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  1. #1
    was kung-fu fighting lodi781's Avatar
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    amtrak, anyone ever ride it???

    I want to take another trip this year, back to utah to spend more time at bryce canyon and the grand canyon. Instead of driving this time ( and flyings no fun) I was thinking about taking amtrak out there. It seems like it would be a interesting thing to do, and the scenery would be great. It's a little expensive, and long( almost two days traveling) but it seems like it would be a fun way to make the trip. Anyone have any experience with amtrak? Any help would be greatly appreciated....
    " The love you withhold is the pain you carry, lifetime after lifetime."

  2. #2
    I play in the street. nobrainer440's Avatar
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    I love train rides. They're WAY more relaxing and fun than flying. Unfortunately, passenger rail here in America is worthless. The infrastructure is extremely limited, Amtrak is really expensive and has inevitable delays, and has no competition.

    So, bottom line: Trains are awesome, but in America, traveling by train is difficult, expensive, and slow.
    Last edited by nobrainer440; 02-11-08 at 01:45 PM.

  3. #3
    was kung-fu fighting lodi781's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nobrainer440 View Post
    I love train rides. They're WAY more relaxing and fun than flying. Unfortunately, passenger rail here in America is worthless. The infrastructure is extremely limited, Amtrak is really expensive and has inevitable delays, and has no competition.

    So, bottom line: Trains are awesome, but in America, traveling by train is difficult, expensive, and slow.
    I noticed the expensive part. The slowness is of no real consequence to me because the ride there is an integral part of the trip.
    " The love you withhold is the pain you carry, lifetime after lifetime."

  4. #4
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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    I have not ridden Amtrak since the 1970's, and I was only a kid then.
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  5. #5
    Gorntastic! v1k1ng1001's Avatar
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    Trains west of Chicago are pretty good. Trains east of Chicago are a nightmare.

    I like riding on the train but, once you factor in the time you spend traveling, it's not very cost effective unless Amtrak has that 2 for 1 deal.

  6. #6
    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    I used to ride from DC to NYC on Amtrak. It was just a short ride but stopped a real lot. It wasn't bad though, just chill out and read a book or something. A friend of mine took one out west and he really enjoyed it. To get around he hitch hiked was in itself an experience. How much are you talking about here? It's too bad it is expensive.

  7. #7
    Spelling Snob Hobartlemagne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nobrainer440 View Post
    I love train rides. They're WAY more relaxing and fun than flying. Unfortunately, passenger rail here in America is worthless. The infrastructure is extremely limited, Amtrak is really expensive and has inevitable delays, and has no competition.

    So, bottom line: Trains are awesome, but in America, traveling by train is difficult, expensive, and slow.
    I looked into going from North Texas to Colorado by rail last summer, and found it to cost even more
    than flying. I ended up driving.

    The first rule of flats is You don't talk about flats!

  8. #8
    was kung-fu fighting lodi781's Avatar
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    One way was like 770$ from new haven CT to flagstaff AZ. BUT, the first leg of the trip was coach up till chicago, then I got a small room for the 30 hour ride from chicago to AZ. It's to bad it's so expenxsive, because I think it would be a blast to take a ride out to the mid west. I think it would be a great way to see the country. I already drove it this past september, and thought " what the hell, I've never been on a cross country train before" but it doesn't look cost effective at all, next to flying. Figuere if I rented a car + the cost of gas might be close, but flying is cheaper.
    " The love you withhold is the pain you carry, lifetime after lifetime."

  9. #9
    Dude wheres my guads? skinnyone's Avatar
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    I rode NY - Boston and it was pretty cool..

    I have done a few Multi - Day train trips = mucho fun.. Do it.. I was contemplating going from Boston to Whitefish. MT this winter to ski but my friends thought I was crazy .

  10. #10
    Senior Member DDYTDY's Avatar
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    One of the beat vacations I've had was when my wife surprised me with a train trip from Boston to Niagara Falls via Penn station NYC.

    I just held her hand and looked out the window.

    If I had the time, I'd love to cross the country by rail. I'd do it without hesitation.

  11. #11
    5' 19" barndoor's Avatar
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    My wife and I took the Amtrak Autotrain from Va. to Fla. a couple of years ago.....

    If you ever decide to take the autotrain from Va to Fla....make sure you reserve a sleeper berth....
    We didn't...we decided to save a few bucks and the seats were soooo nice and comfy and HUGE.....what we didn't count on was the "snowbirds" .... the retirees going south for the winter months...OMG, it was like being in a 14 hour Seinfeld episode.......It was a funny for a while, but then it became very irritating and we ended up getting about 2-3 hours of sleep, at most.

    I watched this one lady who was staking out a recently vacated seat.....the guy who was in the seat got up and went into the lounge and she immediately started coveting his reclining , huge seat.....she stood up at her own seat, talking a mile a minute with her friends seated nearby and kept nervously looking back towards the lounge car.....after about 1/2 hour she went over to the guys seat and put her arm over it and continued her verbal barrage, all the while keeping her eye towards the lounge car......well she finally sat down in the guys seat and kicked it back and she started snoring almost immediately.....loudly, I might add....

    ....there were many, many , many other instances I could regale you with, but I've already taken up enough of your time

    Seeing this thread has caused me a bit of trauma, reliving a part of my life I'd rather forget......
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  12. #12
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    The reason why Amtrak is not better is that it gets very little funding, and our current administration is trying their best to shut it down. (Most likely because trains use the least oil per mile per any mode of mainstream long distance transportation out there.)

    Of course, this is a nice vicious circle, because Amtrak needs funding, more trains and stops so it can become self sufficient and be a safe and environmentally friendly to air travel.

  13. #13
    I play in the street. nobrainer440's Avatar
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    If you ask me, Henry Ford is to blame for America's pathetic railway infrastructure. Eh, I guess Dwight Eisenhower can share some of that blame, too. They jump started America's obsession with the automobile and we've never been able to recover from it. I blame them for suburbs as well.

    I apologize in advance if this starts a big P&R shouting match.

  14. #14
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    I used Amtrak Ethan Allen from Phila to VT about 10 times.
    There arent enuff adjectives to describe how substandard the
    service was. From being late to having to buy ANOTHER ticket
    on the train because the guy who came around to check tickets
    wouldnt accept the computer printout from an online ticket purchase.
    Customer service is non-existent to try to get this stuff sorted.
    The worst .
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  15. #15
    Senior Member dpb13's Avatar
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    Took two fairly long trips, but none recently. One was in the late 80s (LA to Portland) and one in the early 90s (Detroit to NYC). On the second one I scammed my way into a sleeper car (it was good to be a Marine during Gulf War I and she was hot ), which is definitely the way to go, even without the girl.

    Anyway, there are advantages and disadvantges to train travel, including the fact that you see the country in a completely different way and see places that you would not otherwise see. Of course, the other side is, it takes much longer, and is never on time.
    Originally Posted by merider1
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  16. #16
    The Guadfather Lecterman's Avatar
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    I took Amtrak from Vt to NYC.

    It was not too bad.

    But DO NOT drink the water from their "fountain". I got sooooo sick.
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  17. #17
    J E R S E Y S B E S T Jerseysbest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfmckenna View Post
    I used to ride from DC to NYC on Amtrak. It was just a short ride but stopped a real lot. It wasn't bad though, just chill out and read a book or something. A friend of mine took one out west and he really enjoyed it. To get around he hitch hiked was in itself an experience. How much are you talking about here? It's too bad it is expensive.
    I used to go back and forth between Baltimore and MetroPark (NJ) a lot a few years ago. Ok service, but kinda sucks you can't bring a bike on board, even when half the time the trains were mostly empty.
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  18. #18
    hiphopopotamus wolfbrother's Avatar
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    I've taken a couple of short trips and had no problems. I really enjoy riding the train, but I wish there were more routes. I'm planning on going up to minneapolis in a few weeks for the weekend and if I want to take the train I have to leave at 7:30am to get home on sunday.

    I say, if you don't mind the extra expense, ride the train. Plus, if more people start riding them, maybe they'll make a comeback.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member
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    I've traveled by train twice and enjoyed it both times.

    The first time I rode Amtrak (1994), my trip began near Mendon, MA and I got off at Boston, MA. Unlike riding the Buckboard Express (my term for riding the crowded intercity buses), I found the seating comfortable and spacious. There wasn't the strange cross-section of America, it was quiet, and it was clean! Too bad I couldn't finish my journey by passenger train back then. So in Boston I boarded an intercity bus for Maine.

    In the year 2000, the service of Amtrak's "Downeaster" came to Maine (Boston, MA-Portland, ME). My second experience came a week ago when I had to make a special trip to Boston and back. The problem was that I was tired, irritated, and it was snowing to beat the band. I now had the option of either being crowded in with other people like chickens on the bus or spending a bit more money for some extra space and relative comfort. I shelled out the money and boarded the Downeaster for a trying and confidential appointment in Boston. On the return trip to Portland, I sat back comfortably and fell asleep. I'd recommend Amtrak anytime.
    Last edited by powerhouse; 02-16-08 at 05:23 PM.

  20. #20
    or tarckeemoon, depending marqueemoon's Avatar
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    For short trips it's awesome, but for long trips it can be just as annoying as a bus.

  21. #21
    Flatlander
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    I rode from NC to NYC a few years ago and it made for a long day, but still less stressful than trying to drive by myself. Lots of stops, and the train got crowded, but the service was okay and it was nice to be able to move around on the ride.

  22. #22
    I play in the street. nobrainer440's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerseysbest View Post
    I used to go back and forth between Baltimore and MetroPark (NJ) a lot a few years ago. Ok service, but kinda sucks you can't bring a bike on board, even when half the time the trains were mostly empty.
    Some trains you can bring a bike on, but even on those they are not too nice about it if you don't buy a ticket in advance. They hassled me about it once, saying that they only had one "bike space" left, but once you get on the train, the car is totally empty and they let you put it anywhere. You could put hundreds of bikes in those empty cars. Once passengers start filling them up, I could understand the problem, but they never do.

    I love trains, but Amtrak needs a serious overhaul or a competitor, or both. They need to attract some customers by either stepping the service way up, or bringing the price way down.

  23. #23
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlts22 View Post
    The reason why Amtrak is not better is that it gets very little funding, and our current administration is trying their best to shut it down. (Most likely because trains use the least oil per mile per any mode of mainstream long distance transportation out there.)

    Of course, this is a nice vicious circle, because Amtrak needs funding, more trains and stops so it can become self sufficient and be a safe and environmentally friendly to air travel.
    That really sucks! I love the bullet trains in Japan and the TGV in France. I'd love to have one along the coast of California. Imagine LA to SD in just one hour, compared to 4 hours today. Or S.F. to San Diego in 3 hours. Heck LA to Vegas would be just 2 hours max.

    Yeah, the tyre and auto-biz did in the trains originally and the truckers are keeping them down now.

  24. #24
    J E R S E Y S B E S T Jerseysbest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
    Yeah, the tyre and auto-biz did in the trains originally and the truckers are keeping them down now.

    Article on the front page of the Wall Street Journal this morning about the railroads resurgence and its reinvestment in renovating and/or expanding rail lines across the country. Even Berkshire Hathaway has just taken an 11% stake in the county's second biggest railroad. They may be down, but not out.
    Quote Originally Posted by SingingSabre View Post
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  25. #25
    J E R S E Y S B E S T Jerseysbest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nobrainer440 View Post
    Some trains you can bring a bike on, but even on those they are not too nice about it if you don't buy a ticket in advance. They hassled me about it once, saying that they only had one "bike space" left, but once you get on the train, the car is totally empty and they let you put it anywhere. You could put hundreds of bikes in those empty cars. Once passengers start filling them up, I could understand the problem, but they never do.

    I love trains, but Amtrak needs a serious overhaul or a competitor, or both. They need to attract some customers by either stepping the service way up, or bringing the price way down.

    No bikes allowed, for the most part, from DC to NY and maybe even Boston. Shame, lot of people would consider it a better option than flying/driving if bikes were allowed. I've never, ever, been on an Amtrak train that was even near capacity. I can understand if the trains would run a chance at being filled like the NYC subways, but taking a row or two seats out of one car would hardly hurt them, would actually help their image if they spun it correctly.
    Quote Originally Posted by SingingSabre View Post
    Cheating: a symptom of the problem.

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