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Brian Bennett

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Amtrak's Auto Train

Sharon Kalita (skalita@rochester.rr.com) provided this information on the Auto Train from when her family rode the train in November 1999.

My family traveled on the Auto Train in November one-way (South to North).  We drove to Florida, as we wanted to make some stops on the way. The train was not crowded, as we were traveling the less desired segment. In the fall/winter, more people travel South, and in the Spring, more travel North. The price was also lower this way. We had plenty of room to stretch out, which was good, as we didn't purchase separate sleeping accommodations (too expensive). The seats reclined, and had footrests, and we were given small pillows. We brought our own full size pillows, and afghans to be more comfortable.

The ticket price includes dinner and breakfast. Dinner was a choice of pot roast, grilled chicken breast, or vegetable lasagna with all the trimmings, including a carafe of wine and cheesecake for dessert. The kids meal was chicken nuggets. Breakfast was cold cereal, hot muffins or bagels, bananas, orange juice and coffee. In the afternoon, there was also hot water for hot chocolate or tea, and coffee. Also bowls of salty snacks. A movie was shown in the evening (PG), and there were cookies and lemonade.

Our car attendant was friendly and helpful. He explained that they try to put families in the same car, and seniors in different cars so everyone gets along better. We left slightly early, and arrived in Lorton, VA an hour early. It took about an hour to get our car after we arrived. We enjoyed our trip, but traveling in Nov. when the days are short, we didn't see much scenery once it got dark (before dinner). One hint: when you check in for the train, you have to choose a dinner reservation time. Our choices were 5:00 and 6:30. We opted for the later time, and it worked well, as the travel novelty was starting to wear off by then; it gave us something to do. Lights were turned off in our family car about 9:00, but you could still have your own personal reading light above your seat. If you have any other questions, e-mail me.

Looking for More Information On the Auto Train?

These trip reports, in the trip report archive, include comments on auto train experiences.

I also got this note from Don Weinstein, webmaster of the Amtrak Auto Train Travel Hints web site:

Brian,

I noticed a fair amount of information about the Amtrak Auto Train on your wonderful MousePlanet site. You may be interested in taking a look at the website that I maintain that provides in-depth information about the Auto Train... I'm not connected in any way with Amtrak and the website is wholly non-commercial. It started as a simple "riders guide" that I wrote about the Auto Train when I discovered there was little such information on the Internet. I take the Auto Train down the Florida each year to visit my parents, ending with a visit to WDW, and update the material as necessary after each trip...

My thanks to Don for providing this great resource!

 

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