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from penn station NYC to Boston.

hull
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from penn station NYC to Boston.

HI

Can anyone tell me how far you can book train tickets from nyc penn station to boston back bay with amtrack our vacation is from 11/09/2011 to 15/9/2011

lisa

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1. Re: from penn station NYC to Boston.

Did you try to book the ticket now? Just a hint. When I went to the Amtrak website, it did not seem to have a problem.

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2. Re: from penn station NYC to Boston.

Yes you can, but I don't know if you can book NOW for Sept 2011. I think they only let you book 6 months in advance ... but they rarely sell out and there are a LOT of trains that make this run.

For less expensive alternative to the train, there is Bolt Bus and Mega Bus .... they leave from near Penn Station and go to Boston's South Station ... which is not far from Back Bay at all. In fact, it doesn't matter if you choose South Station or Back Bay as your destination, the cost is the same and the conductor doesn't care which one of those two you get off at. The difference in cost between the train and the bus can be $40 or more depending on the time of day you travel.

And, I'm going to tell you a secret about boarding a Boston-bound train at Penn Station. At Penn Station, the train platforms/tracks are BELOW the waiting area. They do not let you onto the platform early. The escalators to/from the platform are blocked and do not run all the time. When the train arrives, the escalators run UP for a while and then are closed. Next they announce the train and turn the escalators on going down. (Usually just one). It's a free-for-all as people dash to get down with luggage and board the train and find seats. Crazy actually. The amtrak site mentions "reserved seating", but it's not really reserved. They guarantee each ticketholder will have A seat on the train. They do not assign seat numbers and there's no guarantee that if you bought 2 tickets that you'll find two seats together. There was a time way-back-when they would actually sell more tickets than seats leaving people standing or sitting on bags in the door areas ..... so at one point this was a big deal ... it no longer is and I find it quite annoying that with modern technology they can't assign seats ... not even on the Acela which only makes a few stops But it is what it is.

Now there is a simple, not too expensive way to avoid this. About 45 minutes or so before your scehduled departure, talk to a "red cap" (A porter employed by Amtrak who literally wears a RED cap). He'll direct you to sit in a certain section of the waiting area. Then about 15-20 minutes before your train, he'll approach you, put your bags on his cart (and that of other passengers too), and lead all of you, pied-piper style to the escalator where it will be turned on JUST for Red Caps and their customers. You'll get to the platform BEFORE the train arrives and the escalator will be turned off again. The train pulls in, tons of people get off (NYCity is a popular destination), you get on, pick your seats and the Red Cap will then bring your bags to you. Tip him well (I usually go $4-$5 a bag -- I carry my own small bags) because it is well worth it to be guaranteed seats together. My daughter and I had two smallish wheeled suitcases when we last visited and I tipped $10. It was SO WORTH avoiding the chaos and guaranteeing the my 11yo wouldn't be sitting rows away from me.

Then you sit there in peaceful bliss for 5-10 minutes or so and then the crowd start swarming on. Now, if you are travelling alone, this isn't an issue and feel free to jin the crowd but for a stress-free boarding experience, invest the extra few dollars. ;)

Edited: 24 November 2010, 20:27
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3. Re: from penn station NYC to Boston.

Interesting ... if you look only at one-way tickets, it's cheaper to ride Amtrak from NY to Boston than it is to ride it from Boston to NY!

And ... I don't know if this is true every day, but on Dec 10 the 7:15 Acela costs the same as the 8:15 Northeast Regional ... the Acela is only about 30 minutes faster than the NE Regional, but it's a bit more comfy ....

Here's some comparisons ... I used Dec 10 as my travel date because it's too early to book for your travel dates.

Depart NY at 6:55am on the Northeast Regional for $49 per person, compared to a 7am departure on Bolt Bus for $18 per person.

At 8:03 you can take the Acela from NY for $111 per person, or the Bolt Bus at 8:00 for $18.50 per person.

At 11am, it's Northeast Regional for $67 per person or Bolt for $17.50 per person.

That said ... there's nothing WRONG with the bus, but I, personally, find the train infinitely more comfortable. There's less room to move around on the bus, not 'snack bar', and the bathroom is claustrophobic. The people on Bolt Bus are mostly folks in their 20s and families. It's fine, but it's a BUS! This is definitely the economical way to go ... but sometimes the ride is longer than predicted because road hold-ups are less predictable than train track hold-ups.

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4. Re: from penn station NYC to Boston.

Forgot ...this is an extremely helpful post. Just curious, what is it like leaving from Boston?

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5. Re: from penn station NYC to Boston.

I have taken the train from Boston's South Station to NYC and DC. I actually stood outside near the tracks and soon as the train was posted on signs right by the track, I lined up.

Before I went outside I looked at the main board and got an idea of what trains were arriving at what platforms as a process of elimination.

It is a little chaotic because some people seem to be clueless about lines.

They don't let you board until maybe 10 minutes before departure but the Amtrak personnel were good about not letting people cut in the line.

I thought it was much easier to board in Boston then Penn Station, going down those stairs with luggage and the jostling was a bit too much.

great tip from forgotmypword because I saw red sky caps with a small group boarding the train about 20 minutes or so before departure. good to know for my trip to NYC after Christmas.

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6. Re: from penn station NYC to Boston.

I love the train, but I've been taking the bus a lot. Do you realize that you can get super deals on Bolt Bus and Megabus? I just got a one-way fare of one dollar on Bolt.

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7. Re: from penn station NYC to Boston.

Mahj, boarding at South Station was easy. The train doesn't start to have "single seats only" until the 128 stop or beyond.

8. Re: from penn station NYC to Boston.

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