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Guest J.M.

Transferring trains quickly at Union - Wash DC

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Guest J.M.

I'm taking the Silver Meteor 98 from Savannah tonight arriving at Union Station (Wash DC) tomorrow morning. I'm making an un-sanctioned connection to the Vermonter at the station with a 50 minute gap between arrival and departure. I say un-sanctioned because Amtrak doesn't recommend this short of a transfer window since their trains are frequently late. Nevertheless, I'm attempting it anyway. I've been watching SM98 for the last week and it's been late about 50% of the time and on-time/early about 50% of the time.

 

My question is this - since I know that at larger stations like Union in DC, Amtrak follows a boarding process similar to the way airports board, will this boarding process affect me when I'm trying to make my connection?

 

I'm hoping that I can just de-board the Silver Meteor and locate the Vermonter immediately on it's track and get on (DC is the Vermonter's origin point so the train should be there). If I need to follow the Union Station boarding process, I'll just need to get that in my plan for arriving tomorrow morning.

 

Thanks!!

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My suggestion would be to let the conductor know ahead of time you’re making the transfer. He may be able to tell you what track the Vermonter is on.

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I don't know if the path of Alberto is impacting 98, but be prepared (if necessary) to call and modify your reservation on the Vermonter from the train if you know you will miss it.

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Guest J.M.

My suggestion would be to let the conductor know ahead of time you’re making the transfer. He may be able to tell you what track the Vermonter is on.

Thanks! Good suggestion. I'm staying in a Roomette tonight, so I'll mention it to the SCA first and see if she/he knows, then check with the Conductor.

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Guest J.M.

I don't know if the path of Alberto is impacting 98, but be prepared (if necessary) to call and modify your reservation on the Vermonter from the train if you know you will miss it.

I discussed this with Amtrak CS recently. They said I have to call before the Vermonter departs in order to not forfeit the ticket (there might even be a 1 hour before departure requirement, need to double check). I'll be monitoring it from when I wake up (probably around 4:30) to see how we are doing.

 

Hopefully, the weather doesn't affect it too much. So far, most of the storm is far enough to the west of the train's path that I think I'm in the clear (aside from any ripple effect backlogs on tracks in the storm's path do have on the system overall).

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will this boarding process affect me when I'm trying to make my connection?

What do you mean? If you arrive at the Vermonter in time for boarding, you should be good. Sorry if I'm missing something. :wacko:

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Guest J.M.

Just asking if I can go straight to the train since Im already on a platform or do I have to go inside the station and follow a boarding procedure?

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Just asking if I can go straight to the train since Im already on a platform or do I have to go inside the station and follow a boarding procedure?

You have to go through the station to physically get to the platform where they will board you. Once you're on the platform they'll send you to the right coach (or Business Class), and you'll be all set.

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Guest J.M.

Ill already be out on the platforms when I get off the Silver Meteor. Im hoping I can save time by going straight to whatever platform the Vermonter is loading at rather than going inside to follow a boarding process.

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Ill already be out on the platforms when I get off the Silver Meteor. Im hoping I can save time by going straight to whatever platform the Vermonter is loading at rather than going inside to follow a boarding process.

You'll already be on the platforms, but you can't go directly from platform to platform. Unless the Meteor comes in on the adjacent track, and it's an across the platform transfer, you will have to go through the station. But they will board you from the platform, so it doesn't make a difference.

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WAS is not like NYP. It is possible to go from say track 5 to track 10 without having to go in the station itself and stay on the platform.

 

My recommendation would be to let your SCA and/or Conductor know (before arrival) to request a Red Cap to do the transfer, they can take you directly from train to train. Also be aware that the SM can easily lose time anywhere between Miami and Washington.

Edited by the_traveler

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WAS is not like NYP. It is possible to go from say track 5 to track 10 without having to go in the station itself and stay on the platform.

That not helpful, since he’s arriving on the SM on the lower level.

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True, but I was just pointing out that it was possible if both trains were on the same level. (Say from the CL to a Acela.)

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When I was last at WAS, it seemed like it wasn't possible to go directly between platforms?

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When I was last at WAS, it seemed like it wasn't possible to go directly between platforms?

Only on the high-level platforms, which the through tracks that run to south Virginia and points beyond don't use. One can walk towards the station but not go inside it: just do a U turn to another platform basically. Those are all low-level platforms, and are also on a lower level of the station physically. However, even if the Vermonter started on one of the low-level platforms, it would have to be using the same platform for one to not have to go into the station to change, as you would have to cross tracks otherwise, and I doubt they'd want to put two actively boarding trains on the same platform. I don't believe there is any way for the traveling public to go towards the station and switch platforms on the lower level without having to go up one escalator and down another.

Edited by daybeers

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Even if it were possible to get from the Silver Meteor to the Vermonter without going into the station, it wouldn't take that much longer (30 seconds, maybe?) to go into the station and back out again. There is a "boarding process" where they board business class, families with small children, etc., before everyone else, but that's irrelevant to you if you arrive at the last minute and are trying to make a quick connection, because all that will have happened already before you got there. (On the flip side, if the Silver Meteor is on time, you'll have plenty of time to stand in the boarding line with everyone else.) Boarding gates at WAS close 2 minutes before departure - at least, that's the official policy - and as long as you're there no later than that, you can go up to the gate, show your ticket, and get on the train, even if everyone else has already boarded.

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Even if it were possible to get from the Silver Meteor to the Vermonter without going into the station, it wouldn't take that much longer (30 seconds, maybe?) to go into the station and back out again. There is a "boarding process" where they board business class, families with small children, etc., before everyone else, but that's irrelevant to you if you arrive at the last minute and are trying to make a quick connection, because all that will have happened already before you got there. (On the flip side, if the Silver Meteor is on time, you'll have plenty of time to stand in the boarding line with everyone else.) Boarding gates at WAS close 2 minutes before departure - at least, that's the official policy - and as long as you're there no later than that, you can go up to the gate, show your ticket, and get on the train, even if everyone else has already boarded.

Yeah, if you get caught at the end of the boarding line, the train isn't going to leave without you. So you either miss boarding altogether, or you board with everyone else.

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Fortunately the last few times I took 98 it has very good timekeeping, actually getting into Washington early!

 

If you do miss the Vermonter, consider staying on #98 as far as New York, there is a chance he passes it between WAS and BAL. The Vermonter makes both BWI and NCR, which are on the local track and 98 should be running on the express track through that section.

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There are no local and express tracks In this section. It’s a two track railroad WAS-NCR, and then a three track run up to BWI.

 

There is a small chance that you would get past at BWI, but not a likely one.

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I agree about the redcaps. They can do amazing things to bypass lines and waits. In Chicago, one was taking us to the lounge then realized the close connection and rerouted us to our train. We were the first to board - even before those coming from the lounge. Crew grumbled but did not say anything to redcap. He just put us and our baggage on the train - something the SCAs rarely do.

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Guest J.M.

Thanks everyone. I kinda forgot that Ill need a seat assignment (coach) on the Vermonter, or is that just for Biz Clasa?

 

About to board the SM in a few minutes and hopefully go straight to the dining car after I drop my bags in my roomers.

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Thanks everyone. I kinda forgot that Ill need a seat assignment (coach) on the Vermonter, or is that just for Biz Clasa?

 

About to board the SM in a few minutes and hopefully go straight to the dining car after I drop my bags in my roomers.

On most LD trains, seats are assigned, but I'm not sure about the Vermonter. Either way, I'm sure you'll be fine. Have a great trip!

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