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Birmingham to NOLA


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#1 Guest_CBrown_*

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Posted 03 July 2017 - 09:09 AM

First time train traveler going from Birmingham AL to NOLA...I have a few questions:

1. Recommended parking at Birmingham station? I've read parking lot nearby is not a safe place to park.

2. Arriving in NO LA around 9pm. We are staying in the Garden District. Are there taxis waiting for arriving passengers or is Uber a better choice?

3. Any important things I should know as a first time train traveler?

#2 ehbowen

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Posted 03 July 2017 - 02:52 PM

Are you traveling before or after July 10th? There's a schedule change which may change some of the answers slightly.

 

  1. Can't help you there; I don't know the Birmingham station neighborhood.
  2. Taxicabs are almost always available at the New Orleans terminal. EDIT TO ADD: There is a flat rate charge between downtown points, including the Garden District; last time I was in NOL it was $10...might have gone up.
  3. I presume you're traveling coach, so:
  • There is no need to check in at the ticket counter when you arrive UNLESS you are checking baggage. If you are, be there at least an hour early; the luggage needs to be in the agent's hand (not just in line) a minimum of 45 minutes before scheduled departure.
  • When your ticket is scanned or collected the conductor will place a small slip of paper called a "seat check" above your seat to mark it as taken. If the train crew does not direct you to a specific seat upon boarding you may take any open seat without a seat check in the clip above it. If the train is not crowded (and the Crescent between Birmingham and New Orleans usually isn't) you may change to another open seat; just move your seat check to the new seat. If the train is crowded or if the crew seems on the uptight side, ask your coach attendant or one of the conductors before you switch seats. EDIT TO ADD: When you board the train, remain in the seat you have chosen or which was assigned to you until the conductor has collected your ticket and given you your seat check. After that point, you are free to move about the train and visit the diner or lounge car.
  • If your train is on time you may be in time to catch last call for lunch in the diner, if you wish. Lunch is moderately priced, by Amtrak standards, but the selections are rather pedestrian. You are welcome to bring your own food on board but you will need to eat it at your seat (there is a tray table). You may also purchase snacks and sandwiches in the cafe/lounge on board. EDIT TO ADD: Personal alcohol may only be consumed in private sleeping car accommodations. You are welcome to purchase adult beverages in the diner or lounge and take them back to your seat, but don't supplement them with your private stock. You may bring soft drinks and similar and there should be drinking water available in your car.
  • Dinner will be by reservation; normally the Crescent only has one dinner seating which is largely filled by sleeper passengers and the menu is restricted. With the modified schedule that may change. Amtrak's dinners are quite expensive for coach passengers but "dinner in the diner" is something that I think every Amtrak passenger should experience at least once. Save your pennies and give it a try if you can grab a reservation.

Edited by ehbowen, 03 July 2017 - 05:25 PM.

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#3 Guest_CBrown_*

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Posted 03 July 2017 - 05:18 PM

Thanks for the info. Is there anywhere for 4 of us to sit and play cards or something?

#4 ehbowen

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Posted 03 July 2017 - 05:26 PM

There should be tables for four available in the cafe/lounge. You may have to wait for one to open up.


Edited by ehbowen, 03 July 2017 - 05:27 PM.

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#5 nshvlcat

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Posted 04 July 2017 - 09:17 AM

I recently arrived in N.O. at 9:30P from LA.  The cabs were lined up around the semi-circle drive in front of the station. 


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#6 me_little_me

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Posted 04 July 2017 - 10:52 AM

If you were staying in/near French quarter, there is trolley (If I remember, $.75 for seniors) right at train station. But for 4 to Garden district, taxi or Uber is best.

 

If price is good, consider doing bedroom one way. You'll have to call for 4 in a room. Just to try it out in case your next trip is overnight. Do it on return as coach will feel a come-down after bedroom. You'll have bench for 3 facing a single seat with enclosed private bathroom. Also, meals included (lunch).



#7 west point

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 09:45 PM

Be prepared to arrive late NOL.  Although the arrival times may be better with  changed schedule do not count on it !  19 arrived NOL on time once in last 45 days.  So be prepared.  Returning you may take about 1:00 delay Meridian - BHM. !



#8 the_traveler

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 10:53 PM

[quote name="me_little_me" post="715343" timestamp="1499183535"]Also, meals included (lunch).[/quote]
Breakfast also!:) Meal service starts in Slidell northbound. And the included meals will be for all those booked into the sleeper!:)
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Take the train instead and enjoy the ride!

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#9 me_little_me

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 05:53 PM

 

Also, meals included (lunch).


Breakfast also! :) Meal service starts in Slidell northbound. And the included meals will be for all those booked into the sleeper! :)

 

You are right. I forgot.





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