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Old 06-01-2008, 03:42 PM
 
Location: Ohio
5 posts, read 10,629 times
Reputation: 10
Default considering using Amtrak for first time (OR)

Hi,

I plan to be in the southern-to-mid Willamette Valley in mid-June for vacation and relocation-scouting, and I thought I might try using Amtrak for part of my travel. (Ex: going from Albany to downtown Eugene.)

Now in my 30s, I've spent most of my life in Ohio, so my personal experience with train travel is pretty limited. The Amtrak website is helpful, but I just wanted some folks' opinions:

(1.) Are the schedules generally reliable?

(2.) Are the trains/buses generally safe?

(3.) How early before departure should a traveller arrive at a station?

(4.) Any suggestions/caveats to make it a more pleasant trip?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 06-01-2008, 04:45 PM
 
483 posts, read 1,413,918 times
Reputation: 227
[quote=Quartz;3953390]Hi,

(1.) Are the schedules generally reliable?

They start the trip on time, almost always.
Unfortunately, AMTRAK cannot predict or control when they get to succeeding
stops, because they are at the mercy of the freight railroads whose tracks they
must use. So sometimes they can be hours late getting to their destination.
If this will ruin your day, you'd be better off to fly
(be sure to grin when they do the body-cavity search).

If, however, you bear in mind that you are free to read, eat, drink (a beer if you like),
walk around, or nap while being delayed (instead of sweating on the tarmac at an airport or
sitting in your car burning $4 a gallon gas while going nowhere) then it's actually no problem.

(2.) Are the trains/buses generally safe?

Yes. Trains, especially. You wouldn't want to leave a laptop on your seat while
you roam around, of course. Same as any other public place.

(3.) How early before departure should a traveller arrive at a station?

They say 30 minutes. If you are unfamiliar with the area or have baggage to check, add some to that.

(4.) Any suggestions/caveats to make it a more pleasant trip?

Yes, see this forum: Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum (Powered by Invision Power Board) for lots of hints.
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Old 06-01-2008, 09:12 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
6,739 posts, read 7,389,242 times
Reputation: 2842
What mode of transportation are you planning to use in Albany or Eugene? The reason I ask is that the distance between Albany and Eugene isn't far. If you will be renting a car it may be just as cheap to drive.

If you are using a bike taking the train would be an opiton, on the other hand many a bicycler has pedaled the distance.
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Old 06-02-2008, 04:24 PM
 
Location: Ohio
5 posts, read 10,629 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nell Plotts View Post
What mode of transportation are you planning to use in Albany or Eugene? The reason I ask is that the distance between Albany and Eugene isn't far. If you will be renting a car it may be just as cheap to drive.

If you are using a bike taking the train would be an opiton, on the other hand many a bicycler has pedaled the distance.
I plan to use Omnishuttle and the local bus system while around Eugene. I mainly want to take a close look at the university. I thought I might try Amtrak just for experience it, since I have an extra day of vacation to play with. (Traveling on trains are a bit of a novelty in my part of the Midwest!)

The bicycling option sounds cool. I'll look into that, perhaps for my next visit.
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Old 06-03-2008, 02:36 PM
Status: "Still holding on to flip flop weather!" (set 1 day ago)
 
Location: The beautiful Rogue Valley
4,133 posts, read 7,959,547 times
Reputation: 3292
There are two different Amtrak runs in the Willamette Valley - DON'T pick the north bound Coast Starlight, as it's often slightly to extremely late (it originates in Los Angeles and runs up to Seattle). Pick the train that runs Eugene to Bellingham instead (the Cascades), as it's less likely to be extremely late, plus it usually has nicer cars.
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Old 06-03-2008, 10:59 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
6,739 posts, read 7,389,242 times
Reputation: 2842
Even the Cascades is running tardy recently because the freight train service is trying to run over capacity. I second the comment about taking the north bound Coast Starlight.
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