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Guest TrainFan

Auto Train or Silver Meteor?

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Guest TrainFan

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!

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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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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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

Edited by JRR

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Guest TrainFan

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

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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?

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Guest TrainFan

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.

 

 

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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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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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