Planning a trip to Erie or Pittsburgh, PA with AMTRAK/Rental Car advice

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by DJL, Aug 5, 2019.

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  1. Aug 5, 2019 #1

    DJL

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    DJL

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    Hello first time poster and really trying to figure this out but not having much success.

    My wife and I are trying to figure out a way to pick up my mother and bring her back for Christmas.

    We have been looking at several different train options but have not found any options that work practically. I joined this forum in the hopes that maybe others could shed light on how I should approach this.

    So a few options I have considered are the following:

    Option 2: Taking Amtrak from Framingham, MA to Erie, PA - awesome! Practical problem is the drop off is like 1:50 AM. This is confusing as to how one can rent a car when all rental car places are closed at this time. This is actually the best option in my opinion if I could just get a rental car to get me to her house which is about an hour an half from the Erie stop.

    Option 2: Taking Amtrak from Boston (Back Bay Station) to Pittsburgh, PA gets us there around 7:59 PM - not bad. Hoping I can take an uber to the PGH airport to rent a car??? Probably the best option I see at this point.

    Does anyone have any other suggestions or ways I should approach this?

    Now the other issue again is going back to Boston, MA for my wife and I. Again:

    Option 1: Take Amtrak from Erie, PA to Framingham, MA = much faster and straight on (no transfers). Just not sure where to drop a rental car off since again departure is like 7:20 AM

    Option 2: From PGH to Boston works but again uncertain on drop off for rental car.

    I hope this all makes sense and truly grateful for any advice on what to do or how to approach this.
     
  2. Aug 5, 2019 #2

    Steve4031

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    Steve4031

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    What is the name of the town that you are going to ultimately. The key is finding the closest stop with a busy enough airport to offer 24 hour car rental service. So far you’ve mentioned Erie and Pittsburgh as potential endpoints near your destination.

    Imho getting to Pittsburgh from Boston is not a great choice. You have to ride overnight to New York Penn or Philadelphia and then connect to the Pennsylvanian which continues to Pittsburgh.

    Boston to Erie is a one seat ride. But I don’t think Erie has 24 hour car rental service anywhere. Google there airport information and you will find out.

    If Erie doesn’t work try Buffalo or Cleveland, whichever is closest to your destination those airport rental cars may be open 24 hours.

    Good luck. The
     
  3. Aug 5, 2019 #3

    DJL

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    DJL

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    That's a great idea Steve and I greatly appreciate your advice! Yeah so the ultimate destination is Butler, PA is where I'm trying to get to and you are correct about Erie not having 24 car rental options. I will see what Buffalo looks like. And thanks for your fast response.
     
  4. Aug 5, 2019 #4

    Steve4031

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    Buffalo Butler is 195 miles. 3 hours driving. Cleveland to Butler is 134 miles 2 hours 11 minutes. If you are going around Christmas don’t forget about Lake affect Snow. If Rental car is not open you could get a hotel for 2 nights and do a rat drive to Butler in Daylight hours.

    IMHO using Amtrak may not be cost effective for this trip. You could rent a luxury level car from Boston and Drive to Butler. Try Silvercar.

    The drive is 569 miles and takes about 9 hours with no stops.
     
  5. Aug 5, 2019 #5

    tricia

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    Nine hours from Boston seems optimistic. I have relatives near Butler (my mother grew up in Kittanning), used to visit them from my then-home in Connecticut, and although it's not a difficult drive (via I-84 and I-80), I'd recommend an overnight stop en route.

    Your best bet, on Amtrak, with no overnight stops en route, is probably to/from Pittsburgh, with Uber/Lyft to/from Pittsburgh's airport (about half an hour) to rent a car. From there, it's less than an hour to Butler.
     
  6. Aug 5, 2019 #6

    Steve4031

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    Tricia,

    How do you get from Boston to Pittsburgh on Amtrak in one day? The only possibility I see is Boston To Washington then to Pittsburgh. That’s a long day. As I mentioned above 9 hours is without stops.
     
  7. Aug 5, 2019 #7

    tricia

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    NE Regional leaving Boston 6:15AM, changing in Philadelphia to the Pennsylvanian. I picked a random day later this month, and that shows up on Amtrak's website. Sorry no screen shot--I haven't figured out how to post those yet.
     
  8. Aug 5, 2019 #8

    Trollopian

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    If you'd rather save a few bucks, take the 28X Airport Flyer bus from downtown Pittsburgh to the airport! Assuming that the Pennsylvanian gets in on time (it usually does), the bus is running about every half-hour. Board it at Seventh Ave. and Smithfield St., an easy 3-block walk from the Amtrak station, pay your fare ($2.50 with a card, $2.75 cash, or nothing with a Medicare card*), and settle back for a 45-minute ride. (It'd be shorter except that the bus makes a big circuit of Robinson Town Center, a suburban big-box retail mecca many of whose minimum-wage employees use the 28X for commuting.)

    https://www.portauthority.org/services/airport-service/

    * Don't rely on me as the authority here, but I think that the transit system is requiring seniors to get a PA photo ID effective 2020. Apparently too many riders were forging Medicare cards. Still, a cheap option. The 28X is one of Pittsburgh's great bargains.
     
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  9. Aug 5, 2019 #9

    Trollopian

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    Also, perhaps your mother is frail and this isn't an option, but Butler Transit operates frequent commuter buses to Pittsburgh. (And they literally drop commuters off on the East Busway, just around the corner from the Amtrak!)

    Compared with the hassle and expense of renting a car for the Pittsburgh-to-Butler or Erie-to-Butler round trip, what about an alternative: Mom takes Butler transit to downtown Pittsburgh, all of you enjoy one night in a civilized hotel, and you board the Pennsylvanian next morning?


    https://www.butlertransitauthority.com/route-schedules
     
  10. Aug 6, 2019 #10

    jiml

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    The Buffalo airport is literally 5 minutes from the Depew Amtrak station by taxi/Uber. However, it is not a "big city" airport and gets pretty sleepy by 10 pm. I would be surprised if any of the car rental agencies are open when the train from Boston arrives around midnight. On the positive side, there are a number of good inexpensive hotels at the airport - some right next door to rental places (Hertz specifically comes to mind).
     
  11. Aug 13, 2019 #11

    Trollopian

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