Auto Train or Silver Service

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by David H., Jun 20, 2011.

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  1. Jun 20, 2011 #1

    David H.

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    David H.

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    Hi guys. Possible first-time rider here looking at some options. To start with, is there an appreciable difference between the AT and Silver Service lines when it comes to the ride, accommodations, amenities, etc...? From what I've read so far it seems that AT might have a smoother ride and has some of the best service of all lines. I would likely be in a roomette, I saw the differences discussed between the Superline and Viewliners in the other thread. Good info to have.

    Thanks for any and all comments/suggestions.
     
  2. Jun 21, 2011 #2

    Ryan

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    I prefer the Auto Train because I'd rather drive my own car than rent one. I think that overall it's a better experience as well.

    As far as smoother ride, they run over the same tracks, so they're both pretty similar (rough!)
     
  3. Jun 21, 2011 #3

    pennyk

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    I think the auto train is a "nicer" train with better food, but I like the Silvers better. I find I have more of a "train experience" on the Silvers than I do on the Auto Train. However, years ago when it was convenient to have a car in the northeast, the Auto Train was great - it sure beats traveling on I-95. These days I normally do not travel to places where I need a car, so I take public transportation or a cab when I reach my destination. Sometimes I do not have a destination (similar to the_traveler) - the train trip is the vacation.
     
  4. Jun 21, 2011 #4

    Heading North

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    Where are you coming from/going to? I've never been on the Auto Train, although I'd like to try it... for me the Silver trains just work out better. I live in northern VA, and southbound the Silver Star's schedule is pretty close to the Auto Train, but my family in Florida is closer to DeLand, FL (a ways north of the AT terminal), and then I also don't have to wait for the loading/unloading.

    The Silver trains can be inconsistent. On my last trip, southbound I had a fantastic dining car staff, and a mediocre car attendant. Going north, the car attendant was fantastic, but the diner was so-so. My impression is that the AT on-board experience is better overall, but I don't really know.
     
  5. Jun 21, 2011 #5

    David H.

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    Thanks for the comments guys! I should have said that I don't have to take the car with us, but it would be doable if the AT is worth it.
     
  6. Jun 21, 2011 #6

    David H.

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    Want the best I can get for first train trip.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2011
  7. Jun 21, 2011 #7

    amamba

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    It really depends on where you are leaving from. For me to drive to VA is annoying - too much traffic, have to go around NYC - so I don't see the AT in my near future at all. But if you are leaving from a place that is more convenient to VA, it might make sense.
     
  8. Jun 21, 2011 #8

    David H.

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    Driving from Texas to Orlando theme parks, then need to be in DC for a bit. Then back. If we did Silvers I would do a rental to Orlando, then Crescent back to NOL, then short drive.

    It definitely has more opportunity. I even noticed you could take the Meteor to Charleston from Orlando, de-board and stay in hotel, and then resume on the Star the next day.
     
  9. Jun 21, 2011 #9

    Anderson

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    If you're going to DeLand, FL, then there is a Silver stop right there in town. With Daytona, it is a bus ride/cab ride/friend picking you up away (about 40 minutes' travel time, depending on traffic). Sanford is a good bit closer to Orlando.

    As far as the experience, I'm somewhat in love with the Silvers and have never taken the Auto Train. I've heard good things about the Auto Train, but I also know people who are quite in love with the Silvers as well.
     
  10. Jun 21, 2011 #10

    David H.

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    David H.

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    Anybody been on both that could comment on the noise? I've read that the Superliners are quieter, less click/clack and rattling.
     
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  11. Jun 21, 2011 #11

    AlanB

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    David,

    I've done all the Silver service trains several times, including one that no longer exists, as well as the Auto Train multiple times.

    You will hear more track noise on the Silver's or the lower level of the Auto Train. No clickity clack anymore, as the trains run on welded rail with no joints to go clickity clack. On the other hand you get more sway on the upper level of the Superliner's and a lot more people walking by your room too.

    That said, the Auto Train has more amenities, wine tasting, better food in the dining car, than the Silvers. The Silvers on the other hand don't require you to be at the station as early as you need to be for the Auto Train. And the Silver's don't require you to have a car. You can't ride the Auto Train without a car and conversly, you can't ride the Silvers and bring along your car.

    IMHO, the Viewliner room however is superior to the Superliner room. You have more space in the Viewliner, more windows including windows for the upper bunk.
     
  12. Jun 21, 2011 #12

    David H.

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    Thanks so much Alan. Appreciate the responses, I know you guys answer the same questions many times.

    How does the bedroom compare between the 2 trains? If my wife goes on the train we'll need it instead of the roomette (claustrophobia).
     
  13. Jun 21, 2011 #13

    VentureForth

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    There will still be a bit of a clickity clack when running over switching points. But those are much fewer and farther in between. On the topic of switch points, you WILL feel the train sway much harder on the upper bunk of a Superliner bed than you will on the lower bunk of a Viewliner.

    All in all, I would definitely start with analyzing the total cost of the Autotrain, including gas you'll spend getting to/from each location to your destination. The Bedroom is considerably roomier. Finally, I would probably pick a sleeper in the Silvers before going Coach in the Autotrain as you work your way down the cost scale. But if you can afford to take the Autotrain, it will be a memorable experience.
     
  14. Jun 21, 2011 #14

    Ryan

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    The only real difference is that the bedroom in a Viewliner has the "cubby" space above the hallway for more storage space and the upper level windows.
     
  15. Jun 21, 2011 #15

    David H.

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    Thanks! That swaying appears to be the only drawback for me so far to the AT Superliner. The bedrooms are of course on the upper bunk.

    Definitely won't be taking coach. It'll either be roomette by myself, or bedroom if my wife goes. I just checked pricing with bedroom, the AT is cheaper by a few hundred than the Silvers. Even with my oversize vehicle charge.
     
  16. Jun 21, 2011 #16

    GG-1

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    Aloha

    While the sway is noticeable and greater in higher cars and upper bunks. It is not enough to be annoying, unless you are extremely sensitive to motion. And as their are some who are, so we do mention it.
     
  17. Jun 21, 2011 #17

    VentureForth

    VentureForth

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    Wow! Then 100% go for the AutoTrain!
     
  18. Jun 21, 2011 #18

    AlanB

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    That's because Bedrooms are in short supply on the Silver's, 4 on the Star and 6 on the Meteor.

    On the Auto Train during peak periods there are 40 Bedrooms for sale. Many more roomettes too.

    The Viewliner Bedroom IMHO is nicer, since it has the double row of windows and higher ceiling creating a sense of more room within the room. And there is more space to store your bags within your room on the Viewliner. But if we're talking a couple hundred bucks difference in price, it's probably not worth the extra cost for those benefits.
     
  19. Jun 21, 2011 #19

    Devil's Advocate

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    I don't think it requires "extreme sensitivity to motion" to be annoyed by the endless saying of the upper level of a high-level car. For me it depends on the orientation and the track quality. In a roomette you're swaying like a cradle and so long as the tracks are in good condition it puts me right to sleep. However, in a bedroom you're being swung the opposite way between head and foot and if the tracks are rough it's quite distracting to me. I don't get boat sick or car sick and nobody has ever claimed that I'm "extremely sensitive" to motion. You have to keep in mind that not everyone is going to feel right at home being swung to and fro.
     
  20. Jun 21, 2011 #20

    Ryan

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    I think that it depends on where you set the threshold for "annoyed" as well. ;)
     
  21. Jun 21, 2011 #21

    David H.

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    Thanks, duly noted. Leads me to another question. Is it possible to book 2 roomettes on the AT with only 1 automobile? Gets more space than 1 of course, is actually lower price than 1 bedroom. No way to book that scenario online.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2011
  22. Jun 21, 2011 #22

    Ryan

    Ryan

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    You may be able to call and do it, that's a good question...
     
  23. Jun 21, 2011 #23

    rrdude

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    Yes you may, but you have to call.
    I've taken my family on the AT several times, and have had as many as four roomettes booked. Usually it's just two bedrooms, as we like folding the wall back between them, and having a suite.
     
  24. Jun 22, 2011 #24

    David H.

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    Sounds like the best sleeping is a roomette on lower deck. Any preferences for upper deck?

    The accessible bedroom looks best for people that don't like confined spaces. I don't see it in the upgrades. Is it possible to book?
     
  25. Jun 22, 2011 #25

    AlanB

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    I've booked 3 roomettes and a family room for 9 people, with just two cars.
     

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