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Train Travel

Old 12-17-2008, 06:10 PM
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Hi Team-

Maybe I've watched a few too many episodes of "extreme trains" on the History Channel....or maybe I'm straight crazy...or maybe its the vodka. Anyone ever been cross country by train? I've got way too much vacation time and have a new found love for the rail road-- doing some research on Amtrak.com I can get a ticket from Boston to LA (3 days) for like $700 including 3 meals a day- and a room to myself with a bed... (a real small room). I figure my brother lives in LA, so I could take a ride out there then fly back on a one way ticket.... I could even split it up a bit and stop for a day in Chicago and Seattle...or a few spots in between....

So...has anyone done any long distance train travel?
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Old 12-17-2008, 06:18 PM
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I took one from Italy to Germany many years ago,I had a blast as we stopped and hung out at all the town's in between
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Old 12-17-2008, 07:12 PM
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We go on the Eurostar from London to Paris, and when I was stationed in Germany we traveled quite a bit.

We also took a train when I was a kid from Chicago to Washington, DC. It was fun as a kid. I thought about taking the auto train, but even whith a military discount, it was quite expensive. I think it would be fun, but it is alot slower than trains in Europe.
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Old 12-17-2008, 07:22 PM
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The family I work for did a major train trip a few years back in refirbished luxury liners. Look up Amtrak. They had some real fun. My wife wants to do a local dinner train in NH but I haven't looked into yet on what the deal is. She and some friends were talking about it at work.
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Old 12-17-2008, 07:30 PM
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Thanks guys...I'm thinking it might just be a pretty cool trip- I could go abroad (and my girlfriend thinks I need to broaden my horizons) but honestly If I spend money on a vacation I want to do it in the USA--
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Old 12-17-2008, 07:36 PM
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just make sure you have lots of time as they stop at every hole in the wall town,but that was the cool part to me
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Old 12-17-2008, 08:05 PM
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so when they stop in these little towns is there time to get off? or is it just to depart/embark people?
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Old 12-17-2008, 08:39 PM
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bencashen - 12/17/2008 11:05 PM

so when they stop in these little towns is there time to get off? or is it just to depart/embark people?
You can check the schedule, but it is mostly to pickup/let off pasengers. For example, the train (auto) from Lorton, Va to Sanford, Fl is 17 hours.
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Old 12-17-2008, 09:25 PM
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I would think it would be a GREAT trip - just make sure any "layovers" are in some decent towns/places!

I have these "visions" sometimes of visiting "small town America" by train - like Iowa, Nebraska, etc., or riding a train through the Southwest or the Dakotas.

I would try to make a week out of it - to get to CA.

Last time I rode one was in the EARLY '60's - 23-1/2 HOURS (yep!) to get from here (Richmond, VA) to Charleston, WV!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !

Regards,
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Old 12-17-2008, 09:49 PM
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bencashen - 12/17/2008 8:30 PM

Thanks guys...I'm thinking it might just be a pretty cool trip- I could go abroad (and my girlfriend thinks I need to broaden my horizons) but honestly If I spend money on a vacation I want to do it in the USA--
As the saying goes.....just do it....and see if you can take some time in some towns along the way. When I was a kid, I went on a motorhome trip with a friends family for a month through the U.S. I would love to do it again, as I remember thinking how many "countries" there are within our Country. The people you will meet that are different, yet endearing, will make it worth it.
Two years ago, I left for Costa Rica for three weeks with only a round trip plane ticket as plans...no hotel or car reservation, and no itinerary. I rented a truck at the airport and asked for some cool places to see. I went to the first and would find a place to go and basically just traveled the country and found places to stay. Some crappy, some great, and a whole lot of cool discoveries in between. Even if you do it and wouldn't do it again, you will have an experience that you will probably never have again and you won't regret it.
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Old 12-17-2008, 09:55 PM
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Bruce W - 12/17/2008 10:25 PM

I would think it would be a GREAT trip - just make sure any "layovers" are in some decent towns/places!

I have these "visions" sometimes of visiting "small town America" by train - like Iowa, Nebraska, etc., or riding a train through the Southwest or the Dakotas.

I would try to make a week out of it - to get to CA.

Last time I rode one was in the EARLY '60's - 23-1/2 HOURS (yep!) to get from here (Richmond, VA) to Charleston, WV!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !

Regards,
Bruce,

Nobody told you that toy steam train you got for Christmas was not designed for interstate travel???? You must be a Richmond Spider ( I spent four....ummm......five.5 years in Williamsburg)
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Old 12-18-2008, 12:02 AM
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mbenzing - 12/18/2008 12:55 AM

Bruce W - 12/17/2008 10:25 PM

I would think it would be a GREAT trip - just make sure any "layovers" are in some decent towns/places!

I have these "visions" sometimes of visiting "small town America" by train - like Iowa, Nebraska, etc., or riding a train through the Southwest or the Dakotas.

I would try to make a week out of it - to get to CA.

Last time I rode one was in the EARLY '60's - 23-1/2 HOURS (yep!) to get from here (Richmond, VA) to Charleston, WV!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !

Regards,
Bruce,

... You must be a Richmond Spider ( I spent four....ummm......five.5 years in Williamsburg)
How did you guess???

Did you go to W&M or just live in Williamsburg for a while? Wife and I were down there about 2 weeks ago - the area seems to be doing well, despite the economy. New hospital, new shopping centers, new homes, new LOTS of stuff! We get down there about every other month.

Regards,
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Old 12-18-2008, 12:20 AM
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bencashen - 12/18/2008 12:05 PM

so when they stop in these little towns is there time to get off? or is it just to depart/embark people?
It depends on the type of ticket you buy. Usually costs a bit more for the opportunity to jump off a train when it stops, and then jump back on another that that follows some time/days later.

I did a 4-day train trip when I was a kid, San Francisco to Missouri. Hated it. Now, I frequently ride trains, sometimes over great distances and really enjoy it. But I never ride trains in the US, light rail excepted. I can't get a feeling the trains in the US are as safe as they could be. Trains in Europe and Asia are a way of life. They are light years ahead of anything they US has to offer for passenger travel. Passenger trains in the US today impress me more as an after thought, not the necessity they are elsewhere in the world.


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Old 12-18-2008, 06:38 AM
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Sounds like an interesting experience. How about a report on THT if you do it?
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Old 12-18-2008, 07:13 AM
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Thanks for all the info guys--I'm pretty amped about the idea...hopefully I can make it come to Fruition! You guys Rock, anyone has any other info please don't hesitate!!
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Old 12-18-2008, 07:56 AM
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i ride a commuter train every day into d.c. about 2 weeks ago, on my way home on the train, i started talking to two older couples that had just completed a cross-country train trip (L.A. to D.C). they made a couple of overnight stops (chicago and denver) and sounds like they had a blast.

i'd love to do a trip like that with my family.

here's a couple of things to read:

http://www.ajc.com/news/content/trav...rain_trip.html

http://cardhouse.com/travel/train.htm

let us know how it goes!!!
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Old 12-18-2008, 08:05 AM
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Thanks for that happyjack-- I think I'll try to pull this off either late Feb or early March, take a few weeks off of work and go for it--
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Old 12-18-2008, 09:49 AM
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My folks went From Palm Beach Fl to California 20 years ago with my aunt and uncle. They made a few stops on the way.

After the novelty wore off it was just like sitting in the back seat of a car. Leaving cities you pass through the ugly stuff like freight yards. Then it's miles and miles of miles and miles. Crossing the plains was boring and monotonous and they got tired of the mountains after a while too.

If you're the type who enjoys sitting quietly for days at a time with your book or newspaper then it might be a trip for you. Otherwise I'd suggest doing a short hop first like Portland to New York or Washington.

Good luck!
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Old 12-18-2008, 10:05 AM
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Being that my wife will not fly, we frequently take Amtrak to Florida from NJ. We always get what Amtrak calls a "bedroom" which is very comforatble for me, my wife and 7 year old son. I would NEVER go coach, it's pretty low back there. Other than the time it takes, it is the only 24 hours that I can say I truly get to relax since I can't do much other than read or look out the window. Dining is a fun experience, with a room ticket, you are considered 1st class and it includes sit-down meals in the dining car. Only thing that is negative is that the cars are outdated and Amtrak doesn't seem to have the money to upgrade. They are also low-tech when it comes to ticketing and business type issues, which I've had few of to deal with.
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Old 12-18-2008, 11:10 AM
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NJFISH - 12/18/2008 9:05 AM

Being that my wife will not fly, we frequently take Amtrak to Florida from NJ. We always get what Amtrak calls a "bedroom" which is very comforatble for me, my wife and 7 year old son. I would NEVER go coach, it's pretty low back there. Other than the time it takes, it is the only 24 hours that I can say I truly get to relax since I can't do much other than read or look out the window. Dining is a fun experience, with a room ticket, you are considered 1st class and it includes sit-down meals in the dining car. Only thing that is negative is that the cars are outdated and Amtrak doesn't seem to have the money to upgrade. They are also low-tech when it comes to ticketing and business type issues, which I've had few of to deal with.
My wife and I rode from New Orleans to New York for Thanksgiving last year. I thought that it was comfortable as mentioned above and my wife was 6 months pregnant at the time and she had no complaints.

With the exception of a longer travel time and missing some of the country side because of nightfall I enjoyed it. Although because of time considerations I would have prefered to fly home.

If you have excess funds, there are a few companies that have private cars that are attached to passenger trains and have better accomodations than amtrak and the car can be dropped off at different locations if you want to explore a specific area.
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