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Boston to Phoenix Plane and Train?


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#1 JackieTakestheTrain

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 12:52 PM

Hi everyone!

So, I was supposed to fly from Boston to Phoenix next month to join my parents on vacation.

Since I took my little 'swan-dive' down the steps at the Ruggles MBTA stop, I have been unable to navigate steps and walk without the assistance of a cane. My prayer is that this is only temporary (please keep me in your thoughts.)

Anyway, I still want to go on the trip, but honestly, the thought of riding coach and changing planes with my bad leg makes me wanna cry just thinking about it! I looked and it would seem no matter what airline I try, I would have a 9-hour ordeal on the planes and that does not include getting to and from airports.

So, I got thinking: What if I split the trip up by *air* and by train? I could fly to Chicago and take the train the rest of the way. On the train, I could stretch my leg and move about if I got too uncomfortable.

I think I could handle flying coach for about 2 hours without much damage to my leg, but when I noticed that the Amtrak train only stops in Flagstaff AZ with a multi-hour bus ride to Phoenix. The bus ride would kill me!

So, before I give up all hope here of a vacation to Phoenix next month, can someone tell me if I am reading the schedule right? Does the train only stop in Flagstaff and would I need a bus the rest of the way? Would it be possible and even remotely better to rent a car in Flagstaff and drive to Phoenix?

I have always wanted to see Arizona..it breaks my heart I may not be able to go. :(

Any ideas out there?

Thanks!
-- Jackie

#2 edding

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 01:19 PM

While I haven't done it, it's my understanding that it's relatively easy to rent a car at Flagstaff if you want to drive to Phoenix. It's about a 2.5 hr drive depending where in the Phoenix area you're going. While I'm a big fan of train travel, are you sure you don't want to just take a non-stop plane to Phoenix. Us Airways flies nonstop from Boston.

Ed

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 01:20 PM

Check on flights to Houston or New Orleans and then go to Maricopa AZ, which is about 30 miles south of Phoenix. Watch your days though, as this train only runs three days a week.

Alternately, put your train ride on the east end, and ride to Chicago or Atlanta and then fly from there. Catch is, Atlanta will require a change of trains, New York, Washington, or somewhere in between. Going to Chicago: Maybe a change of trains in Albany, maybe not.

#4 edding

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 01:26 PM

Check on flights to Houston or New Orleans and then go to Maricopa AZ, which is about 30 miles south of Phoenix. Watch your days though, as this train only runs three days a week.

Alternately, put your train ride on the east end, and ride to Chicago or Atlanta and then fly from there. Catch is, Atlanta will require a change of trains, New York, Washington, or somewhere in between. Going to Chicago: Maybe a change of trains in Albany, maybe not.


Maricopa ISN'T Phoenix and unless you can get your parents to pick you up there, it's definitely not easy to get to Phoenix from there. Honestly, if you're really into trains, take it all the way from Boston to LA and then catch a quick flight out of LAX on US Air or Southwest to Phoenix. And then fly home directly on US Air or Southwest to Providence.
My additional 2 cents( making the grand total now 4 cents worth of advice from here in Arid-zona)

Ed

#5 GG-1

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 01:48 PM

Aloha

Well I think a different aproach might be in order as the seating in aircraft very bad if you have an injured leg. (unless first is an option) Using the train should cause the least amount of stairs, with the worst step beig from a low level platform. Frankly don't skip the visit that you will regret.

Good Luck
Eric

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#6 MattW

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 03:57 PM

Wait a minute...they seriously don't have Thruway bus from Maricopa to Phoenix??
Forum's official broken record about expanded Georgia passenger service!

#7 MrFSS

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 04:02 PM

Wait a minute...they seriously don't have Thruway bus from Maricopa to Phoenix??


No bus and we're told its almost impossible to get a cab. It is out in the middle of nowhere.

#8 wayman

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 05:19 PM

Wait a minute...they seriously don't have Thruway bus from Maricopa to Phoenix??


No bus and we're told its almost impossible to get a cab. It is out in the middle of nowhere.


This is why, despite Maricopa technically being "within the Phoenix Metropolitan Statistical Area" for statistical purposes, it's "more true" to say that Phoenix--both Phoenix the city and Phoenix the region--does not have Amtrak service. Las Vegas, NV, has better Amtrak service because at least Amtrak runs a three-hour bus in the middle of the night to/from Kingman and another four-hour bus to/from LA.

But they don't run a 30 minute bus to/from Maricopa, which is completely disconnected from Phoenix/Tempe/Mesa/Scottsdale. It's like Lamy and Santa Fe, except that it's completely different: 1) Santa Fe is a heckuva lot smaller than Phoenix, so this is less embarrassing; 2) there's currently a private shuttle service between Lamy and Santa Fe, as well as an independent passenger railroad which sometimes has unintentional connections; and 3) RailRunner may eventually cover this gap.

Edited by wayman, 16 March 2009 - 05:21 PM.

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#9 edding

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 05:23 PM

Wait a minute...they seriously don't have Thruway bus from Maricopa to Phoenix??


No bus and we're told its almost impossible to get a cab. It is out in the middle of nowhere.


This is why, despite Maricopa technically being "within the Phoenix Metropolitan Statistical Area" for statistical purposes, it's "more true" to say that Phoenix--both Phoenix the city and Phoenix the region--does not have Amtrak service. Las Vegas, NV, has better Amtrak service because at least Amtrak runs a three-hour bus in the middle of the night to/from Kingman and another four-hour bus to/from LA.

But they don't run a 30 minute bus to/from Maricopa, which is completely disconnected from Phoenix/Tempe/Mesa/Scottsdale. It's like Lamy and Santa Fe, except that it's completely different: 1) Santa Fe is a heckuva lot smaller than Phoenix, so this is less embarrassing; 2) there's a private shuttle service between Lamy and Santa Fe, an independent passenger railroad which sometimes has unintentional connections; and 3) RailRunner may eventually cover this gap.


I couldn't have said it better myself. Now everyone: Repeat after me: AMTRAK DOES NOT GO TO PHOENIX!

#10 MrFSS

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 05:31 PM

I couldn't have said it better myself. Now everyone: Repeat after me: AMTRAK DOES NOT GO TO PHOENIX!


AMTRAK DOES NOT GO TO PHOENIX!

#11 GG-1

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 05:56 PM

I couldn't have said it better myself. Now everyone: Repeat after me: AMTRAK DOES NOT GO TO PHOENIX!


AMTRAK DOES NOT GO TO PHOENIX!

Aloha


AMTRAK DOES NOT GO TO PHOENIX! Or Hawaii

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#12 sky12065

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 06:42 PM

So, before I give up all hope here of a vacation to Phoenix next month, can someone tell me if I am reading the schedule right? Does the train only stop in Flagstaff and would I need a bus the rest of the way? Would it be possible and even remotely better to rent a car in Flagstaff and drive to Phoenix?

I have always wanted to see Arizona..it breaks my heart I may not be able to go. :(

Thanks!
-- Jackie

Jackie, Last July we took the SWC to Flagstaff, rented a car from Hertz and did do the drive between Flagstaff and Phoenix.

Getting the rental was so easy that a caveman who's old enough with a credit card could do it! The agent and your car are ready right at the station when you arrive. As a matter of fact our train was 5 hours late in arriving (around 2AM) and the agent stayed until our arrival. You can also drop it off if you return home from that location. They have a drop box where you can deposit the keys and a return form.

During the drive to Phoenix you'll enjoy viewing the cactus. At least I did since it was my first time viewing them. A local in Flagstaff correct me though saying that what we saw in Arizona was not called cactus. I believe that they called them saguaro and that they can only be found in Arizona. Perhaps someone from the area can correct me if that's wrong!

Whatever you decide, I won't say break-a -leg :unsure: for good luck, but rather have a great trip! :P

"So much track and so little time" or is it "So much time and so little money"
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#13 sky12065

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 06:51 PM

I couldn't have said it better myself. Now everyone: Repeat after me: AMTRAK DOES NOT GO TO PHOENIX!


AMTRAK DOES NOT GO TO PHOENIX!

Aloha


AMTRAK DOES NOT GO TO PHOENIX! Or Hawaii

You mean I wasn't an Amtrak station in Hawaii where they put a leis around my neck and took this picture of me?
Posted Image

"So much track and so little time" or is it "So much time and so little money"
33,970 Total Rail Miles Traveled To Date
- Joe S -


#14 henryj

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 08:34 PM

If you must take the train, I would go to Flagstaff and rent a car. It's an easy drive to Phoenix and the road is a divided highway. There is nothing at Maricopa and the Eagle/Sunset only runs three times a week. If you took that route your best option would be to detrain at Tucson, rent a car and drive to Phoenix. Greyhound also has service between Tucson and Phoenix, although they don't contractually connect with the train. You would have to make your own way to the bus station. Both these trains arrive at their destinations near Phoenix late at night. Flagstaff near 10PM and Tucson near midnight. It's questionable if you could actually get a rent car at those hours and then if the train is on time. Remember, when you fly into Chicago you are still a long way from Union Station and will have to take a cab or limo. Check with the airports and see what is available. When I flew there from Houston into Midway I took a van to Union station. I made the reservation online before I left. I know any airline or airport has wheel chairs available and electric carts to drive you through the airport. I know of no such services at any train station. You are basically on your own. It would be a nice ride on the train between Chicago and Flagstaff, but at the stations you will have to make do on your own. If you have not ridden a train lately, you cannot immagine how passenger unfriendly it can be if you are handicapped in any way and what an ordeal it can turn out to be. My advice..........FLY.

Edited by henryj, 16 March 2009 - 09:18 PM.

Henryj. Trains I have ridden: Sunbeam, Sam Houston Zephyr, Valley Eagle, Houstonian, Sunset Limited, Twin Star Rocket, Texas Eagle, Texas Zephyr, Texas Chief, California Zephyr, City of Portland, City of San Francisco, Coast Daylight, Canadian, Winnipeger, San Diegan, Flying Crow, Spirit of St. Louis, Pennsy NEC. Amtrak: Lone Star, Crescent, NEC, Broadway Ltd, LSL, Maple Leaf, The International, EB, CS, Sunset Limited, City of New Orleans, CZ, Cascade, Eagle, Cardinal, Meteor, Acela plus many excursions.  Latest, Alaska Railroad and White Pass & Yukon.


#15 sky12065

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 10:37 PM

I made the reservation online before I left. I know any airline or airport has wheel chairs available and electric carts to drive you through the airport. I know of no such services at any train station. You are basically on your own. It would be a nice ride on the train between Chicago and Flagstaff, but at the stations you will have to make do on your own. If you have not ridden a train lately, you cannot immagine how passenger unfriendly it can be if you are handicapped in any way and what an ordeal it can turn out to be. My advice..........FLY.

As a many time user of the "H" room on Amtrak, I have to respectfully disagree with what you have stated above. First of all, Jackie stated she uses a cane and not a wheel chair.

At CUS there is a Red Cap to assist those in need of assistance by transporting them to their car. At Flagstaff you are somewhat on your own! But when entering the train, the sleeper or coach attendant would in all likelihood assist Jackie. Even the Red Cap would probably help if needed! When exiting the sleeper or coach the attendant would again help if their reminded shortly before arriving at the station of the need. This is not just the experience of my trip to Flagstaff, but also with my prior trips to Dallas, Reno and Anaheim twice.

When exiting the train at Flagstaff the walk from my sleeper to the entrance to the station was roughly around 20 yards or so and the service counter for the rental was right inside the door. There are also a few benches there in case one need to sit to rest. Once the rental paperwork is completed the walk to the rental parking lot was also about 20 yards. I have a feeling it would not be needed, but if necessary the rental agent might also get the rental and pull it up to the back door which would only be a few steps to walk! I wouldn't suggest that though because the roadway is very narrow and the rental might block vehicles trying to pass through in the opposite direction. That did happened to us!

So as a handicapped person I can say that I haven't experienced any of that "ordeal" you speak of, except for one minor incident in CUS a number of years ago, and that Jackie should just enjoy the adventure and not worry about the unlikely chances of any "ordeals!"

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#16 edding

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Posted 17 March 2009 - 12:56 AM

So, before I give up all hope here of a vacation to Phoenix next month, can someone tell me if I am reading the schedule right? Does the train only stop in Flagstaff and would I need a bus the rest of the way? Would it be possible and even remotely better to rent a car in Flagstaff and drive to Phoenix?

I have always wanted to see Arizona..it breaks my heart I may not be able to go. :(

Thanks!
-- Jackie

Jackie, Last July we took the SWC to Flagstaff, rented a car from Hertz and did do the drive between Flagstaff and Phoenix.

Getting the rental was so easy that a caveman who's old enough with a credit card could do it! The agent and your car are ready right at the station when you arrive. As a matter of fact our train was 5 hours late in arriving (around 2AM) and the agent stayed until our arrival. You can also drop it off if you return home from that location. They have a drop box where you can deposit the keys and a return form.

During the drive to Phoenix you'll enjoy viewing the cactus. At least I did since it was my first time viewing them. A local in Flagstaff correct me though saying that what we saw in Arizona was not called cactus. I believe that they called them saguaro and that they can only be found in Arizona. Perhaps someone from the area can correct me if that's wrong!

Whatever you decide, I won't say break-a -leg :unsure: for good luck, but rather have a great trip! :P


Saguaros are only found in the Sonoran Desert ( you wouldn't see any in Flagstaff at all-- probably not until after Prescott) and, while I could be wrong I think there are Saguaros all the way into Mexico ( hence the name Sonoran Desert). And what would anyone in Flagstaff know about cacti anyway. Yes, believe me, we ( Phoenix desert dwellers) call Saguaros' cactus.

And thank you, all those that repeated after me.

Ed

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Posted 17 March 2009 - 01:48 AM

Hi everyone!

So, I was supposed to fly from Boston to Phoenix next month to join my parents on vacation.

Yes, I know Mariopa is not Phoenix, and is about 30 miles south of Phoenix. However that is 30 miles in Arozona, not across the New York metro area. I was working on the assumption that her parents could meet here in Maricopa. Maricopa is a lot closer than Flagstaff, and a bus ride with a bad leg can be miserable.

#18 tp49

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Posted 17 March 2009 - 04:32 AM

Hi everyone!

Anyway, I still want to go on the trip, but honestly, the thought of riding coach and changing planes with my bad leg makes me wanna cry just thinking about it! I looked and it would seem no matter what airline I try, I would have a 9-hour ordeal on the planes and that does not include getting to and from airports.

Any ideas out there?


I fly a lot. More than I'd prefer. I've flown with a torn knee and a torn shoulder (thankfully not at the same time.) I'd suggest seeing if you can get seated in either a bulkhead row or in the exit row. Reason being is first class legroom at a coach price. If flying Southwest who doesn't have assigned seating they will preboard you if you are using a cane and both the bulkhead and exit would probably be available to you. Ground staff is usually very good in dealing with this type of situation.

Also if connceting at most major airports arrangements with ground staff can be made to have you taken either by wheelchair or on one of those golf cart like things (that have almost run me over more than once in many hubs) to take you from gate to gate. Also, as another poster suggested there is a non-stop from BOS to PHX.

You could also Amtrak it from BOS to BWI Airport rail station and fly nonstop on SWA to PHX.

#19 sky12065

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Posted 17 March 2009 - 10:25 AM

So, before I give up all hope here of a vacation to Phoenix next month, can someone tell me if I am reading the schedule right? Does the train only stop in Flagstaff and would I need a bus the rest of the way? Would it be possible and even remotely better to rent a car in Flagstaff and drive to Phoenix?

I have always wanted to see Arizona..it breaks my heart I may not be able to go. :(

Thanks!
-- Jackie

Jackie, Last July we took the SWC to Flagstaff, rented a car from Hertz and did do the drive between Flagstaff and Phoenix.

Getting the rental was so easy that a caveman who's old enough with a credit card could do it! The agent and your car are ready right at the station when you arrive. As a matter of fact our train was 5 hours late in arriving (around 2AM) and the agent stayed until our arrival. You can also drop it off if you return home from that location. They have a drop box where you can deposit the keys and a return form.

During the drive to Phoenix you'll enjoy viewing the cactus. At least I did since it was my first time viewing them. A local in Flagstaff correct me though saying that what we saw in Arizona was not called cactus. I believe that they called them saguaro and that they can only be found in Arizona. Perhaps someone from the area can correct me if that's wrong!

Whatever you decide, I won't say break-a -leg :unsure: for good luck, but rather have a great trip! :P


Saguaros are only found in the Sonoran Desert ( you wouldn't see any in Flagstaff at all-- probably not until after Prescott) and, while I could be wrong I think there are Saguaros all the way into Mexico ( hence the name Sonoran Desert). And what would anyone in Flagstaff know about cacti anyway. Yes, believe me, we ( Phoenix desert dwellers) call Saguaros' cactus.

And thank you, all those that repeated after me.

Ed

Ed, thanks for pointing out about there Saguaros not being found in Flagstaff. I was aware of that and probably should have indicated the same so as to not give what might have been a misleading impression that they were there. I do remember ceasing to see the Saguaros around the general Prescott area as I was returning to Flagstaff from Mesa.

So as to not make more confusion I should mention that I did not travel from Flagstaff to Mesa. We first drove from Flagstaff to LA to visit our son and attend a convention in Anaheim. We then drove directly to Mesa, saw a lot of Saguaros along the way and stayed for about 6 days at the Carriage Manor Resort, explored the area then returned to Flagstaff.

BTW, I must have hit someone in Flagstaff that knew a little something about cacti since that how I learned about the Saguaros! :)

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#20 Joel N. Weber II

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Posted 17 March 2009 - 10:35 AM

Remember, when you fly into Chicago you are still a long way from Union Station and will have to take a cab or limo.


The El covers most of the trip, but on the Union Station end the El is a few blocks away, and I'm not sure how direct the connection at the airport really is. I'm also not sure how much the El has done for accessibility.



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