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Streets & Trips: GPS tracking on Amtrak
PetalumaLoco
I just got back from a x-country trip on Amtrak, SF bay area to Connecticut and back again. Great ride, I recommend traveling this way at least once. Kind of like a cheap cruise trip on land. Saw a lot and had a good time. Never waited in a line longer than 2 minutes, never got scanned or searched, and you can bring any amount of drink you'd like on the train - I took a bottle of Bailey's, try that on a plane.

Anyway, I took my Dell Vostro 1500 along with S&T 2008 installed. It worked great. Sometimes I had a delay of a minute or 2 to hook up, but it never failed.

I made some screen shots, like this

Streets & Trips on Train

(that break in the trail is when we went to lunch in the diner car).

Too bad I didn't save screen shots of the regional train from DC to NY, it went 124mph!

If you care to see a few hundred miles of consecutive screen shots, go here
Amtrak GPS Trails pictures by W650Rider - Photobucket
Marvin Hlavac
PetalumaLoco, thanks for posting that. I haven't taken a train in perhaps 20 years, but I think I should take my family on a train ride one of these days. I think it would be a very nice experience for all of us. I should do a bit of a research on this.
Ken in Regina
I rode the train a lot in the late 60's and early 70's, back when CP and CN both still had good passenger service. I was across the country twice and back and forth between the west coast and the prairies a few times. It was a great experience.

The only issues were that the passenger trains had very low priority. They had to get out of the way whenever a freight needed to pass. With each delay, their priority would drop even lower (what's lower than 0?). This was back in the days before double-tracking so the passenger trains almost never ran on time.

My wife also did some train travel back in the day. She has great memories of a trip from the prairies to the maritimes and back. A couple of years ago we were thinking we should take a train trip again one of these days. We checked the prices and found them rather expensive. We were comparing them to air travel to similar destinations.

I guess it's really more fair to compare them to driving, including meals and accomodations, to travel the same distance.

I would be interested in the experience of any Canadians who have traveled by train in Canada recently (say, in the past three or four years).

...ken...
PetalumaLoco
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin Hlavac
PetalumaLoco, thanks for posting that. I haven't taken a train in perhaps 20 years, but I think I should take my family on a train ride one of these days. I think it would be a very nice experience for all of us. I should do a bit of a research on this.
Marvin

If you're interested in Amtrak travel, check out this forum, or save the URL for later reference.
http://discuss.amtraktrains.com/
The most important thing is to book your trip as far in advance as possible (11 months) to get the best fare, as the more a train fills up, the higher the fares go. We saved about $700 by booking this trip in July.

If you like to meet interesting people, this is one of the better features of train travel. Meals are served in the diner at tables that seat 4, and they fill up the seats, so you always are randomly meeting new travelers. All that I met are interesting and have their own story to tell. I met some great people; Louisiana trucker that drives truck one way and returns home on the train; 75 year old great grandmother that wanted to see San Diego; retired 80+ guy who is finally riding the rails after his wife passed away (she hated trains); people who have had it with airline travel; a French family with 5(!) kids under the age of 8; the list goes on.

You get to see such great views not seen from your car or airliner, too. It was the most relaxed vacation I think I've ever had.
PetalumaLoco
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken in Regina
I rode the train a lot in the late 60's and early 70's, back when CP and CN both still had good passenger service. I was across the country twice and back and forth between the west coast and the prairies a few times. It was a great experience.

The only issues were that the passenger trains had very low priority. They had to get out of the way whenever a freight needed to pass. With each delay, their priority would drop even lower (what's lower than 0?). This was back in the days before double-tracking so the passenger trains almost never ran on time.

My wife also did some train travel back in the day. She has great memories of a trip from the prairies to the maritimes and back. A couple of years ago we were thinking we should take a train trip again one of these days. We checked the prices and found them rather expensive. We were comparing them to air travel to similar destinations.

I guess it's really more fair to compare them to driving, including meals and accomodations, to travel the same distance.

I would be interested in the experience of any Canadians who have traveled by train in Canada recently (say, in the past three or four years).

...ken...
Ken
I'm not sure but I think rail travel in Canada is more expensive than in the states.

For us, it was about 3 times the air fare. But look what we got; 8 days and 6 nights on the train, meals included, with people that wanted to be on the train (most of them glad to be, actually).

Compared to the same trip by car; I used Streets and Trips to calc a trip, guessed at decent accommodations and meals, and driving was more expensive. Plus I don't think I could have done the round trip in 8 days!

There are still horror stories out there about delayed trains, it still happens. For us, none were later than 90 minutes and we made all our connections. The final train at the end of the trip was actually 40 minutes early.

Best way to approach Amtrak travel is with low expectations with on time performance, and don't make it a necessity to be at a destination at a fixed time.
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