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Author Topic: Webbo rides Amtrak  (Read 134 times)

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Offline Webbo

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Webbo rides Amtrak
« on: October 04, 2018, 09:14:17 am »
A week ago I returned from a trip to eastern Canada (Ottawa, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia) returning via a 4-day stopover in New York. While in New York, my wife and I took a day train trip to Washington, D.C. to visit important stuff for the running of the world including the Capitol and the White House.

The train to Washington was the Amtrak’s Acela Express and the return was on the Northeast Regional also Amtrak. The Acela left Penn Station at 8 am on Saturday morning and arrived on time at Union Station in Washington 3 hours later after making stops at Newark, Iselin, Trenton, Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore. The rails were smooth and the business-class coach was comfortable with reclining seats and fold-down tables. Apparently, Acela’s business class (the lowest class available) would be called coach class on any other train. The Acela is powered by two 6,200 HP electric locomotives at either end of the 8 vehicle trainset so she can really rip along the tracks. In fact, the Acela is the fastest trainset in the Americas with a top speed capability of over 150 mph. I’m thinking that we were well over 100 mph between stations on our trip. Here is a picture of the nose of our train at Union Station.



The Northeast Regional which we took on our return trip was also pretty fast taking 3 ½ hours, but it also included twice as many stops as the Acela. It was a longer train than the Acela and was powered by an ACS-64 8,600 HP electric locomotive. We travelled coach class on the Northeast Regional costing about half as much as the Acela, but with an equivalent level of comfort except that the Northeast Regional did not have curtains on its windows. We paid $522 US total for two return tickets which is not cheap by my standards, but both train rides were comfortable and on time. Big tick from me.

Besides a quick visit to Washington, a major reason for taking this trip was to see the countryside. Truly rural settings did not dominate the view from the train. Nevertheless, it was interesting to see the changes in house style as we passed from one state into another. Not much freight activity was evident along the route though there were a few fairly short trains including ballast trains parked alongside the main lines. I was able to see my first CSX and Norfolk Southern locomotives.

In our few hours in Washington we walked from Union Station to the Capitol, then along the National Mall past the Washington Monument (world’s tallest monumental column) to the Lincoln Memorial (Lincoln is my hero). Our walk back passed the White House, Ford’s Theatre (where Lincoln was assassinated), and then through downtown Washington (very impressive) for a total of about 11 kilometers. The following picture was taken at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial back towards the Capitol.


 
Great train rides and a wonderful visit to Washington. No time to visit the Smithsonian on this visit unfortunately - maybe next time. Your neck of the woods @Intercity, but pretty exciting to me.

Webbo







Online dannyboy

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Re: Webbo rides Amtrak
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2018, 09:26:16 am »
Sounds like a great trip. I know you said the return journey was cheaper, but come on, no curtains!  :( ;)
David.
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Offline Bealman

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Re: Webbo rides Amtrak
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2018, 09:27:31 am »
What a great post, mate! Fantastic!

I've been to Washington and it was a memorable experience. The Smithsonian was the major destination, and brilliant.

However, your trip looks great! More, please!!  :thumbsup: :beers:
« Last Edit: October 04, 2018, 12:13:07 pm by Bealman »
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Offline woodbury22uk

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Re: Webbo rides Amtrak
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2018, 12:04:59 pm »
Seems like you enjoyed Washington as much as we did. After being used to UK trains, the Amtrak stock always seems to be super-wide.

Bet you missed out on Gulliver's Gate in New York, though. 

https://gulliversgate.com/
Mike

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Offline Chetcombe

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Re: Webbo rides Amtrak
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2018, 08:30:32 pm »
I take the Acela or regular Amtrak service along the 'Northeast Corridor' every couple of weeks or so from Philadelphia to either New York or Washington. The Acela time from Philly to NYC is about an hour and 10 minutes, whereas the regular train is about 10 minutes longer - so I rarely pay the extra for the Acela. Philly to DC is 2 hours, so I take the Acela if a client is paying for my ticket ;) It does make you wonder how willing travelers will be to shave just a few minutes off their travel time between London and Birmingham on HS2 if there is a significant premium...

The Acela also runs North of New York through to Boston. It trundles through Connecticut on the commuter lines at about 50 miles an hour before it hurtles through Rhode Island at full speed on new track. The difference is quite staggering.

The main alternative to Amtrak is flying and I quite often find that flying is cheaper. I am going to Boston next week, my return flight was $270, my colleague's Acela ticket was $450...

Offline woodbury22uk

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Re: Webbo rides Amtrak
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2018, 09:01:00 pm »
It does make you wonder how willing travelers will be to shave just a few minutes off their travel time between London and Birmingham on HS2 if there is a significant premium....


There are already 3 levels of service between Birmingham and London with different pricing levels.  Virgin (generally most expensive), Chiltern, and London North Western (generally cheaper). When HS2 arrives the Virgin alternative will be running on HS2 for the most part, so will be the premium service.
Mike

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Online njee20

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Re: Webbo rides Amtrak
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2018, 09:10:29 pm »
Those prices are pretty eye watering, I think I’d be flying were it not for the enjoyment of the train!

I did New York to Washington years ago, was still AEM-7s and Amfleet coaches then!

Offline Webbo

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Re: Webbo rides Amtrak
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2018, 04:47:12 am »
Thank you for your responses folks.

On the issue of trains vs planes here and elsewhere, consider also that trains usually come and go from the centres of cities, whereas airports are usually somewhat out of town requiring taxi rides and extra time whose cost must be added on. In my case, Penn Station was a 10 minute walk from my hotel in New York. The Capitol building is a 15 minute walk from Union Station in Washington.

And, woodbury22uk, you guessed right that we did miss Gulliver's Gate in NY. So much stuff to see. Perhaps next time.

Webbo

 

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