You would have to book a multi-city or two separate tickets with a transfer at Albany-Rensselaer. If you wait for the forced transfer to be programmed into the system, business class may come up as a possibility on a one-way ticket as well.
Since you are boarding in Erie at 7:20AM (could be later), consider booking Business Class seats on 448. The BC seats are in the front section of the cafe car and are quite comfortable for a daytime ride.
On the return trip expect to arrive late in Erie. Westbound you really want the roomette.
Ill second the recommendation for Business Class on the 448 LSL. Its comfortable, a money saver on a day trip, and a lot less hectic and crowded than coach typically. Also, when Ive taken a roomette on a Viewliner on 448 with my wife, there is usually a large, accessible bathroom only 1 or 2 cars down in the lounge. Thats a good alternative to the in room toilet - and you still have the in room sink - which is a great feature for brushing your teeth, shaving or splashing some water on your face.
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Thanks for the heads up. How would you go about scheduling on the 448 or 449 out of ERI? The only options that appear for me are 48/49 without business class seats as an option (for the multiple dates I've played with).
Yes. Since 448/449 are the Boston sections, it's not normally listed for passengers past ALB (where the train splits). One thing I will say about Business Class is that it's in an Amfleet I, which means you'd have significantly smaller windows than in a Roomette or even Coach (Amfleet II). And you'd also be walking through maybe four coach cars to get to the diner.