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Old 04-17-2021, 02:01 PM
 
8,354 posts, read 3,995,659 times
Reputation: 25286

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So. Because my wife and I can't go overseas due to Covid, we thought about where we'd want to go. New England is the only part of the country we haven't explored, so let the planning begin.



We had the great idea to travel by train. We're taking a two-week vacation, after all. The romance of the rails, the countryside sliding past us as we see small-town America roll by.



The idea was to take the train to New York, change trains there and on to Boston. Pretty simple, right?



On the off-chance AmTrak officials are reading this, can we talk?



First thing's first. Your website is absolute misery to use. Convoluted navigation, unhelpful chatbots. When I filled in my point of departure and destination, the website spazzed out. I mean repeatedly. Wouldn't give me any information regarding price, timetable, anything.


Now, I'm mildly annoyed. So I call the phone number and get an full 1 minute and 20 seconds of detailed information on why you need to wear a mask to safeguard against Covid. There's no getting around this message. You have to wait it out. Then there's the "For Reservations, Dial 2" prompt.


I dial two, and get a robot. The robot can't seem to grasp that I want to change trains in New York, which tells me that they use an Atari for their computer. So I bail on that and ask to speak to a live body.I mean, all I want to do is give you guys my money, right?



So I give them my call back number because I don't want to wait on hold twenty minutes. They call back and IT'S THE ROBOT AGAIN. And when it prompts me to hit 1 to talk to a live person, I do. And it doesn't respond. Now, I'm stabbing the 1 button on my phone like one of the Manson gang, but it doesn't pick up. Finally, it hangs up on me.



By this point, it's become personal. Again I call. And this time I get a live body, a real-deal human being. Mind you, he's talking to me with all the energy of one of the damned dragging into hell, but at least he has cognitive skills.

AmTrak. Here you are wanting Congress to give you untold billions to increase your routes and improve your offerings. Before you spend one penny on rails, you should really start with your website and the people who answer the phone. Because all those gleaming new trains are going to be driving around empty if no one is able to purchase a ticket.
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Old 04-17-2021, 02:39 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
27,723 posts, read 46,093,237 times
Reputation: 32271
USA is not very 'train-friendly', especially for New England.

We get a $49 flt to Manchester and rent a car for a week, and stay in local lodging / with locals. Done deal, very nice, very informative. VERY inexpensive (We have been doing for 30+ yrs).

Rural Switzerland is nice to see via the train. You will meet lots of retirees riding from town to town and hiking between towns. They do it every day as an adventure / healthy lifestyle. parts of southern and eastern Germany are similar in train access and use. Worth the effort to get there.
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Old 04-17-2021, 04:26 PM
 
Location: Sunshine state
2,273 posts, read 3,181,739 times
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Nah, I wouldn’t bother with Amtrak if I were you, OP. They’re loud, VERY shaky (even the Acela), and more often than not, expensive (more expensive than flying). Oh, they’re also often late.

There’s a reason why not many people would ride the train in the US. Heck, even the Mega Bus is better.
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Old 04-17-2021, 04:46 PM
 
Location: Western Washington
11,471 posts, read 10,282,511 times
Reputation: 19343
Yes, the Amtrak website is a nightmare. They assume you know what each train route is called and where it goes. You then have to build your itinerary based upon each routes timetable.

I didn't mind taking Amtrak living in the NE, but the learning curve was steep.

European rail on the other hand is incredibly simple to use, much cheaper than American, and faster.
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Old 04-18-2021, 06:10 AM
 
Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
1,848 posts, read 563,909 times
Reputation: 2379
Thumbs down Amtrak Has No Service Along Florida's East Coast

Here in Florida, Amtrak has no service along the majority of its East coast.

The following cities are NOT served, and do not even have a passenger rail station:

Port St Lucie
Ft Pierce
Vero Beach
Palm Bay
Melbourne
Titusville
New Smyrna
Daytona
Palm Coast
St Augustine

If I want to take a train from Fort Lauderdale to points North, I have to travel all the way to Tampa (on the complete opposite side of the state!) and then back East to Orlando before I start to crawl up the central part of the state as the tracks run to West Palm Beach then go WEST! to Tampa, then back East but NOT along the coast.

A true Inter-City rail line in Florida would be one that serves a lot more major cities and towns along the East coast!
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Old 04-18-2021, 07:07 AM
 
7,647 posts, read 4,780,675 times
Reputation: 10349
Quote:
Originally Posted by MinivanDriver View Post
AmTrak. Here you are wanting Congress to give you untold billions to increase your routes and improve your offerings. Before you spend one penny on rails, you should really start with your website and the people who answer the phone. Because all those gleaming new trains are going to be driving around empty if no one is able to purchase a ticket.
I don't know if you have ever traveled by Amtrak before, but if you thought the planning/booking part of your trip was bad, just wait until you actual get on the train and see how many delays and other crazy things are going to happen, it only is going to get worse, you're in for a treat, enjoy!
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Old 04-18-2021, 07:45 AM
 
8,354 posts, read 3,995,659 times
Reputation: 25286
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjseliga View Post
I don't know if you have ever traveled by Amtrak before, but if you thought the planning/booking part of your trip was bad, just wait until you actual get on the train and see how many delays and other crazy things are going to happen, it only is going to get worse, you're in for a treat, enjoy!

Well, we're in it for the adventure. That's our outlook, anyway.
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Old 04-18-2021, 09:03 AM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ > Raleigh, NC
17,135 posts, read 22,436,262 times
Reputation: 28863
Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthRabbit View Post
USA is not very 'train-friendly', especially for New England.

We get a $49 flt to Manchester and rent a car for a week, and stay in local lodging / with locals. Done deal, very nice, very informative. VERY inexpensive (We have been doing for 30+ yrs).

Rural Switzerland is nice to see via the train. You will meet lots of retirees riding from town to town and hiking between towns. They do it every day as an adventure / healthy lifestyle. parts of southern and eastern Germany are similar in train access and use. Worth the effort to get there.
Which ALL involves an overseas flight, which, in his first sentence, OP said wasn't an option.

(I assume your speaking of Manchester, England rather than y an Manchester, New Hampshire. )
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Old 04-18-2021, 09:11 AM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ > Raleigh, NC
17,135 posts, read 22,436,262 times
Reputation: 28863
At my husband's insistence, we took Amtrak from Raleigh to NYC. It was his first and LAST time insisting anything related to our travel plans.

The scenery was mostly ugly - at least what LITTLE we could see thru the incredibly dirty windows.

Thank God we took plane back home.
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Old 04-18-2021, 09:26 AM
 
Location: Northern California
72,838 posts, read 5,888,226 times
Reputation: 24236
Maybe see if you can find an organized bus tour, they will take you to more interesting stops. SOme senior centers offer them ( all welcome) We did Amtrak once. I didn't mind it, but hubby hated it. Plus we had to get bussed part of the way, due to no rail service.
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