Train Travel in MassachusettsAmtrak trains provide a great and carefree way to travel to or around Massachusetts if you'd rather not take the bus, plane or drive a car. When time's a factor and the last thing you want to worry about is traffic during the rush hour periods, take one of the Amtrak trains. Is it just me or does anyone else get satisfaction from watching 5:30 pm highway gridlock while speeding past in a train?
With generous views from your window seat, you'll have ample picture opportunities while nestled in comfort. There are in fact different seating and sleeping options to choose from.
Seating accommodations include reserved and unreserved coach class, lower level coach seats and first class. On longer trips, you may choose one of the sleeping accommodations.
They include roomettes, bedrooms, bedroom suites, accessible bedrooms and if you're traveling on a Superliner train, a family bedroom. I'll go into these choices more thoroughly as well as the other important Amtrak trains information in the following sections:
Unlike traveling by bus or car, you're not subject to choosing one seat when taking one of the Amtrak trains. If you like, there are a few seating and sleeping accommodations each with their own benefits:
Amtrak Seating Accommodations
Amtrak Seating - Coach Class
Coach is the way to go if you're looking to keep the ticket prices cheap. I've found the seats themselves easily more comfortable and spacious than coach seats on a plane or any type of seats on a bus. They include footrests, reclining seats, and ample foot room for longer trips and overnight travelers.
Located on the upper level, they are accessed by a small set of stairs. There is a bathroom to use but on most trains it is found on the lower level. The lower level coach seats are reserved for the elderly and handicapped travelers. As such, the aisles and seating spaces are wider giving more room for wheelchair access.
The main difference between reserved and unreserved coach seats are the distance-routes the train takes. With reserved coach class seating, reservations are necessary ahead of time as the train may or may not operate with overnight service. Some shorter distance train routes may operate with an unreserved seating arrangement where it is first come first serve. While I've never had a problem finding a seat using an unreserved-seated Amtrak train, it's always best to check with the train station first and make reservations.
Amtrak Seating - First Class
First class is a nice upgrade to coach and while it may be more expensive than a coach seat, it's well worth the money on long distance trips. Even if you do have your coach ticket in hand and decide while on the train you'd like to upgrade to a first class seat, you can speak with the conductor and find out if there are any first class seats unsold and available. Amenities included in first class seats are: wider seats with in-seat electrical outlets to plug in your phone or laptop, complimentary meals and beverages, and an at-seat attendant for personal service.
Amtrak Sleeping Accommodations
Amtrak trains running on long distance routes typically use two types of trains, the two-level Superliner and the one-level Viewliner. There are a few sleeping arrangements to choose from provided between these two trains. Below are tables outlining their differences:
Amtrak Sleeping - Roomette
The most basic first class type of sleeping accommodation is the Roomette. The climate controlled rooms more or less have the space of a small closet with two bunk beds and a picture window. While not exactly spacious, it does offer a big plus in privacy. Meals are included.
Amtrak Sleeping - Bedroom
The Bedrooms on Amtrak trains are twice as big as a Roomette and offer facilities such as a toilet and a shower offering more privacy. Although there are two beds, it can accommodate three people (has a comfy reclining chair). This is the most expensive first class sleeping option.
Amtrak Sleeping - Bedroom Suite
Traveling overnight with four adults? A Bedroom Suite would be the best choice. Essentially it is two Bedrooms combined back to back with an opening into each room. With the layout the same as a Bedroom, it has the capacity to accommodate an additional two people. All other amenities are included.
Amtrak Sleeping - Family Bedroom
If you're traveling with a family, a Family Bedroom would be your best first class option. A little longer and narrower than the Bedroom, there are two additional childrens' bunk beds. These rooms are located on the first floor of the Superliner train and are not available on the Viewliner.
Amtrak Sleeping - Accessible Bedroom
The Accessible Bedroom on both the Superliner and Viewliner trains is designed for easy access. They offer wheelchair accessible toilets and include attendant call buttons in both the bedroom and restroom areas.
With all the information gathered from seating and sleeping arrangements above, you're probably wondering what it's going to cost you. Well, that all depends on where you are, where you're going and what type of accommodation you are considering.
I've inputted a few one-way scenarios for various cities to Massachusetts and along Massachusetts to give you an idea of some of the Amtrak prices. Days chosen in each month were picked at random:
*Sleeping rooms add an additional charge to reserved coach seats. For instance, if 2 adult coach seats are $132 @ $66 each, the cost of $350 for a Roomette comes from the additional charge of $184 per room.
So although the Amtrak train fares tend to be a little dispersed, there are a a couple things to look out for and take away from this. When looking how to buy an Amtrak ticket, you'll first want to consider the dates of travel (departure and return), where you are coming from and what your ultimate destination is.
Traveling during the off-season is the cheaper way to go when searching Amtrak ticket prices.
As with purchasing a plane ticket, the price of Amtrak train fares tends to go up closer to the date of departure. If you have the opportunity, buy early.
Look for deals and discounts. Amtrak provides some of these on their website.
One of the amenities Amtrak offers on many of their trains is a Quiet Car. Great for business travelers and tourists alike, it offers a peaceful and easy going atmosphere perfect for taking a cat nap or catching up on some work without distractions. It's also great at night when the overhead lights are dimmed to lower levels.
Keep in mind it is a quiet car so its not best suited for younger kids and babies. Conversation is kept to hushed levels and noises minimized:
Seating in the Quiet Car is first come first serve and announcements are made as to the location of the Quiet Car.
On most Amtrak trains, a full service Dining Car is provided and meals are available for purchase if in coach class. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included in the price of first class passengers.
During longer distance trips, reservations for meals may be necessary to prevent overcrowding at peak meal times. Typically, lunch is served between 1130 am - 3 pm and dinner between 5 pm and 9 pm. If you're purchasing a meal from coach class, credit cards accepted are MasterCard, American Express, Visa and Discover.
Prices for lunch range between $6 - $9 while dinner prices range between $12 - $23.
I've found the dining experience to be pleasant with attendants eager to serve. Meals come out fast as they seem to be pre-made and microwaved. The actual food itself, to me, tasted the same as what you might expect from any form of public transportation. Remember meals served on an plane? It's right about on par with that. They do however have many food options to choose from including vegetarian meals.
Search the SiteFind what you're looking for by typing in the box below:
Translate the Site
[?] Subscribe To This Site
Copyright© 2009-2012 Explore Massachusetts. All Rights Reserved.
- Powered by Site Build It -