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Amtrack anyone?

September 1st, 2008 at 08:33 pm

I keep meaning to post about my recent train trip and I forget. We moved DD1 to Chicago via moving truck and came back by train. We could have flown, for twice the price in 45 minutes time. But, we took the 9 hour train for less than half the price. It was a very nice ride and we got to see a lot of pretty country. It was a little faster than driving, and we didn't have to stop to eat, stretch or for restroom breaks. The seats were more comfortable than a plane and we could move around more.

Amtrack has a reward program. I didn't find out about it until AFTER our trip, but signed us up for it anyway. Then, after thinking about it, I called them. I had to read the numbers from our tickets off, and they added them on, so we already have points on our accounts. We can also earn points by shopping at certain businesses as well. It works much like a frequent flier program, in that we can get discounted tickets and hotel rooms with our points.

If anyone is thinking about trying out a train next time you travel, I would highly recommend.

FYI the dining car is pricey--$21 for a dinner, but you can bring on a cooler and the snack car even served hamburgers, hotdogs, nachos...so we ate our own snacks and in the snack car instead of the dining car.

3 Responses to “Amtrack anyone?”

  1. merch Says:

    I use to take the Acela from Boston to NYC. Just a hassle to get to the airport on Boston and tehn fight traffic back home. And door to door was about the same.

  2. monkeymama Says:

    That's great to hear (for future reference).

    I am not a fan of Amtrak because it is so EXPENSIVE here.

    Out of curiosity I just checked fare on our upcoming trip to Denver. For a 31 hour ride it is $325. Our airfare is $398. No contest. Wink The flight is 2 hours.

    It would also cost $186 (RT) to take the train 2 hours away to visit the fam. Which is insane. It cost $30 gas in our car. Even one adult is $60.

    So as much as I know my LM would LOVE to ride on a train, I don't think it will be Amtrak anytime soon.

  3. mom-from-missouri Says:

    Since we drove the rental moving van up, we only needing 1 way transportation to get back. Our options were:
    1.rent a car--$40 plus fuel and fee for the milage--and we would have had to take a cab to the car rental place in Chicago at a fee of $35, and then drive it home, pick up our car and then drive it back to the city to drop off.
    2. Fly back-45 min flight at $128 a ticket plus taxes and fees, then rent a car from the airport to home (then again picking up our vehicle to take it back) or having someone meet us and paying for their gas
    3. Amtrack. $5 metro ticket from our daughters metro station to Chicago Union Station. Check in our luggage, then take the free red, yellow and green lines and spend the morning sight seeing (all for free). Then back to Union Station at 2:30, at at McDonalds there, boarded the train at 3:00 and leave at 3:15. Tickets were $85 each including tax and fees. Baggage was unlimited and we could each have 2 carryones in addition to a purse and small cooler. My MIL picked us up at our train station (but it had free parking, so we could have parked there for free before we left--found that out after the fact). DH had never been on a train before, so even though it was longer by 8 hours than flying, it was fun.
    So, for us to make this trip, which we will be doing again since DD moved there--Amtrack is cheaper for 1-2 people. But for the entire family to go, driving will be cheaper--UNLESS we go on one of the kids 12 and under ride free promotions.

    We will probably take the train again with the kids, because they were too little to remember when they took the last one.

    I also had someone tell me that sometimes they offer a unlimited 30 day or yearly pass. So, we will be checking into that option probably next summer.

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