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NJ Transit cost me hundreds of dollars


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Instead of the usual introduction, I thought I'd share a story with y'all. This all happened in the past two weeks.


Being the train lover I am, the honeymoon I took with my new wife was full of trains. We flew from Nashville to Chicago. Took the Blue line from O'Hare to Clinton and walked to Union Station. My new wife was a little leery of the subway, but felt much better when we arrived in the Metropolitan Lounge. This was only two weeks ago, and it was snowing like nobody's business. We got some chicago style pizza at Giovanni's (sp?).


For some reason they weren't letting people out to the tracks from the special exclusive door from the ML, so we had to walk by the common;) people on our way to our sleeper. (as a side note when we walked around the station killing time, we accidentally walked thru a fare controlled area and got our ass completely chewed out. I yelled right back at them though)


We left on the Southwest Chief on time and I was happy to be able to have a cigarette on the platform before I boarded. There sure are fewer smoking stops on the Southwest Chief than the Empire Builder.


When we got to our sleeper, I was so excited I was jumping up and down like a little kid. Wife thought it was cute. The food was excellent the entire route, and Wife even thought it was some of the best food she's ever eaten. I got the enchiladas both nights. YUMMY! The Amtrak staff on this trip were some of the warmest most accomodating service people I have ever met.


We immediately got on the subways in Los Angeles to go out to LAX to get our rental car. I got the car from LAX because I was returning it to LAX. Plus I had an excuse to ride some rails, duh. I sure was fascinated how the subway basically turns into a street car! WOW! I felt like I was on some hybrid type vehicle. That was the extent of our train riding in California. The rest of the time was spent on the Price is Right, Six Flags, Rodeo Drive, and you know...honeymoon type stuff.


On Thursday April 2nd, we took AA flight 10 to JFK. Cloudy most of the way. Bummer. I always wanted to see Los Angeles and New York from the air. We rode Airtrain and the subways to the Courtyard Mariott on W 40th st. It was nice enough for us. We rode subways everywhere to get around. She's not a huge subway fan like I am, but she started to like it more as the weekend progressed. It was her first time to NY and my 2nd.


A note about some weekends in NYC: When you are on a time budget, it sucks not having express subways.


On Sunday, we were scheduled to go back to Nashville. We had lunch in Bay Ridge (Rocco's?) Really good pizza. We thought we had plenty of time to make our 5:45 flight!! It took an hour to get back to Manhattan and our hotel. We got our bags as they had been storing them.


The plan was to go to Penn Station, catch NJ Transit to EWR to catch our flight. We ran to Penn station carrying all this damn luggage. We missed the train we wanted to take by one minute. Okay, so we waited another 30 minutes for the next one. I had never ridden NJ Transit nor had I ever been to Penn Station. I learned they are supposed to post the track # 10 minutes before departure time. Well, they didn't. 6 or 7 minutes at best. We were track # 12. Well, we were right by tracks thru 11. The arrow pointing to track 12 just pointed you in the general direction of the rest of the station. Well, we couldn't find it in time and missed the train AGAIN by seconds. Took the next train, and ran to the Ticket Counter at Newark Airport. US Airways gave us gate passes, and we tried to make to through security, but TSA wanted to inspect ALL of our bags. A gate rep for US Air came up and said we wouldn't make it. She was the rudest person in the entire airport. I will never ever EVER fly US Airways again. As it turned out, I never rode them a first time.


There were no more flights to Nashville for that airline, so we had to spend another night in the area. The next day, a little rain had cancelled and delayed flights. Our rescheduled flight included a connection in Charlotte. With the delays we wouldn't have made it.


We managed to get on a direct flight to Nashville from Continental. We didn't get our bags until much much later, but I missed a day of work because of all this. Add the cost of the extra hotel room in NJ and it just gets expensive.


In hindsight, I guess I can't really place the blame on anyone but myself. I had never ridden NJT, never been in Penn Station (youtube videos don't count), and overestimated the speed of MTA Subways. I'll know for next time, and I won't think of myself as bigtime trainman until I have a little more experience.


All in all, we had a great honeymoon, and I wouldn't trade anything for the world. The transit problems were the first challenge of our marriage, and I think we did a pretty good job handling them.


BTW, my name is Preston, and I'm from Nashville. Nice to meet y'all!

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You missed trains and spent hundreds of dollars due to confusing signage at Penn Station. You should contact NJT Customer Service and tell them you will never ride them again. They might comp your next trip on them if they hear that line. You should also complain to Amtrak since they are responsible for dispatching NYP.

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Preston, Welcome to New York City Transit Forums.


I'm sorry to hear for all your troubles with (NJT) NJT, but Penn Station is the biggest train terminal in the city and sometimes things can get confusing when it comes to getting your way. Usually the (MTA) subways are known for their fast service, but weekends are much slower here because of different reasons (construction, etc...). I hope that it goes smoother next time you visit the city! :P

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Penn station(s) are owned by amtrak, not (NJT). If you have a complaint, please contact amtrak, as they have control over how the station looks and what signs go where.


As far as not finding the track, they are listed from 1-4 at one end of the main concourse where the large departure board is, and go up from there, each platform serves 2 tracks, and will have 2 numbers, side by side, one for each track on the sides of the platform.


The LIRR section of the station tends to have larger (wider) platforms in general, and is assigned the higher platform numbers 90% of the time.


From time to time (NJT) trains will come in or leave from the higher numbered tracks, and you have to go down one level to get to them, or come up one level to get to the main concourse level.


The subway comes in at each end of the LIRR concourse, if you can find a amtrak/njt information screen and it tells you that your train is leaving from track 14+ there is no need to go anywhere but straight to the correct track on that level.


If the sign gives you a lower number, go up to the main concourse, or the (NJT) mezzanine area (fancy marble with benches) via escalator.


Hope this helps!


- A

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