My Amtrak trip – Trains are transportation too

Amtrak Acela Trains.jpgEarlier this week I had the opportunity to travel between Washington DC Union Station (WAS) and Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station (PHL) on Amtrak. Back in the day, I travelled Amtrak a lot, all on this same route, but I had not made an inter-city train ride in the last five years. It was a welcome change. Usually I drive to Philadelphia. This time around, because of the timing of my meeting there, I was going to end up being stuck in traffic in either direction. Napping on a train seemed much more attractive.

My Amtrak Experience:

On my way up to Philadelphia I was in a regular Regional train. You know, the old clanky types. On the way back I was in an Acela Express. Now that is the way to travel.

Thumbs Up

  • Even on the Regional train, the seats were nice with excellent leg room and great recline. The Acela had awesome seats.
  • The Cafe car had fresh brewed coffee and multiple snack options. Now, you did have to pay for all food and drink items, including water. Weren’t we all up in arms when US Airways started charging for a cup of coke? No one was protesting here. On the Acela, you did not even need to walk to the Cafe car. There was a lady going up and down the aisle with a airline style cart selling stuff. They even took cash and unlike FA’s accepted tips.
  • Free Wifi in the Acela!
  • Power ports at every seat (or row of seats).
  • Talking of seats – no middle seats!
  • No TSA patdown or free dose of radiation!!
  • No restrictions on what I could take on board or into the train station. Liquids too, in any quantity. Anyone can get on the train with anything. (Hmm, is that good or bad…)
  • Amtrak has a good Loyalty Program – Amtrak Guest Rewards. I will discuss that in a later post.
  • Amtrak Trains.jpgThe train tickets were extremely reasonable in price (especially the non-Acela train) and there was no exorbitant change fee.
  • Free multiple carry-on Bags.

Thumbs Down

  • The Regional train had no WiFi.
  • The Regional train cars had no shades on the windows in the Economy coaches.
  • The Regional train’s cars smelt…
  • The train station is 35 miles from my home – in the middle of town. This made getting to the station in the morning a drag, especially given the lack of good public transportation out in the ‘burbs where I live. This is typical for most Amtrak stations. They are in the middle of cities and may or may not be well connected to the suburbs.
  • No restrictions on what I could take on board or into the train station. Liquids too, in any quantity. Anyone can get on the train with anything?! (Hmm, Spain, London, Mumbai…)

Safe travels. Anyone else have train experiences to share? Leave a comment below.

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