GCT - Penn Station Question

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nhv
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GCT - Penn Station Question

Post by nhv »

I'm not sure if I'm posting this on the right forum, since its kind of a mix between Metro North and Amtrak.

I am planning on taking a trip on the Cardinal this summer, to Chicago. I live in Connecticut and the only way Amtrak will book is from a connection on train 67. I'd prefer not to leave at 12:26 am and I'd like to board in NYP, as opposed to D.C. I know that I could get off 67 in NYP, but who wants to wait around from 2 am until 6:45?

I am considering taking the first MN train into the city, which arrives GCT at 5:47 am. Is 58 minutes enough time to transfer between the two stations? I know that it normally takes about 20 mins to do a transfer by subway, but I've never been in the city that early, and I know subway service is a bit more sporadic in the early AM hours. Is this cutting it too close? Does Amtrak cut off boarding at a certain time? Thanks for your help!

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Otto Vondrak
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Post by Otto Vondrak »

You should be able to make a Subway connection from GCT to Penn Station in less than an hour. Shuttle from GCT to Times Square, and then the 1, 2, or 3 downtown one stop to 34th Street. If you really have doubts, take a taxi.

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chuchubob
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Post by chuchubob »

I'd trust the shuttle and 1-2-3 rather than a taxi. My wife and I got out of a taxi and walked when the meter climbed from $2.50 to $7.00 while we moved three carlengths.
If you're not physically disabled nor laden down with excessive baggage, the walk from Grand Central to Penn takes about 20 to 25 minutes, depending on how heavy the luggage is.
My recent experiences taking the subway have all taken 15 minutes or less.

RearOfSignal
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Post by RearOfSignal »

Does the shuttle even run that early? I think it starts around 5 or 6 am. If it doesn't run that early you'll have to take the 7 from GCT to Times Square, which could add 10-15 mins to the travel time.
Hurry up and wait at the signal!

Raritan Express
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Post by Raritan Express »

If the subway runs as scheduled, you can get on the 7 train at GCT at 5:58 and arrive at Times Square at 6:01. Then you can catch the 3 train at 6:06 or wait for the 2 at 6:11 or 1 at 6:13 if you miss the 3 train. This would get you to NYP at around 6:20 using the weekday schedule.

BTW, the 42nd Street Shuttle ends at 11:59 begins running at 6:30 everyday.
"This is an Raritan Valley express train to Allentown stopping at Newark Penn Station, Westfield, Plainfield, Bridgewater, Somerville, Raritan, High Bridge, Philipsburg, Easton, Bethlehem, and Allentown. Transfer at Newark for service to West Trenton and Lakehurst. Next stop is Newark."

pennsy
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Post by pennsy »

Seems to me someone should mention that is would be quite dangerous to walk the streets of Manhattan, carrying luggage, in the darkness of the wee hours of the AM.

Erie-Lackawanna
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Post by Erie-Lackawanna »

I wouldn't characterize it as "quite dangerous", but I wouldn't do it, either. The likelihood of getting in trouble is low, but who wants the hassle, even without criminal activity? Just take the subway or a cab.

Jim

Noel Weaver
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Post by Noel Weaver »

I would advise you to avoid New York City alltogether and just take 67
right through to Washington, DC. There is plenty of things to do there
during your break and decent food available too.
No subways, no taxis and no long walks either.
Noel Weaver

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Otto Vondrak
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Post by Otto Vondrak »

pennsy wrote:Seems to me someone should mention that is would be quite dangerous to walk the streets of Manhattan, carrying luggage, in the darkness of the wee hours of the AM.
Oh yeah, dangerous. You might get mugged by Mickey Mouse or be blinded by the ESPN SportZone... Hey, the best advice is if it makes you feel uneasy, don't do it. Trust your gut.

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Jeff Smith
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Post by Jeff Smith »

I think by that time of the a.m. the city is pretty wide awake, and there's a good bit of street traffic. I wouldn't have done it in the 80's or early 90's. I used to walk home during tax season from 52nd and 7th to 87th and 3rd with my briefcase around 1 or 2 am and never had a problem. This was around 1994,95,96. I stayed on main roads (not thru the park), walked along 6th, Central Park S, 5th, and 86th. You have to walk with a certain swagger and I figure I could always use the briefcase as a weapon.

I generally stayed out of the subways - I figured the walk was good, the surface streets safer (not that the subways were bad, just crowded and took almost as long to get cross-town as a good walk). About the only time I took the subways was to get to Yankee games on the 4.

The walk from GCT to Penn isn't bad, and if your luggage is on rollers and sturdy, the sidewalks are probably not that bad. I'd avoid Times Square, though, not for safety, but for pedestrian traffic. I'm not sure what the neighborhoods south of 42nd is like these days - it was the garment district. You might try walking down Madison or Fifth, and cutting across at 34th.

Subway etiquette generally frowns on folks with a lot of stuff - I wouldn't do it with serious baggage. Getting on and off can be a hassle, especially if the train is crowded, and you or your bags will get shoved and kicked if you clog up the doors. The NYC Subway isn't MARTA; i.e. if the line isn't going to Jamaica station, I wouldn't try it. Yeah, the cab will cost you a few bucks, but you get to stow them in a trunk, and if you're not solo, the difference btwn the fares is probably not bad. Crosstown traffic can suck.

The 7 is a royal pain - I'm surprised the shuttle starts that late. The 7 is a pain to get to in GCT, and a LONG way down, very deep, both in GCT and at Times Sq. Not easy connections. The shuttle is very convenient, and easy to connect. Once people start piling into GCT, they tend to walk very fast and have little patience for folks lugging stuff.

You didn't say if you were travelling on a weekday or weekend. Weekends are a very different story. My recommendation: stick with a cab.
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nhv
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Post by nhv »

I was planning on a weekday. I wanted to get on 51 at NYP because I'm traveling coach. I refuse to pay 400 bucks for a sleeper, just out of principle. (Maybe I'll try to upgrade on board and see if they're more reasonable then). So, if I'm in coach, I figured I'd get a much better choice of seats in NYP, where the train originates, then in Washington. That and if I take 67 to Washington, thats two nights in coach. I'll be taking the Capitol back from CHI, in a sleeper.

I know what you mean about the 7 train being a pain. I took it one day just for the heck of it, got off in GCT and kept walking up stairs. I thought I was going in circles. I checked the schedules for the shuttle, and actually on a weekday its first run out of GCT is 5:50 am, so that too is an option.

I forgot to mention too - luggage shouldn't be a problem. I'll just have a few small things. I'm doing one of those trips - you know when you tell your non-rail fan friends what you are doing, they look at your strangely. I'm taking the Cardinal to CHI and then immediately turning around and taking the Capitol back. Just trying to cure some winter cabin fever and get back on the railroad.

Hebrewman9

Post by Hebrewman9 »

It's 5 AM, and you're embarking on a long journey. Spend the money, and take a taxi- especially if you're taking a lot of luggage.

RearOfSignal
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Post by RearOfSignal »

Yeah take a cab, nothing against the subway, but a cab would be easier at that hour for the short ride. The 7 is a pain to get to if the shuttle isn't running.
Hurry up and wait at the signal!

Penn Central
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Post by Penn Central »

Sarge wrote: The 7 is a royal pain - I'm surprised the shuttle starts that late. The 7 is a pain to get to in GCT, and a LONG way down, very deep, both in GCT and at Times Sq. Not easy connections. The shuttle is very convenient, and easy to connect. Once people start piling into GCT, they tend to walk very fast and have little patience for folks lugging stuff.
Sarge is right. The 7 would be a pain in GCT and Times Square. It is a long walk back to the 1 or west to the 8th Avenue. The shuttle drops you off right next to the stairs for the 1 in Times Sq. That's the way to go.

If you do choose to walk, I would not worry about crime. I made that hike many times at different hours and never had a problem. Take 42nd St to the library and go south on Fifth Ave, then west on 34th St. to NYP. No problem.

Galls

Post by Galls »

pennsy wrote:Seems to me someone should mention that is would be quite dangerous to walk the streets of Manhattan, carrying luggage, in the darkness of the wee hours of the AM.
Southern California? :wink:

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