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Auto Train or Silver Meteor?


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#1 Guest_TrainFan_*

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Posted 25 June 2018 - 08:57 AM

Greetings everyone. I have taken the auto train round trip twice recently, but otherwise have not traveled any long distance trains. I have a business trip coming up that is bringing me to central Florida, followed immediately by DC suburbs. I'm coming from CT. 

 

I have booked the Auto Train for this trip even though I don't necessarily need my car this time. I am second guessing whether I should change to Silver and eliminate the 5 hour ride to Virginia. I booked AT because my perception is that compared to the Silver services that make many stops, the Auto Train runs direct and is less likely to have issues, is a "better" train, is familiar to me since I've already taken it, and in a worst case scenario (I'm in Florida and trains aren't running) I can just drive back. Plus, it's easier to pack for this 10 day trip.

 

That being said, the drive to Lorton is stressful and it would be much nicer to leave from NYC. And it's somewhat less expensive (sleepers in all cases). Cons are I would need to add a Regional/Acela leg to get back from DC, travel "lighter" and pack more strategically. Plus, my timing from Florida to DC has very little cushion, meaning, I really would need the Meteor to be on time and it seems it's less likely to be on time than AT. And then there's a cab/Uber/rental car needed, etc. 

 

What would you experienced east coast train fans do?

 

Thanks!



#2 Maglev

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Posted 25 June 2018 - 09:19 AM

I would avoid traffic and driving and take the Meteor.  In my experience, the delays are mostly caused by freight trains, which may affect either train.


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Northeast corridor Heritage, Metroliner, Amfleet and Acela, CN Super Continental, Broadway Limited, Lone Star, Sunset Limited, Coast Starlight, San Joaquin, Southwest Limited, National Limited, Champion, California Zephyr, Capitol Limited, Wolverine, Crescent, Empire Builder, Cascades, Lake Shore Limited, Silver Meteor, Cardinal. 


#3 pennyk

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Posted 25 June 2018 - 12:18 PM

I live in Orlando and rarely take the Auto Train since I do not want to drive in the northeast.  I am very happy with my trips on the Silver Meteor, which currently has a full dining car, and great crews.  There are instances when the train gets delayed.  Sometimes those same situations will also delay the Auto Train - but not always.


Amtrak miles: 236,632; Routes: Silver Meteor, Champion, Silver Star, Auto Train, Capitol Limited, Empire Builder, Lakeshore Limited, Adirondack, Vermonter, Cardinal, California Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Texas Eagle, Missouri River Runner, Acela Express, Southwest Chief, Cascades, Crescent, City of New Orleans, Hiawatha Service, Maple Leaf, Keystone Service, NE Regional, Downeaster, Piedmont, Carolinian, Lincoln Service, Autumn Express 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, Empire Service, Sunset Limited, San Joaquin, Capitol Corridor, Pennsylvanian, Illinois Zephyr, Carl Sandburg, Ethan Allen Express, AEM-7 Excursion, Pacific Surfliner, Palmetto.  VIA miles: 4,584; Routes: The Canadian, Ocean; Alaska RR Denali Star: 356 miles


#4 RichieRich

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Posted 25 June 2018 - 03:41 PM

Why not just take a few hours...and FLY?!? Come back by-way-of DCA and the DC suburbs can be on the subway.

Now for me (an 8-times-a-year AT regular), I like the flexibility of having my car....and...packing everything that will fit in it. I fully load a Yukon XL on every trip.

A lot of SnowBirds come to Lorton the day before and stay at the Comfort Inn so-as to not be stressed by traffic situations on I-95. LOL I live in Bethesda (30 minutes around the Beltway from the station) and I get stressed!!!


Edited by RichieRich, 25 June 2018 - 10:08 PM.

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#5 cpotisch

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Posted 25 June 2018 - 03:52 PM

I agree with Maglev and Penny, take the Meteor. Save yourself the hassle of driving and bringing a car, and enjoy a very different train experience! I've also found the Meteor to generally be pretty reliable, and the crews are always top notch. Especially since it seems like you don't need a car, the Auto Train really isn't worth the hassle.


Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service
 
Wish List: Cardinal, CONO, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Crescent (overnight), Adirondack w/ Great Dome, Downeaster

#6 Railroad Bill

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Posted 25 June 2018 - 06:53 PM

I would agree with Penny & Maglev. We took the AT last winter because we were going to stay in FL for six weeks and that made sense to avoid a rental car expense.  But we mostly use the Meteor, which is running only a little behind the AT, has the diner, and has generally good crews.  


Amtrak Trains Ridden So Far:    86,889 miles and counting
Lake Shore Ltd, Capitol Ltd, Pennsylvanian, NE Corridors, Crescent, City of New Orleans, Empire Builder, California Zephyr, Hoosier, SW Chief, Surfliners, California Capitol Corridors, Coast Starlight, Cascades. Texas Eagle, San Joaquins, Missouri River Runner,Cardinal, Downeaster, Silver Meteor, Keystones, Auto Train, Adirondack, Lincoln Service, Illinois Zephyr, Carl Sandburg, Texas Eagle Detour Rt, 2013 Autumn Express Tour PHL, Silver Star, Sunset Limited -Acela Express-  2015 Autumn Express ALB - Empire Service Via Rail Corridor Trains Cobourg-Ottawa-Montreal,(round trip)  The Ocean (round trip)--   2,250 miles


#7 JRR

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Posted 25 June 2018 - 09:08 PM

Driving I 95 to Lorton is no picnic! Take the Meteor!

Edited by JRR, 28 June 2018 - 12:13 PM.


#8 LookingGlassTie

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Posted 27 June 2018 - 07:16 PM

I agree with the others.  Given your situation, taking the Meteor would be the better option.


"And you know that notion just crossed my mind............"


#9 Guest_TrainFan_*

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Posted 02 July 2018 - 07:45 AM

I switched to the Silver Meteor. Thanks for the all the input. Hope you are all correct!



#10 cpotisch

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Posted 02 July 2018 - 10:11 AM

I switched to the Silver Meteor. Thanks for the all the input. Hope you are all correct!

What kind of room did you opt for?
Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service
 
Wish List: Cardinal, CONO, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Crescent (overnight), Adirondack w/ Great Dome, Downeaster

#11 Guest_TrainFan_*

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Posted 02 July 2018 - 05:31 PM

Roomette. Had bedrooms on the AT but price was prohibitive on the Meteor. Given that it's just me and the roomette has a toilet it seems just fine. 

 

 



#12 cpotisch

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Posted 02 July 2018 - 05:42 PM

Roomette. Had bedrooms on the AT but price was prohibitive on the Meteor. Given that it's just me and the roomette has a toilet it seems just fine. 

Well said! I don't feel like Viewliner bedrooms are ever worth it. All the trains with 'em are one night and we just don't need the space or the shower for that long a ride.


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Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service
 
Wish List: Cardinal, CONO, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Crescent (overnight), Adirondack w/ Great Dome, Downeaster

#13 Railroad Bill

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Posted 02 July 2018 - 06:19 PM

We opt for bedrooms on the Meteor since two larger people in a roomette has some restriction of space. Also prefer a more private bathroom experience. For a single traveler, the roomette makes sense. 


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Amtrak Trains Ridden So Far:    86,889 miles and counting
Lake Shore Ltd, Capitol Ltd, Pennsylvanian, NE Corridors, Crescent, City of New Orleans, Empire Builder, California Zephyr, Hoosier, SW Chief, Surfliners, California Capitol Corridors, Coast Starlight, Cascades. Texas Eagle, San Joaquins, Missouri River Runner,Cardinal, Downeaster, Silver Meteor, Keystones, Auto Train, Adirondack, Lincoln Service, Illinois Zephyr, Carl Sandburg, Texas Eagle Detour Rt, 2013 Autumn Express Tour PHL, Silver Star, Sunset Limited -Acela Express-  2015 Autumn Express ALB - Empire Service Via Rail Corridor Trains Cobourg-Ottawa-Montreal,(round trip)  The Ocean (round trip)--   2,250 miles




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