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Post 15 Feb 2016, 12:37 pm

GMTom wrote:I have to ask WHY take a train across the freaking continent vs flying?
The cost is probably similar but the time spent traveling (both ways) by the time you get there, you have to turn around and head back home!


True dat! Train travel in the USA is terrible, in large part because Amtrak doesn't own most of their rail, so trains can be really freaking late. Northeast Corridor (Boston to Wash DC) is fine, but outside of it, you can sit on a siding for an hour here or an hour there waiting for some freight train to pass. Yes, passenger service in many parts of the country has lower priority than freight! Also make sure you don't have to take a bus! While I have never done it, I've looked into taking the train from NYC to Detroit. The last leg is (an Amtrak) bus from Toledo to Detroit!

Also, and this is big, if you're going to do it, do it in the winter (at least in cold weather areas). Track maintenance occurs in the summer and that can and does completely wreck Amtrak's schedule. A friend tells a story of the train from Montreal to NYC that was more than a day late! On cross country routes more than 24 hour delays are not unusual!
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Post 15 Feb 2016, 1:00 pm

Well, that about settles it: if I get a chance to see my buddy in Seattle, I'll take the train not fly. I think I have seen that book before in B&N but didn't pick one up.

I priced it at $1480 round trip total. Hmmm....the "roomette" cost is the same for two people so I might as well bring a friend to help split the cost. I've always wanted to do that on a train...whoops did I just say that? :angel:

Well, there's your answer, Tom: the mile high club is expensive, and you'd otherwise get arrested for doing it on an airplane.

But I digress.

Ah, epic road trips. The closest I've come to that is driving to Virginia Beach a few times, and then down to western Virginia to my cousin's commencement ceremony at Virginia Tech. (On the latter, I got lost on the way back but somehow found my way back to I-70).

Brad what was the food like on the trip you took between DC and Seattle?

What happens if your train is THAT late? Do they put you up in a hotel???
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Post 15 Feb 2016, 1:27 pm

I priced it at $1480 round trip total.


That's really pricey. The flights I'm taking to India (halfway around the world from me) cost about half that. How much would flying cost ?
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Post 15 Feb 2016, 1:30 pm

GMTom wrote:I have to ask WHY take a train across the freaking continent vs flying?
The cost is probably similar but the time spent traveling (both ways) by the time you get there, you have to turn around and head back home!

Sometimes the journey is more important than the destination.

A bunch of my friends did this: https://gcerc.wordpress.com/

18 days, 46 trains, a route around Europe taking in 18 national capitals, including getting into the Arctic Circle, going through a few former Yugolavian hot-spots, some amazing looking Alpine lines and beers and food all the way. They started and ended in London.
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Post 16 Feb 2016, 11:43 am

The food was OK to good. Nothing to write home about either way. The two nicest things I recall was waking up in the morning with the USA today paper slid under your door, and the scenery from the viewing car.

If you have the time and the cost is not a problem, I recommend the train. I couldn't do it anymore, but the experience was nice for a one-time trip.
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Post 16 Feb 2016, 12:14 pm

All right, thanks Brad. That's pretty helpful. I think if anything I'd do it because I hate airports. It doesn't sound like the train is a perfect way to travel but it beats the TSA making you take your shoes off and confiscating your shampoo.

Sass: not sure about how much a flight to Seattle would cost, but probably a lot cheaper, maybe half of that, even round-trip.
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Post 16 Feb 2016, 2:18 pm

JimHackerMP wrote:What happens if your train is THAT late? Do they put you up in a hotel???


No.
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Post 16 Feb 2016, 3:27 pm

JimHackerMP wrote:Sass: not sure about how much a flight to Seattle would cost, but probably a lot cheaper, maybe half of that, even round-trip.

Heh... you're definitely not taking the train for any cost savings. You're doing it for the experience.

Round trip flights from BWI to Seattle go as low as $300.

I've driven across the country 3 times in all (2 east to west and one opposite). Yeah, I have some stories.
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Post 16 Feb 2016, 3:31 pm

SLOTerp wrote:
JimHackerMP wrote:Sass: not sure about how much a flight to Seattle would cost, but probably a lot cheaper, maybe half of that, even round-trip.

Heh... you're definitely not taking the train for any cost savings. You're doing it for the experience.

Round trip flights from BWI to Seattle go as low as $300.

I've driven across the country 3 times in all (2 east to west and one opposite). Yeah, I have some stories.


4 times east to west, and 2 times north to south.

The worst was from Key West to Walla Walla in a 25 foot moving van towing a SUV, and my father-in-law in the passenger seat. Wanted to put that one hard in a Tennessee ditch...
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Post 16 Feb 2016, 6:03 pm

yeah I just cannot drive that long.
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Post 17 Feb 2016, 11:20 am

I just checked Alaska Airlines and you can fly first class which includes access to the VIP Board Room (super fun) for $188 each way. With the leftover $1000, dinner in the Space Needle, cruising the harbor, sweet digs downtown, all the things at all the breweries. Seems a bit unAmerican to travel by train ;)

I've still not gotten over my 24 Greyhound trip Spokane to Napa Valley.
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Post 17 Feb 2016, 2:07 pm

At least a train would not have to stop for food, like a Greyhound bus.
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Post 18 Feb 2016, 6:53 am

In 2014 we drove down the West Coast to San Diego (not much of WA but we had to get from Seattle to the Columbia). It took two weeks because we were on holiday and we stayed in SF for a weekend and meandered in to Yosemite for a couple of days. But it was tiring and I certainly would not have wanted to just slog down the I-5 the whole way.
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Post 18 Feb 2016, 2:31 pm

You drove in the States? Isn't that a little...er...nerve-wracking? To be used to driving on the left and then all of a sudden have to drive on the right?
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Post 21 Feb 2016, 8:22 am

JimHackerMP wrote:You drove in the States? Isn't that a little...er...nerve-wracking? To be used to driving on the left and then all of a sudden have to drive on the right?

Not really. Once you are going it all makes sense. But I would have been less confident in a manual.