• Amtrak Fare and Availability Discussion Thread

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

  by tomfuller
 
Hi consist, I have traveled in coach cross country more than once. If you can fall asleep in your recliner chair while watching TV you can probably manage for 3 nights each way. The fare you quoted was for a straight through trip without a layover. Between Chicago and California I like to make an overnight stop in Glenwood Springs Colorado and catch the next CA Zephyr. You will have a layover in Chicago of about 4 hours between the Lake Shore Limited and the Zephyr.
If you can limit your trip to 15 days, consider buying a 15 day USA Rail Pass for $429 which allows you 8 segments within the 15 days.
My wife and I have made several trips on Rail Passes. Check the "Deals" tab on the website for the USA Rail Pass.
  by Greg Moore
 
I'm not sure of any travel sites that will show you fares before you enter dates. Airlines and Amtrak tend to have "buckets" that they try to fill based on season, day of week, and other factors.

Coach will pretty much be cheaper than sleeper, but sleeper includes meals.

In my experience, east coast sleeper prices tend to be higher (more demand, less rooms) than west coast.

I can handle one night in coach, MAYBE 2. I think by the 3rd one I'd be a bit too sore, too much wanting a shower, privacy, etc. And I consider myself somewhat of a road warrior when it comes to coach (in fact typing this in coach on the SB Crescent.) Others can't handle a single night in coach, others, could do all 3.

I would also recommend looking at discounts such as using AAA. That gets you 10% of your fare if you book 3 days in advance. That said, sometimes the "special' fare is already cheaper and the computer almost always takes that into account.

As the previous poster suggested, consider a layover, or some use of a the rail pass to break up your trip.

Also keep in mind that on the LD trains, Amtrak does not currently have Wi-Fi if that matters.

The scenery in many cases is excellent, but I tend to bring a book, and a DVD or two. For 3 nights, I'd bring a bit more.

Keep in mind that once you check your luggage, you don't have access to it before your final destination. As a result, make sure that your carry-on bag has anything you may need (medicines, snacks, change of underwear :-)

Back to fares, generally, the further you book out, the cheaper it will be. I'd also play with non-traditional travel dates, i.e. middle of the week and the like.

That said, $266 each way is probably about as cheap as it'll get.

It may be cheaper to fly, but consider for $266, you get 4 days of scenery, 3 nights in a hotel (granted, not the most comfortable and private one).

In any event. Enjoy.
  by Ken W2KB
 
Greg Moore wrote:I'm not sure of any travel sites that will show you fares before you enter dates. Airlines and Amtrak tend to have "buckets" that they try to fill based on season, day of week, and other factors.
Continental Airlines (now really United) has long had an option to select "my dates are flexible" when looking up flights/fares. That coupled with search by price and the find the lowest fare plus or minus 3 days gets the lowest price. That fills up the most empty aircraft first since lower fares typically relates to demand.

One would expect that it could be beneficial for Amtrak to do the same.
  by hi55us
 
They used to have sample fares at the end of the timetable that would show the lowest possible and highest possible fares, but they don't do that anymore. Tickets can be purchased up to 1 year in advance, so try booking the trip for 1 year for now, see the price (it will most likely be the lowest price).

For instance I tried booking NYP-CHI for tomorrow, I got a fare of $122 in coach, yet when booking for Jan. 1 2013 I got a fare of $97. I find that off the north east corridor the prices do not vary as much. For instance when booking NYP-WAS for tomorrow the highest fare was $242 on an Acela, yet some Acelas where priced at $145 and some Regional trains where only $80.
  by consist
 
A belated thank you to those that responded to my inquiry.
I was not trying to compare airfares to train fares, incidentally. I have wanted to see the lay of the land specifically by train for many years now. I did fly to the Bay Area a few years back for quite a bit less than today's Amtrak price but that's not an issue this trip.
  by Jeff Smith
 
I have a question for my more travelled Amtrak afficianados. These are unadjusted, undiscounted reserved coach fares. I'm looking at going from Savannah to New York on April 12. Heading up for Opening Day.

Palmetto: $118
Star: $155
Meteor: $203

Does anyone care to comment on the huge disparity? A day earlier, the Meteor is $155. A day later, $203 and $263 for the Silvers, respectively.

The return trip on Monday has $118 for the Palm, and $155 for the Silvers.

Any thoughts?
  by Greg Moore
 
Jeff Smith wrote:I have a question for my more travelled Amtrak afficianados. These are unadjusted, undiscounted reserved coach fares. I'm looking at going from Savannah to New York on April 12. Heading up for Opening Day.

Palmetto: $118
Star: $155
Meteor: $203

Does anyone care to comment on the huge disparity? A day earlier, the Meteor is $155. A day later, $203 and $263 for the Silvers, respectively.

The return trip on Monday has $118 for the Palm, and $155 for the Silvers.

Any thoughts?
Only thing I can think of is that the Star and Meteor will have a full diner.

Beyond that, I personally can't think of a reason to pick one over the other, but have never ridden any of those.
  by hi55us
 
Jeff Smith wrote:I have a question for my more travelled Amtrak afficianados. These are unadjusted, undiscounted reserved coach fares. I'm looking at going from Savannah to New York on April 12. Heading up for Opening Day.

Palmetto: $118
Star: $155
Meteor: $203

Does anyone care to comment on the huge disparity? A day earlier, the Meteor is $155. A day later, $203 and $263 for the Silvers, respectively.

The return trip on Monday has $118 for the Palm, and $155 for the Silvers.

Any thoughts?
The Palmetto only runs Savannah-New York, so my guess is they are trying to get passengers originating out of Savannah onto the Palmetto (so the silvers can be used by NY-Florida passengers).

If you're traveling by yourself or with 1 other person, I would travel business class on the Palmetto, since I'm pretty sure it still has the business class with 2-1 seating.
  by electricron
 
hi55us wrote:If you're traveling by yourself or with 1 other person, I would travel business class on the Palmetto, since I'm pretty sure it still has the business class with 2-1 seating.
One would think that a train going that far south would be using Amfleet II rolling stock, including Amfleet II "Diner Light" cars. Are there any "Business Class" Amfleet II cars? I'll admit I don't know what rolling stock Amtrak uses on the Palmetto. Can anyone fill us in?
  by ThirdRail7
 
hi55us wrote:
Jeff Smith wrote:I have a question for my more travelled Amtrak afficianados. These are unadjusted, undiscounted reserved coach fares. I'm looking at going from Savannah to New York on April 12. Heading up for Opening Day.

Palmetto: $118
Star: $155
Meteor: $203

Does anyone care to comment on the huge disparity? A day earlier, the Meteor is $155. A day later, $203 and $263 for the Silvers, respectively.

The return trip on Monday has $118 for the Palm, and $155 for the Silvers.

Any thoughts?
The Palmetto only runs Savannah-New York, so my guess is they are trying to get passengers originating out of Savannah onto the Palmetto (so the silvers can be used by NY-Florida passengers).
Indeed. Additionally, they only sell "x" amount of seats at "x" prices. When those sell out, the next fare applies until you reach maximum fare. Thursday is a busy day for long distance trains that travel overnight, so the lowest possible fare is probably gone.

electricron wrote:
hi55us wrote:If you're traveling by yourself or with 1 other person, I would travel business class on the Palmetto, since I'm pretty sure it still has the business class with 2-1 seating.
One would think that a train going that far south would be using Amfleet II rolling stock, including Amfleet II "Diner Light" cars. Are there any "Business Class" Amfleet II cars? I'll admit I don't know what rolling stock Amtrak uses on the Palmetto. Can anyone fill us in?
He's referring to the split cafe/clubs. Previously, 89/90 used the club portion as business class. However, 43/42 and 89/90 turn into each, so you have a full business car on the head end.
  by ryanov
 
The Palmetto does run with Amfleet II cars (I rode it last month), but does not have anything but an Amfleet I cafe car for food.
  by hi55us
 
ryanov wrote:The Palmetto does run with Amfleet II cars (I rode it last month), but does not have anything but an Amfleet I cafe car for food.
Was the business class car in the cafe?
  by ryanov
 
No, it was a separate car. I was seated in the cafe for the majority of the trip and the whole cafe was tables.
  by electricron
 
Therefore, the Business car must be an Amfleet I while the coach cars are Amfleet IIs?
All Amfleet IIs are either coach or diner-lites today.
Seating capacity of an Amfleet II coach is 59 , Amfleet I coach is 72, and Amfleet I business is 62. There's 14 tables, capable of sitting 4 each, in the full Amfleet I dinette. An Amfleet II coach is less crowded than an Amfleet I business.
http://www.on-track-on-line.com/amtk-ro ... #Amfleet-I
  by Jeff Smith
 
Thanks for all the feedback on the Palmetto.

Moving on; want a discounted ticket to Charlottesville?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dr- ... _blog.html
If you sign up at Prespassport.Monticello.org and buy one round-trip Amtrak ticket to Charlottesville, you can save 40 percent on a second ticket. The fine print:
Follow the link for the rest of the fine print; the sale is good through 12/14.
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