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Recently took Amtrak from DC to NYC and back.   My first time going via train since I normally drive.   Although it took about the same time, it was way more relaxing and comfortable than driving.   It wasn't an Acela (which costs a bit more) it did impress me with sustained 120mph sections between cities.   The BOSWASH (Boston - Washington) corridor has such potential for effective high-speed train transit.   I hope necessary tunnel and track improvements are made.   I saw new Acelas in Philly just waiting for their final fixes.

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I use the NE corridor pretty regularly since my three kids live in DC (Capitol Hill), Philly(Center City) and NYC(Manhattan). Sure beats fighting the traffic on I-95. Routinely, I book business class (assigned seat and a little more leg room).

I am also lucky that my destinations are so convenient…….a five block walk from Union Station; a 15-20 minute walk from 30th St; and, two stops north on the IRT #1 (Broadway) Express to W72nd St.

The only drawback coming up from Richmond is the Northern VA congestion where the NS tracks join north of Alexandria and there is congestion getting across the Potomac. Hopefully, the upgrades that are in progress will relieve this congestion………then, there is a 20 minute wait to change motive power in DC (diesel to electric and vice versa), which is usually no big deal……..and still better than sitting stopped in your car…..

Peter

Like @Putnam Division I lived and worked for many years in the vicinity of the Amtrak Northeast Corridor.  I worked outside Philly but regularly commuted to our HQ in DC.  Then transferred to the HQ but my Mom and my in-laws lived in NJ just a 20 minute drive from Newark Amtrak station.  The Amtrak corridor was by far the best way to travel between those points.  I-95 is a joke, a long parking lot and driving took longer than the train.  In fact, when I was at a Navy lab outside Philly, the train was the "approved" USG travel means for traveling to DC.

Don

I live on Long Island and have ridden Amtrak from Boston down to Florida (Autotrain Lorton to Sanford). The NE Corridor is the closest thing to European rail service in the USA.

I've done both Acela and NE Regionals and both offer good service. The old Acela's could hit top speeds in a few spots between NYC and Boston, more areas from NYC to Washington.

Amtrak and the gov't are finally addressing some long delayed projects south of New York which should help service in the long term.

Nice video compilation. Thanks for sharing.

Bob

So thanks to all who have commented.   The trip was a real treat for me since I'm into trains.   My wife made the arrangements.   Little did she know that I'd go right out and buy a set of MTH Amtrak NE passengers just so I could weave them into the video.   Surprised nobody has called out the scenes....   Missed taking a pic of some new Siemens ALC-42 Chargers in the Phase 4 color scheme right outside of DC.   I know that 3rd rail is offering them but I'm hoping MTH will make a Charger.

We rode from Washington to New York for a Yankees game last year, and then rode to Boston for a Red Sox game.  Used Amtrak points to book business class and it was actually less than coach fare.  Paying by cash or card, business class costs more.

On the New York to New Haven leg, we had the roughest passenger Engineer I have ever ridden behind.  You really have to work hard to make the slack run in and run out on Amfleet cars, but he was a master of that technique.  And the stops . . . oh my!  He welded the train to the rail every time he stopped.  The Conductor told me that he is well known for this by crews and has an uncomplimentary nickname.  Every time we came into a station, I commented to my wife, wondering if he could get as much slack as he did at the previous stop, and he never let me down.

Last edited by Number 90
@Number 90 posted:

We rode from Washington to New York for a Yankees game last year, and then rode to Boston for a Red Sox game.  Used Amtrak points to book business class and it was actually less than coach fare.  Paying by cash or card, business class costs more.

On the New York to New Haven leg, we had the roughest passenger Engineer I have ever ridden behind.  You really have to work hard to make the slack run in and run out on Amfleet cars, but he was a master of that technique.  And the stops . . . oh my!  He welded the train to the rail every time he stopped.  The Conductor told me that he is well known for this by crews and has an uncomplimentary nickname.  Every time we came into a station, I commented to my wife, wondering if he could get as much slack as he did at the previous stop, and he never let me down.

A number of years ago I rode Amtrak (well VIA and Amtrak) from Philly to Toronto and back.

I can't critique the train handling but I met a few interesting railroaders on the trip (as in most every trip).  One was a Metro North conductor that was off pending for a Rule G violation, she had some interesting and entertaining stories to tell about her alcohol versus work issues.

The highlight of the trip was the Conductor on the train out of NYP on the NEC leg.   He was an elderly gentleman who reminded me of someone from a railroad family who had Pullman Porters in his family back in that era.  This fellow had exactly the professional appearance and demeanor we'd expect from someone on a name train in the classic era,  not on an Amtrak Clocker.    His handling of teenagers in the "quiet" car was nothing short of amazing.     I wrote Amtrak a commendation for him and they responded in a kind manner.

@coach joe posted:

You think Amtrak would review their crew members' performances and retrain as necessary.

Not unless they are getting a lot of complaints about rough train handling on one particular Engineer.  Since most who ride the train are not railroaders, they either do not know the difference, or they just think it's normal, then they don't complain.  A wheel has to be squeaky to get grease, so to speak.  And coffee is served in covered paper cups which are not prone to slosh over when the slack runs in or out, so nobody's clothing gets stained by the guy I mentioned.  (My shirt did, but shame on me for taking the cap off of the cup to cool the coffee. I knew better.)

The same would be true about a Conductor who is unpleasant or grouchy.  No complaints mean no Dale Carnegie course for him.

When we ran our own passenger trains on Santa Fe, (and also for the 5 years that we ran them for Amtrak with our own crews) the Company was very fussy about service standards and train handling.  Engineers had to qualify for passenger service eligibility, and, if an Engineer caused discomfort in the dining car, the Pullman sleeping cars, or even in chair cars, he was barred from working passenger trains.  Santa Fe passenger Conductors and dining car stewards considered themselves to be the judges of the Engineer's work, and they were not afraid to turn in an Engineer who was not providing a smooth ride.  For a lot of reasons, we don't expect this level of oversight from Amtrak, but I mentioned our Engineer on the New York to New Haven crew district because he was outstandingly rough.

I must also say that Amtrak does have a goodly number of excellent Locomotive Engineers.  And I enjoy riding the Northeast Corridor for all the reasons mentioned by Obsidian and others who posted here.

Last edited by Number 90

On Jan. 2nd, 2004 the whole family went to NYC to pay respects to the WTC and victims, with a side trip to spit off the Empire State Building.  We got the train in Greenville, SC, very rough track in places, switched to electric locos in DC and I also enjoyed the 120MPH ride to NYC, and at that time, it was smooth as glass.  The train crew had just come from New Orleans where they were also on the Chicago to New Orleans leg on New Years Eve, and they were just worn out, saying the passengers on that train partied till they dropped.  Between DC and NYC, what impressed me was there was no grade crossings, all roads went either under or over the tracks.  And yes, we did visit the Empire State Bldg, and I have to say, the security staff there, all the way to the top, are some of the friendliest and courteous New Yorkers around, along with the wait staff in the  mom and pop restaurants we went to and the Milford Tower Hotel folks, and this coming from a Southern boy with a 'Happiness is a Northbound Yankee with a Canadian under each arm" bumper sticker on my truck.

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