern New Jersey
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6. Re: New York City to Washington DC by Train - advice needed

What you are doing will be easier than it looks. Times Square is not far from Penn Station (Pennsylvania Station) in NYC where Amtrak is based. You can easily take the subway from Times Square, if you wish, but the taxi ride is also quick and cheap. (I'm just not sure about four people, each with a suitcase, in a NY taxi.)

Do not concern yourself with checking your baggage on Amtrak. You should just each take your suitcase with you. (I'm assuming that the people in your group have no mobility problems, as you did not mention any.) You will probably be able to put the suitcase up on the rack over your seat.

I do carry a lightweight bicycle lock in these situations, to lock the suitcase to the luggage rack, in case the luggage racks are full and my suitcase ends up far from my seat, out of sight. It's a matter of personal preference; most people do not bother with the lock.

Washington State
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7. Re: New York City to Washington DC by Train - advice needed

Amtrak doesn't have a policy that bags travel on the same train, and the bags do take a different route than you do sometimes, particularly if you have a roundabout routing. The bags will almost invitably go by the shortest route, and I've seen that happen, with my bags arriving one day before I did.

As to the NEC, you can check luggage between any two points offering checked baggage service, including NYP and WAS. The bags will either travel on the overnight NE Regional 66/67 or one of the LD trains. If you are going to do this, you should either check them the day before or prepare to pick them up a day later.

With that said, in most cases, I agree with the other posters that you should carry on and avoid the question entirely. Amtrak's carry on sizes are very liberal compared to the airlines and the practice on the ground is usually if you can carry it without assistance or taking multiple trips, you can have it.

BTW, I've heard a rumor that when the new Viewliner baggage cars arrive, a couple of other regionals may get checked baggage service. Nothing more than a rumor, though.

Edited: 02 June 2014, 18:46
Chicago, Illinois
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8. Re: New York City to Washington DC by Train - advice needed

Zephyr, where do you get that info? In 40 + years I have never had my checked baggage go on a different train or by a different route. Amtrak will not even check my baggage through to San Diego because the San Diegan trains have no checked baggage. And you know me, i won't fly unless it's over water and I have to. I pick up my bags at LAX and carry them on the regional. If I take the Capitol Ltd to Wash DC and transfer to the Northeast Corridor for NYC I pick up my checked bag in Washington DC and carry it on to the regional.

You've mentioned this numerous times but I've never come across such a thing. Probably because I would never allow my bags to travel out of my route or under my watch. I certainly would not allow my bags to sit in an Amtrak terminal for a minute.

The answer is, you carry your bags on the train with you. If a traveler has more luggage than they can deal with or more luggage than Amtrak ( or an airline) will allow, they have to repack before their trip starts. You can't take steamer trunks anywhere anymore.

Edited: 02 June 2014, 23:00
Washington State
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9. Re: New York City to Washington DC by Train - advice needed

Personal experience. I've had my bags take different routings than I took. Usually arriving earlier.

Sometimes you have to talk to the baggage guy a bit, but most times they'll accept it if you demonstrate you understand it may take a different route or train and that you may have to pick it up the next day. Usually you will get a speech on storage fees if you don't pick it up, but they'll take it.

BTW-most Pacific Surfliners DO accept checked baggage and many of San Diegans did before that. In fact, some years ago I checked a bag from Anaheim to Tacoma when the San Diegan I was actually taking did not carry a baggage car. I checked it the day before and they put it on a train that did.

Edited: 03 June 2014, 01:25
Washington State
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10. Re: New York City to Washington DC by Train - advice needed

Whether or not you choose to take advantage of checked baggage service is your choice.

Personally, I don't mind having my bags under Amtrak's control. You have no more control of them in the baggage hold of an airliner than you do in an Amtrak baggage car and you are depending on the baggage handlers to get them on the right trains/flights in any case.

Amtrak keeps them securely in locked baggage rooms and, unlike the airlines, always checks the claim checks before letting you have them at every station I've ever used, so they are more secure than the airlines in that sense.

With that said, I usually carry them on, but I've had occasion to use the checked baggage service and have had no problem.