'Amtrak'n it from park to park

Thursday, January 30, 2003 6:54 PM
I got this idea from the camping in your car thread(dont ask how. :) ). I was wondering if any of you travel whores use the train to make your travels to parks.

If you have leisure time, have you ever takin the train to go from place to place and visit parks? Somehow I think this would be a good way for my daughter and myself to spend quality time together seeing the sites of this great country and hitting some parks.

Have any of you used this transportation option, and if you have, is it worth a try?

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2 superheroes in Gurnee next season? Oh the humanity. :)
*** This post was edited by Chitown 1/30/2003 11:56:01 PM ***

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Thursday, January 30, 2003 7:03 PM
As a Railfan Chitown I have to tell you its Amtrak witout the C as its my biggest pet peeve. Anal I know. ;)

The train is a great way to travel, you actually get to see the world and meet people that you normally wouldn't ona train. Teher is somehting about eating a full service dinner sitting down while the world flies by you at 79 MPH.

Kneemeister is the one to talk to about this as he is the real rail traveler. Check out www.kneebush.com for some of his Train Trip Reports including a Trip to SoCal last spring.

I can't say enough good things about train travel but even taking more time I would rather take the train then the plane anyday.

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Da Poodle

Coming in 2003-The Spawn Of Magnum!


*** This post was edited by MagnumForce 1/31/2003 12:03:55 AM ***

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Thursday, January 30, 2003 7:03 PM
I've heard it's neat, but it's about the same price as air travel and schedules are often erratic. But hey, I guess there's only one way to find out...

BTW, 'correct' spelling is Amtrak.

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Is that a Q-bot in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

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Thursday, January 30, 2003 7:06 PM
It seems at first glance to be a decent option. But you only have the options of parks near the trains route, unless you rent a car at most stops. Overall, I see it as overspending. It would be cheaper to do it by car, unless the entire trip spans the country, then it might be worth it.

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Monster Ride Op
Cedar Point

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Thursday, January 30, 2003 7:06 PM
Watch the Amtrak site for Rail Sales. Went form Napanee Indiana to Phillie and back last fall for 17 bucks.

Going to NYC at the end of february for 27 bucks. Amazing deals if you know where to look and when you are going to travel.

Add in a sleeper berth and you save far and away more money then you would driving and getting motels.

Even without a sleeper berth its not a hard trip. The seats are huge and recline like a lazyboy. Quite refrhing when compared to the cramped spaces in a plane.

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Da Poodle

Coming in 2003-The Spawn Of Magnum!

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Thursday, January 30, 2003 7:32 PM
I have always wanted to go places by rail. The farthest I've gone is from LA's Union Station to San Diego.
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Thursday, January 30, 2003 7:33 PM
Title changed to the real train system. Thanks guys.

I might try the Chicago to St. Louis train ride. Enjoy the country and take in an SF park I havent been to in over 10 years. :)

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2 superheroes in Gurnee next season? Oh the humanity. :)

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Thursday, January 30, 2003 7:41 PM
That would not be a bad trip at all ChiTown.

The hassle of train travel is almost non existant. You can sit back, relax, walk around whatever. With a train the trip is as exciting as anything.

Remember getting there is half the fun what a great way to show your daughter the country.

Definitely check out the Rail Sale on www.amtrak.com some of the deals are unbelievable.

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Da Poodle

Coming in 2003-The Spawn Of Magnum!

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Thursday, January 30, 2003 7:51 PM
I've actually taken the midnight train from Chicago, gotten to Sandusky Ohio around 6:30 am, gone to Cedar Point, hopped back on the train at midnight and continued on to Cleveland and SFWoA the next day.

I'm from Montreal and we have decent rail service in Canada. Not up to European standards, but decent. Amtrak on the other hand was less than decent. Well priced but extremely slow. The schedule worked for me but if I had to get somewhere fast, it would not be my choice. I guess you just have to like riding the rails.

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Thursday, January 30, 2003 7:53 PM
I think you may be comparing Commuter Rail like GO to Amtrak which is not a fair comparison. The US has some great commuter operations as well, but VIA is in the same boat as Amtrak. Underfunded and over extended.

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Da Poodle

Coming in 2003-The Spawn Of Magnum!

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Thursday, January 30, 2003 8:24 PM
You might be able to do some sort of Amtrak trip on the east or west coast but other than that forget it.

Chuck, who thinks rail travel in the country is a JOKE. beings germany, France, England, Japan all have pretty big passenger infastructure.


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Charles Nungester.
Confirmed, Lesourdsville Lake opening for 2003 details soon at Lesourdsville.com

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Thursday, January 30, 2003 8:29 PM
All those countries rail systems have one thing in common. Full Subsidation by the federal govt.Something Amtrak does not get. With our airports and highways flooded with traffic it only makes sense to really push passenger rail.

But alas I don't belive it will ever happen.

Amtrak is not a joke but it definitely is not great.

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Da Poodle

Coming in 2003-The Spawn Of Magnum!

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Thursday, January 30, 2003 8:58 PM
I've said it before and I'll say it again... buffer time. Make sure you have at least 5 hours of buffer time. Amtrak does not own the track and for various other reasons the trains are more often late than not. I have had more than my share of bad experiences with them (including not being able to make it to PKI because of the Capital Limited derailment this past year) and the least late we have been arriving to Chicago is 6 hours. Still, year after year, I find myself back being pulled by those gigantic General Electrics. :)

Always remember... do not be rude to the staff and they will not be rude to you (long story).
*** This post was edited by GoliathKills 1/31/2003 2:00:19 AM ***

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Thursday, January 30, 2003 9:15 PM
Another problem Amtrak has to deal with. Look at what they do where they own theer own track Between Boston and Washington.

Amtrak can be a top notch operation if they are allowed.

% hours sounds about right for a long diustance train, for one of the Corridor trains (Chicago to Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis) run very very close to their scheduled time. Amtrak even owns the track between Porter, Indiana and Kalamazoo and runs the trains at 110 MPH.

-Brent who woudl take a EMD F40PH over a GE P42 Kneebush anyday

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Da Poodle

Coming in 2003-The Spawn Of Magnum!

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Thursday, January 30, 2003 9:47 PM
I think it really depends on how many people are going to determine which is cheaper. If you have 3-4 people going, it's probably cheaper to drive. However, doing a quick search on Amtrak. Sandusky to Chicago runs a mere $56 roundtrip. Not too bad in my book. Especially since you don't have to deal with traffic or tiredness (always a factor when I make road trips).

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Friday, January 31, 2003 4:28 AM
Brent- You can buy an F40 for around $40,000 if you really want one.

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CBCon Quote "We didn't even get wet"......30 seconds later you hear plop, then splash!!!!

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Friday, January 31, 2003 4:37 AM
High speed passenger rail will never work on Freight Railroads. Sure you can run the occational train but to have a reliable, mass transit system you are going to have to go seperate from the freights. I imagine something like Disneys Monorails running down the middle of every major highway connecting all the major cities. Only then would light rail or people movers be economical for non megatropolisis

.Chuck who knows of a existing line that is in near unusable condition that ran from Cincy/Indy/Chicago in 4hrs flat back in the 30's and 40's It's a 8hr drive.
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Charles Nungester.
Confirmed, Lesourdsville Lake opening for 2003 details soon at Lesourdsville.com

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Friday, January 31, 2003 5:20 AM
I've ridden the east-coast corridor from Baltimore to NYC several times. This is a great trip; faster than flying, and far more convenient. Getting anywhere in Manhattan from any NY area airport is pure hell. The train on the other hand drops you right in midtown.

Except for that run, Amtrak is best used for "leisure time" trips. Don't be in a hurry or on a tight schedule. Taking the train with your daughter sounds like a great idea. It won't be as fast as flying, but is probably a bit cheaper, and much more pleasant than driving.

On the plus side, Chicago is an Amtrak hub, so it's easy to get to many other places. Ann Arbor has an Amtrak station, but only on a line from Chicago to Detroit. There has been talk of a commuter line connecting Lansing, Ann Arbor, and Detroit, but in the Motor State, I figure that will happen shortly after pigs fly.
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http://www.eecs.umich.edu/~bnoble/

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Friday, January 31, 2003 6:40 AM

MagnumForce said:
All those countries rail systems have one thing in common. Full Subsidation by the federal govt.Something Amtrak does not get. With our airports and highways flooded with traffic it only makes sense to really push passenger rail.


I wish we had a more European system, but I don't think it will happen. Amtrak is fully subsidized by the US government. Remember, we're talking about a company that's never turned a profit since its inception in 1972. It lives from paycheck to paycheck from Uncle Sam. If you mean subsidation in terms of infrastrcture, though, then you're right on the money. The gov't gave trucking companies a HUGE subsidy (trillions of dollars) by building the interstate highway system. To a lesser extent, they help construct airports for airlines.

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Is that a Q-bot in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

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Friday, January 31, 2003 7:01 AM
I think you may be comparing Commuter Rail like GO to Amtrak which is not a fair comparison. The US has some great commuter operations as well, but VIA is in the same boat as Amtrak.

No. I was comparing it to VIA. Montreal's commuter trains are poor at best. It seems they are actually set up to deter you from riding.

Both VIA and Amtrak are indeed in the same boat in countries where cars are king, but in my opinion having rode both, VIA has done more with what little they get. All new equipment (that works) in the main corridors and decent marketing.

Personally, I've never understood why one would take the plane from Montreal to Toronto, a one hour flight but you have to get out and back to the suburban airports, get their an hour early for your flight, sit and stay seated in a cramped seat, when you can take a 4 hour train ride from downtown to downtown and you can buy a ticket 10 minutes before it leaves. I guess I just love trains.

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