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  #1  
Old 02-03-2010, 11:53 AM
DiveSquire DiveSquire is offline
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Location: The world if I could but for now I settle for the west coast.
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Default Train Travel help

My family is planning a vacation this summer on the east coast. We want to start in DC and end in Buffalo. I am looking to take the train from DC up to Boston. and then again from Boston over to Buffalo.

Has anyone ever done this trek before? I really want a sleeper train in which we can just take the night train up and sleep through most of it.
How many stops would bother you throughout the night?
Do the compartments have room to set up a spot for a 15 month old to sleep, either in a pack-n-play or in the smaller pea pod?
Is it worth the experience or should we just fly from DC to Boston and then fly over to Buffalo?

Any help would be great, thanks.
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  #2  
Old 04-26-2010, 06:10 PM
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cruisermeg cruisermeg is offline
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Hi Dive...

I have taken long distance trains on Amtrak several times....let me see if I can help....

YES..you WANT a sleeper (if it's offered...I think you'd want the Lake Shore Limited or Cardinal...I'd have to check...)

A roomette is VERY small....but they do have a toilet in the room. A bedroom or family bedroom is better. Really there is barely room for 2 in the roomette..there is NO WAY you'd fit in a roomette with a pack n play...

It is really worth it to try a long distance train...but if you really want to get someplace, flying might be better (though a train is less annoying security wise, you run the risk of it being late..)

Sorry it took so long to get an answer...this is a new board...and I just recently found it...but let me know if you have more questions.....
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  #3  
Old 04-28-2010, 12:53 PM
DiveSquire DiveSquire is offline
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Cruisermeg,

Thanks for the info. We decided to skip that trip this year, but I am still really interested for next year so thanks for the information. I know flying is faster but we really wanted to see some beautiful sceanery out there. I just found a great train company that does fall follage tours of the eastern seaboard so we might do that. It is set up like a cruise ship with stops every day.

thanks again.
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  #4  
Old 04-28-2010, 04:09 PM
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cruisermeg cruisermeg is offline
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No prob!! That type of train sounds fun! In any event, it's really a fun thing to do, when ever you can!!!

I loved it....lots of funny stories...every train has at least one, hmm how to put it, loopy passenger....and tons of people who are really obsessive about it!

Enjoy!
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  #5  
Old 04-28-2010, 09:56 PM
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HostColleen HostColleen is offline
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I have to chime in about train travel as it is an experience that one will never get in an airplane or maybe not even on a cruise though I know people do meet on a cruise and the cruise stops in ports, trains have a whole different feeling to them, almost a "historic" feel really because of the ties that it has to days gone by. In fact great efforts are being made to resurrect some great routes and keep cross country train travel going as almost a national treasure of sorts.

I love the idea of a foliage train tour - it sounds simply heavenly because not only will you have fantastic scenery along the way, the time spent off the train will be lovely as you likely take hikes in multi-colored forests and enjoy nice snacks you bring along (or maybe it is guided and snacks included!) but I think this will be marvelous and guarantee there will be a great interaction with fellow passengers and hikers. There's something about being on a train car that makes people open up to one another.....I can't quite even figure out what it is but it seems to bring out the most civilized, kindest side of people and I have always enjoyed my rail journeys no matter where I was going. I find trains to be incredibly relaxing, so much so that I've had to fight off falling asleep to not miss the scenic beauty that was passing beside me, LOL !

Enjoy this tour, it sounds wonderful. A lot better than what my friends are planning which is a long, drawn out driving tour of New England that I think will exhaust them and leave them next to little time to see anything this coming September, unfortunately - I just received their itinerary and thought I could meet up with them but I cannot. They barely have time for tea stops!
I think it's called "See New England Without Breathing".......LOL

They should have booked the train trip!
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  #6  
Old 01-21-2012, 01:05 PM
FayeWW FayeWW is offline
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I've done several 24 hour train trips with my 7 yr old boy. We were in coach the entire time and had a great time. You need to be prepared to have a great time. Here are a few hints to make a long distance train trip:
1. Snacks- make sure they do not need refrigeration or heating. I brought a cooler which kept things cool for a while but I didn't rely on it. (fruit, granola, mini cans of tuna, crackers, beef jerky, cereal boxes and milk boxes, etc) Trains have meals but the dining car may not have. reservations open for non-sleeper passengers and the cafe is limited and at the end of a run may be sold out. Also bring paper plates, cups, a knife, plastic ware, paper towels, wipes
2. Bring pillowcases and blankets for all family members. I stuff the pillow case with soft clothes and the mini pillow they provide you. Trains can get cool at night, so having a light blanket can really help with comfort.
3. Wear comfortable stretchy clothes, Bring spare clothes, soled slippers (to walk around the train) and plastic bags (things can get messy)
4. Bring a flannel backed vinyl table clothe or tarp for each two travelers. Use this to put on the foot space in front of double seats (flannel side up) for someone to sleep on the floor while someone sleeps across the seats. You both can sleep lying flat if not curled up.
5. Travel size games that can be played by several people in the cafe car. Also individual pursuits. (We didn't bring electronics except for our GPS unit.)

We had a wonderful time. We went from NYC to Florida and also to Wisconsin. Hopefully this will be helpful to others.
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  #7  
Old 01-21-2012, 05:39 PM
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Host Young Gang Mom Host Young Gang Mom is offline
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Great train travel tips FayeWW! I love to travel by train , but have not gotton to do so overnight yet. Looking forward to it.
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  #8  
Old 02-10-2012, 04:52 PM
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We took the train last year from Buffalo to NYC. Getting there was fine. We had business class seats. On our way home... we were delayed at Penn Station for 3 HOURS! Amtrak is known to have delays. It was a fun experience... but with the delay we probably won't go Amtrak again.
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  #9  
Old 02-10-2012, 05:01 PM
FayeWW FayeWW is offline
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Notebook.
absolute;y expect delays and even build them into your plans. It can be frustrating esp. when you are looking forward to getting to your destination.
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  #10  
Old 02-29-2012, 07:24 PM
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HostColleen HostColleen is offline
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Delays are never pleasant and any carrier can experience them, air, train, ship. Another thing can cause delays: traffic!

These delays can and do occur all the time by every means of travel because there are simply too many variables that can affect the timing of a trip, i.e., the time it should take vs. the time it "might" take. Keeping in touch with your carrier is one, although maybe limited way of managing time delays in travel.

There are also many Apps that can assist travelers with devices capable of utilizing these Apps to help experience efficient travel (or inefficient) because there is more information readily available with which to ascertain status of transportation methods with great accuracy. Here is a compilation of many travel Apps rated by some of the best sources in the world:
https://www.google.com/search?q=Trav...ient=firefox-a

Yes, Amtrak has delays and in NYC, there is usually a valid (albeit frustrating) reason for the delays but the service is usually very good; it's constantly improving and used all around the country. The company has been around for a long time. Experiencing delays in NYC can't be unexpected; this city is big and complicated and it is also no longer the same city it once ways. In many ways, it is better than ever, on another level, things are indeed somewhat inconvenient but generally safety related. The size and volume of traffic (all means) coming and going into and out of NYC is staggering, though more often than not, it works well. I've used mostly all of the various major train services we have.

As for arriving by air, weather conditions optimal, it is a virtual certainty that when arriving into Newark Liberty Airport (an "NYC" airport that is in northern NJ and offering easy access to NYC) and so I never, ever use it. On one level, another airport is more convenient to me and on another level, well, circling in the sky annoys me, and concerns me. Why is Newark plagued with delays? More travelers, not enough runways. There may well be a window of time whereby landing in Newark incurs fewer delays, but if there is, I don't know it.

I've been through frightful delays on BritRail and TrenItalia but that doesn't mean I won't use them again. I've learned from those trips and how delays might have been avoided and second, there are no other trains running in those countries! Amtrak is pretty much IT in the USA and I only wish we could get the rates that visitors get, but then we get rates overseas that locals don't get so it evens out I suppose!

Delays just bite - and carriers know that too, generally wishing to provide great service. there's no doubt about it but technology, experience and preparedness can help any traveler because delays happen. Hence I bring reading material, music, technology, call ahead, etc. But will I be delayed again? Yes.

As for car traffic and all those wonderful weekend getaways people take? If you live in NYC, for most of us, traffic (that's just getting out of city limits) is so prohibitive many of us opt not to travel on those weekends. Do we suffer? Not necessarily because whoever DOES leave, makes the city that much more pleasant and less crowded for us to enjoy our city!! Helicopters are an option for some - but not most of us...and a private jet - well that same traffic would inhibit getting to the airports! Folks living in more suburban areas not used to big city delays might definitely feel more disappointed by the delay and I completely get that.....makes me wish I lived anywhere there weren't 9 million people all around me, in a hurry, all the time!!

Transit systems work - don't give up! There's an App for that However, if you ever want to experience almost perfect train travel, take a ride in Switzerland and Germany - absolutely on time in a way that seems impossible...so if you are looking to make a train that indicates a two or three (average time; it will be specific per station) minute station stops - don't think you'll have an extra 30 seconds to make it. You won't. AMAZING.

Last edited by HostColleen; 02-29-2012 at 07:31 PM. Reason: add a line
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