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styckx

Instead of photographing I decided to ride

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Decided to head to D.C. to visit a few museums and decided to take a Regional down to Union Station. Weird thing is,, this was my first ever ride on Amtrak.

 

A brief review.

 

Decided to depart from Trenton Transit Center as parking was easier then 30th Street Station and would prolong the ride for my enjoyment and not costing much more. My train arrived at 10:30 for a 10:32 departure and lead by a AEM-7AC. I upgraded to business class and THANK GOD I did. Being separated from the general public is worth the price of the upgrade. The conductor on the announcements was entertaining and clearly announced each stop twice before arriving. Business class was as expected, fold down and out tray for my laptop and free sodas w/ two outlets. Smooth ride considering it's rail. One of the most noticeable differences (besides nice seats etc etc etc) between Amtrak and the normal NJT sets I'm used to riding is how quiet the cars are. Normally on NJT when a Amtrak passes you, it's LOUD and scares the hell out of you if you're not prepared for it. Passing another train in the Amfleet cars.. You barely notice it.

 

Stayed the night and arrived at Union station for my 9:35 train back to Trenton. Again, on time. The announcer said the departure would be slightly delayed as a mandatory engine change was taking place. My return trip was lead by a HHP-8 and actually connected to the consist as I was in the train. The cars were powerless for the first couple minutes until they connected up and "plugged in" the consist. The business class car on this trip had a funky A.C. unit at the front of the car. Depending on the section of track and speed something was rattling around semi loudly and it was noticeably warmer in the front of the car.

 

The announcement conductor on this train was also great. Making points to look to the right and see skylines, the Zoo, Delaware River, etc.

 

Overall, for the price (46 bucks each way + price of upgrade) I thoroughly enjoyed it and not being biased considering I'm a rail fan. I was *this* close at asking the engineer for a cab ride as I chatted briefly with him at Union Station. Decided not to though as I had tripod, backpack and camera. Might be a bit much for a loco :P

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Business class on Regional really isn't that different from coach class, except for the free soda. Glad to hear you had a good time on Amtrak.

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Business class on Regional really isn't that different from coach class, except for the free soda. Glad to hear you had a good time on Amtrak.

 

And greatly increasing your chances of getting a window seat, and not having anyone sitting next to you. I'm not a fan of sitting around or next to strangers in spaces like that. I need my space!

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And greatly increasing your chances of getting a window seat, and not having anyone sitting next to you. I'm not a fan of sitting around or next to strangers in spaces like that. I need my space!

 

Better not ride any public mass transit system then. B)

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I was *this* close at asking the engineer for a cab ride as I chatted briefly with him at Union Station. Decided not to though as I had tripod, backpack and camera. Might be a bit much for a loco

 

And he would have said no, for fear of losing his job if doing so.

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Glad you had fun!

 

Business class is totally the way to go. I usually get a hot cocoa in winter, and apple or OJ in warmer weather.

 

If i had the money i'd so totally get more food, so convieient, and a good selection!

 

As for coach vs business, the seats are farther apart, have more cushioning, single seats swivel so you can talk to people near you, or look out the window. Some business class cars have red leather, some have a different shade of blue fabric. On some trains, business class is one half of the food car, while the other half is a dining area with tables. On trains where there is a separate business class car, the area that would have biz seats in the food car is empty for people to line up to get food.

 

Amtrak is the only train you can ride that i will actually leave my stuff in the overhead luggage area if i need to get up or feel like exploring.

 

- A

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And he would have said no, for fear of losing his job if doing so.

 

Considering that Amtrak is owned by the Federal Government as a Government-owned corporation, I would imagine they would be more strict. You don't want to mess with the Federal Government.

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Glad you had fun!

 

Business class is totally the way to go. I usually get a hot cocoa in winter, and apple or OJ in warmer weather.

 

If i had the money i'd so totally get more food, so convieient, and a good selection!

 

As for coach vs business, the seats are farther apart, have more cushioning, single seats swivel so you can talk to people near you, or look out the window. Some business class cars have red leather, some have a different shade of blue fabric. On some trains, business class is one half of the food car, while the other half is a dining area with tables. On trains where there is a separate business class car, the area that would have biz seats in the food car is empty for people to line up to get food.

 

Amtrak is the only train you can ride that i will actually leave my stuff in the overhead luggage area if i need to get up or feel like exploring.

 

- A

 

Yeah, I frequently left my stuff at my seat while using the bathroom, snack car etc. If someone takes it, not like they are getting far B)

 

On some interesting notes. On my train to Washington there were two "Special Agents" on board in bullet proof vests and armed.

 

On the return trip pulling into Trenton we came in on Track 1 (the furthest one over) as a NJT pulled up on Track 4. Been to Trenton a number of times and never seen Amtrak use that side of Track 1 for anything.

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Amtrak is definitely way behind SNCF, Eurostar, and even Chinese long distance trains. On the Eurostar, you get the same or better service on coach class as Amtrak's First Class. When it comes to traveling on first class trains in China, it's pure paradise since everything is new, cheap (even for most of its citizens), and updated every decade. The bottomline is that Amtrak is way too expensive and just not worth it.

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I'm glad you enjoyed your trip styckx.

 

Now what R44 5278 is really true. The travel time I can live with, the trains themselves are good too. But the pricing!!! Even for a middle class citizen, commuting with Amtrak on even a weekly basis is way too much. It should be a reliable way of travel, not a reason to scratch your head and think how to get to your destination with some other local commuter rails, or buses... they take way too much time. My trip on Monday proves that. All locals from Wilmington, DE to New York Penn. :confused:

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The pricing is weird. They are just like the airlines. Purchase a ticket from Washington - NY on the spot, you're looking at $80-$100 average for a regional. As compared to purchasing in advance (a few weeks or longer out), that same trip you can find a regional for around $50.

 

Also, with pricing, is the inconsistency with it.

 

I just pulled up a schedule for a month out from D.C. to NY Penn

 

$49.00 140 Northeast Regional - 12:25pm departure.

 

Just one hour later

 

$124.00 156 Northeast Regional - 1:20pm departure

 

 

How is that legal?

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I hear ya on those price differences, and most of the costlier trips aren't much faster routes either. I'm not sure why those prices are what they are, maybe the route that the train travels through? But still that would be the same stretch of the corridor, with no reason for much higher pricing.

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Amtrak outside of the NEC and California is not bad at all. The problem is in the NEC everything must be competitively priced or else a.) there won't be any returns and b.) the lobbies for the airline and bus companies will cry foul.

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Amtrak outside of the NEC and California is not bad at all. The problem is in the NEC everything must be competitively priced or else a.) there won't be any returns and b.) the lobbies for the airline and bus companies will cry foul.

 

From what I've read over the years, that while the NEC is expensive, for the most part it's always close to being on time. Outside of the NEC (on routes they don't own the track) it is cheaper but they are notorious for having an awful schedule and constantly late because they don't own the tracks and freight having the right of way. Nevermind the breakdowns and equipment failure that also cause delays.

 

It's weird how state backed rail service flourishes and a Government based one struggles with cash. Look at NJT. New tunnel being built, the nice purchases of all those ALP46's and ML cars (with more on the way). The soon to be delivered ALP46A's. The nine more ALP46's recently ordered which will replace the Alp44's and even talks about an Arrow III replacement. The comet cars have continually been upgraded over the decades with newer and newer models being purchased up till the Comet V's.

 

MARC seems to do well also from what I've read and are also constantly trying to upgrade their equipment.

 

So, how does Amtrak fall behind so easy?

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There are lots of factors at play but like I said bus and airline lobbies are a big reason why, if Amtrak undercut all of the competitors these lobbies would cry foul, its all politics.

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That's why I am not going to take Amtrak in the NEC unless it's part of a long-distance trip.

 

If anyone has the system timetable, sample fares are in the back pages, before the terms and conditions.

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That's why I am not going to take Amtrak in the NEC unless it's part of a long-distance trip.

 

If anyone has the system timetable, sample fares are in the back pages, before the terms and conditions.

 

100% agree!

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