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Train Travel from Washington to New York

Adelaide, South...
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Train Travel from Washington to New York

Apart from the small travel time difference is there any significant benefit in travelling on one or other of the two trains that Amtrack run on this route? I (single Australian male) will be travelling on Sunday 15th September. Are there any other issues I should consider regarding seating etc.?

Portland, Maine
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1. Re: Train Travel from Washington to New York

The time advantage of the Acela trains is not worth the considerable additional cost, in most people's opinion. The Northeast Regional trains are fine.

Buy your tickets as soon as you can. Fares will go up if you wait. You can print out your tickets on your own PC and don't need to do anything else at the train station.

They don't sell any more seats than they have space, but individual seats are not reserved.

There's loads of luggage storage space in your car, both in overhead racks and at the ends of the cars.

Washington Union Station is a very nice building and worth a look around.

Ellicott City...
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2. Re: Train Travel from Washington to New York

I am assuming you mean the difference between the Northeast Regional and the Acela. The Acela is aimed at business travelers, and travels at a top speed of 135 mph between DC and NY vs. 125 mph for the Regional (the Acela only reaches its top speed of 150 mph on short segments between NY and Boston) as well as making fewer stops. That is not to say you would stand out riding the Acela as a leisure traveler. If you are not price sensitive, no harm in trying the Acela, what Amtrak considers its premier service in the US. If you are budget minded, take the Northeast Regional. Neither have checked baggage service but the unofficial Amtrak carry on baggage policy is "if you can handle it yourself, you can bring it". If you do take the Northeast Regional, one recommendation is to look at the timetables posted on the Amtrak website to book a train that originates in DC. Some Northeast Regionals start from Virginia and are prone to more delays than those that start their journey from DC. Fewer Acelas run on Sundays (fewer business travelers) so check prices because if there are many leisure travelers, prices on the regional may be close to or even more than the Acela. tickets prices for both increase in prices as more seats are sold so booking ahead of time can save money vs the day of. Trains can and do sell out

As far as seating, your ticket reserves a space for your on the train, but not a specific seat. All seating is open, so you queue up when the gate is announced, make your way to the platform, pick a car and see what seats are available. The last car on the train is the quiet car, which does not allow for cell phone conversations or conversations between travelers above a whisper. There is not much in the way of scenic views except for some river crossings north of Baltimore, but I find the city views interesting, if not a little depressing, because the route does not always pass through the nicest of neighborhoods (The train and the stations are all very safe).

Adelaide, South...
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3. Re: Train Travel from Washington to New York

Thanks for this help. Interestingly the ticket price difference quoted on the Amtrak site at the moment is only $7 ($145 v $152)

New York NY
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4. Re: Train Travel from Washington to New York

For $7.00 I'd take the Acela - it is faster and more comfortable.

I have traveled at times when the Acela was more than 3x the price. It varies.

All Acela seats are Business Class - they have only Business Class and upgrades available to First Class.

Regional trains have regular coach and upgrades are available to Business.

So, for $7.00 you get a faster train and a bit more of a comfortable seat. The Acela is nice (but not worth 3x the price - definitely worth $7.00)

Portland, Maine
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5. Re: Train Travel from Washington to New York

The price varies train by train depending on demand and on how close to your travel date you are. Look at:

http://biketrain.net/amsnag/amSnag.php

and enter WAS as your departing city and NYP as your arriving city. You can see the fare on all trains for any time period, up to 30 days.

You're very late for getting the lowest fares. Looking for Sept. 15th the only trains with the lowest fare, $49.00 are very early morning trains.

Edited: 28 August 2013, 23:13
NY, NY
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6. Re: Train Travel from Washington to New York

If the prices are reasonably close, the Acela is appreciably more comfortable (in my opinion) as well as a bit faster. The Acelas do frequently sell out, and particularly if you are traveling around close of business on a weekday.

Philadelphia...
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7. Re: Train Travel from Washington to New York

Buy your ticket as soon as possible. As others have said, fares go up as more tickets for a train are sold. In addition, fares are discounted if you buy at least two weeks in advance.

I've never taken the Acela (the regional trains are comfortable and usually a lot cheaper), but it would definitely be my choice if the fare difference were only $7.

Portland, Maine
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8. Re: Train Travel from Washington to New York

Don't try to game this, but it's not unknown for Acela fares to be cheaper than Northeast Regional trains for tickets booked very late. The cheap fares for the Northeast Regional trains disappear and there isn't that much last minute business demand on the weekends.

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9. Re: Train Travel from Washington to New York

Try mega us.com - sooooooo much cheaper than the train!

Manchester, United...
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10. Re: Train Travel from Washington to New York

and very much longer