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Old 06-02-2021, 07:17 PM
 
Location: Queens, New York
355 posts, read 127,106 times
Reputation: 1045

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Quote:
Originally Posted by nuggznsauce View Post
Before the pandemic my husband and I wanted to take a trip from Washington to Los Angeles. Amtrak was only $120 total for both of us and being the adventurous travelers we are we too a shot.

It was hands down the most amazing experience we've had. Not only did we get amazing views of the west coast (all hidden or off the highway path) we both got to relax instead of worrying about safe driving routes, paying for hotels, or getting cranky at the airport. Super easy and for a little more you get a private room and meals the while way.

Now we're hooked and have booked our San Francisco to Chicago trip. Will head out to the Midwest then shoot down south on our return trip. The scenery and ability to just lay back and relax is perfect and honestly you couldn't find a better way to explore the country.

Many Americans have this weird hatred for the rail systems the entire world seems to get behind. It doesn't mean you have to give up the cars or airplanes, each having their own problems as well. Personally I hate cars, never driven or owned one my whole life and talked my husband out of owning one. So far it's never stopped us from traveling or living where we want. But that's in part to having multiple options for travel like rail or multicity trail systems.

The biggest advantage will be the small towns hanging on by a thread inbetween these greater distance stops. They could absolutely benefit and in the future even regrow if we invest in the rails that can bring interest and tourism. Eventually these stops could provide affordable sizable housing to many people wanting out of large cities.

But of course first you have to bite the bullet and provide the funding to Amtrak and possibly allow more private rail systems in the future. But once you do you open up so many opportunities.
Both those trips sound very nice! Before covid hit I'd take the train from NYC up to Vermont to get home. The scenery is beautiful in some parts. It's a really nice way to travel.
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Old 06-03-2021, 12:23 AM
 
Location: NYC
4,036 posts, read 2,318,394 times
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This fiction that the NYC/DC trek is quicker by plane is laughable, take it from someone who had to do fairly often. The airports are out of town & there can be traffic jams on the way to any of them. Even the JFK Airtrain requires a transfer with a good walk between, I have waited over 30 minutes on the taxi line at LGA & then have to endure a slow crawl in traffic to Manhattan, Reagan airport is out in Virginia with jammed roads. And with post 9/11 security & the high demand for these flights one needs to get there about 90-120 minutes before departure to ensure getting onboard on time. Then the flight takes 1 hour, but everything else adds up to several more hours & a lot of stress.

The Acela you just get on at midtown Manhattan & it goes straight to Union Station, heart of DC, quick cab/uber rides to/from both. The time spent traveling is the same both ways but Amtrak is so much more relaxing. Boston-NYC-PHL-Baltimore-DC would definitely profit from a high-speed rail line.
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Old 06-03-2021, 06:39 AM
 
Location: MN
4,257 posts, read 4,142,560 times
Reputation: 3569
I’ve ridden Amtrak from St Paul to Portland,OR. Then rented a car and drove to SF, flew home from there. Train was the most interesting part, but also the worst. We couldn’t sleep either night in a sleeper car. It was also 12 hrs off, being you enter western MT as it’s getting dark. Overnight you run all of the mountains of MT, ID, and eastern WA. Wake up to running Columbia River Gorge. I think Amtrak should sub out the dining car and lounge cars. The generic interior for eating/bar car is a joke, it’s not appealing one bit. Let private food/bar companies figure it out. If they had a bar car where one could watch live sports etc....I don’t know if running Directv via something always moving is possible? Maybe financially it wouldn’t work for a national chain to do it...

I’d pick train over flying and driving when possible. I took Amtrak to WI Dells from St Paul for a giant car show two years ago. A 3 hr drive was 4 hrs on a train and was actually less money then I would used in gas (my vehicle is 600+ hp and 5k lbs, it gets 18 mpg freeway with how I drive it) Train dropped me off downtown and my friends with cars from Milw picked me up and dropped me off, how I’m always going to do this car going forward. Whitefish Montana skiing/snowboarding trips will be trains now on. Train drops you off downtown, can get vrbo within walking distance and use shuttle to ski resort. Renting a car is pointless in this situation for me. I’ve done the flying/car rental in summer to see all the back country mtns of this area (Glacier via Going to Sun was shut off via forest fire) but it’s not needed for a ski trip. Train and driving are within 4 hrs hours, way less stress and safer. Train was cheaper.

Last edited by wamer27; 06-03-2021 at 07:15 AM..
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Old 06-03-2021, 07:53 AM
 
87 posts, read 44,304 times
Reputation: 525
Quote:
Originally Posted by wamer27 View Post
I’ve ridden Amtrak from St Paul to Portland,OR. Then rented a car and drove to SF, flew home from there. Train was the most interesting part, but also the worst. We couldn’t sleep either night in a sleeper car. It was also 12 hrs off, being you enter western MT as it’s getting dark. Overnight you run all of the mountains of MT, ID, and eastern WA. Wake up to running Columbia River Gorge. I think Amtrak should sub out the dining car and lounge cars. The generic interior for eating/bar car is a joke, it’s not appealing one bit. Let private food/bar companies figure it out. If they had a bar car where one could watch live sports etc....I don’t know if running Directv via something always moving is possible? Maybe financially it wouldn’t work for a national chain to do it...

I’d pick train over flying and driving when possible. I took Amtrak to WI Dells from St Paul for a giant car show two years ago. A 3 hr drive was 4 hrs on a train and was actually less money then I would used in gas (my vehicle is 600+ hp and 5k lbs, it gets 18 mpg freeway with how I drive it) Train dropped me off downtown and my friends with cars from Milw picked me up and dropped me off, how I’m always going to do this car going forward. Whitefish Montana skiing/snowboarding trips will be trains now on. Train drops you off downtown, can get vrbo within walking distance and use shuttle to ski resort. Renting a car is pointless in this situation for me. I’ve done the flying/car rental in summer to see all the back country mtns of this area (Glacier via Going to Sun was shut off via forest fire) but it’s not needed for a ski trip. Train and driving are within 4 hrs hours, way less stress and safer. Train was cheaper.
Check out the newer upgraded cars added for longer trip. We got to test one out on our Seattle-Los Angeles and compared to the older cars their a great improvement. Of course if you have problems sleeping in any cramped space that's just the way it is. The dining car upgrades are pretty nice though and the sleepers are way more sound proof and less jittery.

The majority of cars in the trains need upgrading, but that's a big part of receiving more funding. To make the trains more attractive and enjoyable for more people. The timetable issue is another part of the issue. Right now freight has the righter way since their trains have more valuable cargo and go faster with less stops. If investments are made faster or longer distance trains on secured lines can happen making trip times more accurate. And to be fair delays happen in other forms of travel too, we're just used to them more.
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Old 06-03-2021, 12:03 PM
 
13,190 posts, read 10,905,587 times
Reputation: 34629
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburban_Guy View Post
I think I've only ridden Amtrak once in my life, a very long time ago when I was a kid for a brief interstate route.

But never thought to take one to travel anywhere in America myself. Sure, it's an "experience" that some prefer.

But for me, I don't see the appeal of paying for a train ticket to go to another state, at a cost that can be more than a plane ticket, and takes much longer to get there (with crappy food and service sometimes).
I support Amtrak. They have a marketing problem. People still see trains as transportation. Yes, along the east coast it meets those needs.

However, for routes in other parts of the country, they need to take a tip from the cruise industry. In cruising, there are people who cruise solely for the experience they have on the ship. They don't care that the ship is docking in the ports in lovely destinations.

For Amtrak, they should market the act of rail travel and the train itself as the experience.
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Old 06-03-2021, 03:20 PM
 
5,393 posts, read 4,465,241 times
Reputation: 13568
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlygal View Post
I support Amtrak. They have a marketing problem. People still see trains as transportation. Yes, along the east coast it meets those needs.

However, for routes in other parts of the country, they need to take a tip from the cruise industry. In cruising, there are people who cruise solely for the experience they have on the ship. They don't care that the ship is docking in the ports in lovely destinations.

For Amtrak, they should market the act of rail travel and the train itself as the experience.
This is an innovative way of looking at the train business, and I agree with your ideas.

I've traveled a bit in continental Europe and their trains are smooth and fast. Of course, in the long run, they pay through the nose. Plus, they are heavily unionized and strikes are not uncommon. The one day I was in Holland, there was a labor action.

I've also traveled by train in Japan and Taiwan -- excellent. And very high taxes.

The way to get Americans back on trains is to make it a fun and productive experience. How about a gaming car? A dance car? a food court?

The thing is, today you can get an uber/lyft from the train station to anywhere. The need to rent a car has pretty much evaporated.

The main opposition to Amtrak renovation is the fear that the money will be wasted. And it will. We should ask the political leadership to install some private industry transport experts into key positions in the org and try to modernize the thing. There's good people there, but also some not so productive elements.
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Old 06-03-2021, 06:02 PM
 
Location: MN
4,257 posts, read 4,142,560 times
Reputation: 3569
Quote:
Originally Posted by blisterpeanuts View Post
This is an innovative way of looking at the train business, and I agree with your ideas.

I've traveled a bit in continental Europe and their trains are smooth and fast. Of course, in the long run, they pay through the nose. Plus, they are heavily unionized and strikes are not uncommon. The one day I was in Holland, there was a labor action.

I've also traveled by train in Japan and Taiwan -- excellent. And very high taxes.

The way to get Americans back on trains is to make it a fun and productive experience. How about a gaming car? A dance car? a food court?

The thing is, today you can get an uber/lyft from the train station to anywhere. The need to rent a car has pretty much evaporated.

The main opposition to Amtrak renovation is the fear that the money will be wasted. And it will. We should ask the political leadership to install some private industry transport experts into key positions in the org and try to modernize the thing. There's good people there, but also some not so productive elements.
This, a movie theater car, one for kids, etc. I’m a fan of freight trains and watch YouTube live cams. Amtrak seems to run more then one locomotive, yet trains are only 10 cars long. One should be enough and would save lots of money. I’ve seen 100 car one locomotive trains at local rail yard for perspective.
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Old 06-06-2021, 09:38 PM
 
Location: Howard County, Maryland
10,255 posts, read 5,728,281 times
Reputation: 23955
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadking2003 View Post
You can't compare the effectiveness of a train from Paris to Berlin which has been in place for 100 years with a train from Dallas to Valdosta where you have to spend billions on land and infrastructure.
Your hypothetical train between Dallas and Valdosta wouldn't be only for the small handful of people traveling between those two cities, but also for the various intermediate cities along the route. The equivalency is not an airliner traveling between two cities but rather a highway that links a multitude of cities and towns along its route.
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Old 06-06-2021, 10:16 PM
 
Location: Chemnitz, Germany previous in AZ, CA, AL, NJ,
3,588 posts, read 8,789,815 times
Reputation: 6877
Amtrak's main problem is they don't own or control the tracks used by the trains, except for along the northeast corridor high traffic route. As a result, they are subject to delay by the freight trains whose owners (like UP, BNSF, Norfolk Southern, CSX etc) determine who gets priority. Also, the quality of the tracks is a mixed bag, resulting in side to side swaying and generally rough rides in the cars, which also limits the speed the trains can travel.

Amtrak should focus on working with states that have enough population density to support regional routes that can compete with plane travel for customers. Focus on high population intercity routes that are short enough to compete against one to two hour airplane trips. Forget about long distance routes across vast distances for now.

Good examples they should focus on are like:
DFW-Houston-San Antonio/Austin
Miami-Orlando-Tampa/St Pete
Atlanta-Charlotte-Raleigh-Durham (and other Carolina cities)
Cleveland-Columbus-Cincinnati
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Old 06-07-2021, 09:08 AM
 
7,867 posts, read 4,932,851 times
Reputation: 10599
Quote:
Originally Posted by recycled View Post
Good examples they should focus on are like:
DFW-Houston-San Antonio/Austin
Miami-Orlando-Tampa/St Pete
Atlanta-Charlotte-Raleigh-Durham (and other Carolina cities)
Cleveland-Columbus-Cincinnati
There was talk 20 or 30 years ago of creating a "Texas Triangle" and linking DFW/Houston/San Antonio with high speed rail or even maglev, but it went nowhere.

I know a private company (Texas Central Railway) is trying to build a Dallas to Houston high speed rail line with a stop in the Brazos Valley near Roans Prairie, TX, which will have a shuttle to College Station and Texas A&M.

I wish them the best!
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