We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Pros and Cons of Acela vs. Regional train to Boston

Santa Cruz, CA
Level Contributor
74 posts
4 reviews
Save Topic
Pros and Cons of Acela vs. Regional train to Boston

I'm ready to book our train from NYC on August 10 to Boston Back Bay. Other than a shorter time, why would I want to take the Acela over the Northeast Regional? I would rather take the latter even it takes a bit longer. It seems like I read something negative about the Acela, but not sure what. Any thoughts? Is one safer than the other? We'll have 3 suitcases.

Also, I noticed quite a price difference between morning and afternoon trains! Over half price. We do want to leave in the morning, however, so we'll just have to open our wallet a little further.

Mentioned in this post
Boston
Boston
Massachusetts
New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for New York City
Level Contributor
102,526 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Pros and Cons of Acela vs. Regional train to Boston

There are quite a few previous threads on this subject. The general consensus is Acela is not better enough to warrant the extra price. Heres one that provides both sides I think.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g60763-i5-k2836058…

Philadelphia...
Level Contributor
3,353 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Pros and Cons of Acela vs. Regional train to Boston

There's a difference in the class of service. Regional trains offer coach class and business class. Business class is the standard on Acela, and first class is also available.

I think coach class on the regional trains is quite comfortable, and I've never seen any reason to upgrade.

Fares for each train start at the lowest level and rise as more tickets are sold.

Santa Cruz, CA
Level Contributor
74 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Pros and Cons of Acela vs. Regional train to Boston

Okay, I just noticed that the Acela train would be $327 for 3 Business Class seats on August 10 at 8:03 AM vs. $378 on the NER at 9:00 or 10:00 AM. The only issue with the earlier departure is walking to Penn Station from our hotel (Best Western President) at 234 48th St. and having to be there at least 45 minutes early. We plan to ask for Red Cap Service. It would just mean having to get up earlier and being out of the hotel no later than 7:00 am.---maybe even earlier? Does it really take only 17 minutes to walk to Penn Station? I like to be early! I noticed it's only $147 for 3 of us if we left at 2 PM or later. Unfortunately, my daughter would like to be in Boston sooner to have more time. And, we have to check out by Noon.

Bottom line: For the cheaper rate would you go with Acela even if it means getting to the station fairly early? Or pay the extra $50 for NER and leave at a more leisurely 9 or 10 AM?

Mentioned in this post
Boston
Boston
Massachusetts
Portland, Maine
Level Contributor
12,718 posts
31 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Pros and Cons of Acela vs. Regional train to Boston

Acela's are somewhat nicer, obviously somewhat faster, and probably bounce around somewhat more on the track because of their higher speed. I assume you see that you can get a 7 a.m. Northeast Regional for $312.

What you're seeing with the fares is something that occasionally happens on weekends. Acela is primarily used by business travelers, so when you've left your reservation until fairly late the Acela fares on some trains might be lower than the high bucket Northeast Regional fares you're seeing.

I don't think anyone can tell you what's the best option. This is primarily a choice between sleeping later and paying a somewhat lower fare. You can always sleep on the train of course.

Edited: 14 July 2013, 04:09
Portland, Maine
Level Contributor
12,718 posts
31 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Pros and Cons of Acela vs. Regional train to Boston

If you wanted to take the 2 p.m. train you could always check out at noon, leave your bags with the bellman, have a leisurely lunch near the hotel, go back and pick up your bags, and then take a taxi to Penn Station. Lunch and taxi will be a lot less than the fare difference.

Santa Cruz, CA
Level Contributor
74 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Pros and Cons of Acela vs. Regional train to Boston

Well, after speaking with my daughter and husband, I decided to book the 10:00 am NER train. Yes, it will be higher than the Acela at $359 with one Senior discount. The 7:00 is way too early for my daughter and me. :) My husband, the early bird would have been fine with it. Even the 8:00 am Acela is a bit too early considering we need to be there 45 min. to an hour before boarding. The price is right for the 2 pm, but we really want to get into Boston earlier. Our daughter has appts. to visits Occupational Therapy grad programs at two universities in Boston, so we want to squeeze in as much time as we can. Thanks everyone!

P.S. Next time I'll book Amtrak sooner. We could have taken advantage of 25% off promo rates or just paid less, period. Sigh. Live and learn. :/

Mentioned in this post
Boston
Boston
Massachusetts
United States
Level Contributor
365 posts
89 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Pros and Cons of Acela vs. Regional train to Boston

i have taken both many times, and they are basically the same. the acela is slightly nicer looking on the inside perhaps (not by much) but i wouldn't consider it luxurious, and the regular service is not uncomfortable or shoddy in any way. the only real difference is 30 mins travel time. 1 has closed luggage bins and the other a rack (but it still holds large luggage). 3h30min and 4 hrs are not so different. really just go with what meets your needs schedule & price-wise

(i know you did already, just re-assuring you that it's basically the same experience in my mind)

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for New York City
Level Contributor
102,526 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Pros and Cons of Acela vs. Regional train to Boston

I'd take a taxi from the hotel to Penn station if you've got luggage. Arrive fresh rather than wilted. All taxis have to be air conditioned and the passenger is in charge of whether it's on or off.

Boston, MA
Destination Expert
for Boston
Level Contributor
25,669 posts
66 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Pros and Cons of Acela vs. Regional train to Boston

I worked very close to South Station in Boston when the Acela was introduced with much fanfare and always wanted to ride it. I did. I didn't feel it was worth the extra $.

Edited: 14 July 2013, 12:29
Mentioned in this post
Boston
Boston
Massachusetts
DC
Level Contributor
2,297 posts
1 review
Save Reply
10. Re: Pros and Cons of Acela vs. Regional train to Boston

You don't have to be at the station 45 minutes early. Twenty minutes is plenty of time to print out your tickets and you'll still have to wait for them to post the track number, which is typically done about ten minutes prior to departure.