[EAST]East Coast Train Trip?

brainsmithbrainsmith Registered User regular
edited July 2009 in PAX Archive
So, for PAX, there is the WCTT, I was wondering if there would be any interest in organizing something similar for us East coasters for PAX East. Sorry if this has been asked already in another thread.

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  • Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Moderator mod
    edited June 2009
    I think it's been poked around with. I know at least 2 or 3 people who want to take the train that runs from Chicago to Boston, and I know a couple people who plan on taking the train up the coast from Boston. There just hasn't been any organization as of yet. It's probably about that time though, isn't it?

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  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    The street address I can find for the convention center is 900 Boylston St, Boston, MA‎, which is only about a mile away from the Amtrak Back Bay station and depending on what side of I90 you can get out on either 10 or 20 minutes away by taxi.

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    Looking at the Amtrak route map for the East coast it seems like we'd have a few options. We'd probably want to do one branch from Chicago east and another up the coast, either meeting somewhere around DC-Philly-NY or just staying completely separate. That probably depends more on how many people would be interested and where they were spread out. The ideal plan might be to have people make their own way to major stations and join the group as it passes through.A quick and dirty first draft might be something like

    Inland branch: Chicago-Detroit-Cleveland-Buffalo/Syracuse(for the Toronto folks)-NYC(if we merge)-Boston
    Coast branch: Atlanta-Charlotte OR Florida?-Charleston then Washington-Philly-NYC-Boston

    Just playing with the fare calculator, first impression seems to be that Amtrak charges about $40 per leg of the trip, so if we do too many stops it may get pricey for the people farther out. Someone with more experience taking the trains might know more than I do though.

    The other important thing is picking a theme, because everything needs a theme. We'll wait and see if anyone comes up with anything interesting, because it's way too late for me to be creative.

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  • Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Moderator mod
    edited June 2009
    I think trying to merge the routes is a bit much to ask, but I was thinking the same thing about there being two routes, coast and inland.

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  • SlickShughesSlickShughes Registered User
    edited June 2009
    Having made the trip via train from NY to Albany and back several times, let me assure you that it won't be worth it to merge the routes. Having further dealt with Amtrak scheduling and delays on the WCTT last year, let me further assure you that if you attempt to, you'll probably miss a connecting train somewhere. Murphy's Law and all.

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  • razoredgrazoredg Registered User
    edited June 2009
    If anyone from the west coast wanted to do a Cross country train trip, its about $193 (each way) from everett to Boston, changing from the Empire Builder to the Lake shore limited. Leaving the 22nd of march the E.B. line arrives in chicago the 24th, and boston the 25th at like 9:10 pm. so figure about midnight if your lucky, cause going thru the mountains the Empire will definately have some late winter weather to deal with.

    if your psychotic and want to take the 3 1/2 day bus trip, its $200 anytime past 21 days out (as of today). or if your military like me, its $198 no matter what (i love there round trip fare)

    Its do-able, but it may cost a little bit

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  • brainsmithbrainsmith Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Amtrak's website has me changing trains in either Union Station in D.C. or Penn Station in NYC. Either runs $139. Leaving march 24 around 2:40 pm, arriving march 25 at 8:05pm either way.

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  • Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Moderator mod
    edited June 2009
    I think an official train changeover would have to be agreed on.

    Moe Fwacky on
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  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    I do find myself a bit concerned about the legendary Amtrak asshattery and the fact both branches have at as many as five stops.

    How many stops did the West Coast supertrain have, and did they ever have an delay or connection issues?

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  • Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Moderator mod
    edited June 2009
    They have a lot of stops and I believe they were 4 hours late last year.

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  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    That's not atrocious, I suppose. Just build a lot of slack into the schedule, so if everything ran perfectly we get there a half day or so before the stuff we'd like to do. There's usually forum group stuff the day before like bar crawls, sightseeing, dinner and what have you right? If both branches planned to be in Boston early that day we could probably make sure we got in and settled where ever we were staying before anything major kicked off.

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  • nemaihnenemaihne Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Before you base too much scheduling on the WCTT, keep in mind that the Coast Starlight has a special place in Amtrak purgatory. In the west Amtrak does not own their own track, instead running on the freight track. They run on Union Pacific track on the west coast and unlike other freight carriers, UP does not give preferential treatment to passenger over their own freight and often has 'slow orders' (speed limits) in place. I think you might be hard pressed to find Acela or anything else in the North-East running as off schedule as the Coast Starlight.

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  • brainsmithbrainsmith Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    The train it has me arriving in Boston is 176 Northeast Regional. Wiki says it runs from Newport news, VA to Boston.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regional_(Amtrak)

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  • Tiki_GuyTiki_Guy Registered User
    edited June 2009
    You can get from the Back Bay Station to the Convention center without even going Outside! (I usually cross the street insted of walking though the nasty tunnel) but you can go from Back Bay Station right into the Mall that it connected by a enclosed brige to the Convention center. Getting on anything with 4 wheels in Boston is not advised.

    I'm in Boston now, if anyway needs any info about the city PM me.

    "If traveling by Commuter rail or Amtrak from points west or south of Boston, get off at the Back Bay Station and walk through the Copley Place Mall to the Prudential Center and follow the signs to the Hynes Convention Center."

    It may be far with a lot of stuff, if you brought your life sized Optimus Prime costume or a desktop PC, but the walk isn't any worse than some of the big airports like Atlanta or Dallas Fort Worth.

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  • Qs23Qs23 Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    nemaihne wrote: »
    Before you base too much scheduling on the WCTT, keep in mind that the Coast Starlight has a special place in Amtrak purgatory. In the west Amtrak does not own their own track, instead running on the freight track. They run on Union Pacific track on the west coast and unlike other freight carriers, UP does not give preferential treatment to passenger over their own freight and often has 'slow orders' (speed limits) in place. I think you might be hard pressed to find Acela or anything else in the North-East running as off schedule as the Coast Starlight.

    Um... Amtrak doesn't own most of the track that they are on. Actually, the only track that they do own that would be prudent to PAX East, is the line from D.C. to Boston. Everything else would be owned by the freight companies. Which if my memory serves me correct, would be: CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern Railway, Buckingham Branch Railroad, Canadian National Railway, Union Pacific Railroad, and Metra. (I can chat up my friend in D.C. if you want specifics.

    Anyway, the reason the WCTT works out so well is the fact that it's one train. Everybody is able to get on wherever they are along the route and know that they don't have to get off again until they reach Seattle.

    Which means that I would go with the suggestion of one from the west out of Chicago and one from the south out of D.C. If people are beyond those two cities, then layovers are going to be required. I'll look into it more at some point.

    Qs23 on
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  • X3R0 9X3R0 9 Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    I live in Charleston, SC and if there is a lot of interest for the East Coast Trip, I'll definitely be down for the train ride.

    X3R0 9 on
  • PhanmanPhanman Registered User
    edited July 2009
    I've thought about this a lot myself. And I keep debating about it. It would obviously take a lot longer to get there and I'd have to take Thursday off instead of just flying up.

    It would probably cost me a very marginal amount more to fly. Unless a ton of PAXers were on the train, I'd likely not want to take it. Just fly up and have fun Thursday night in Boston.

    Boston is one of the few places I can actually fly direct to from the Richmond airport.

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  • ArcoArco Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Speaking as someone who took the WCTT last year and is planning on doing it this year, here's my input on the subject:

    Trains suck. They do. Strictly as a mode of transportation, it's miserable. It's loud, it's always moving, there's constant and long delays, train stations are usually kind of run down, and it's similarly priced to flying. If you get a sleeper car or a roomette I imagine it's a lot better, but those are pricey. I've never done it. I imagine most people looking into the train option would be getting regular coach seats.

    However, parties rule. The WCTT is easily one of the coolest things I've ever done. The only thing that makes the train trip to Seattle even an option for me is the presence of 100+ other PAXers with games. And that makes it more than just an option - it's the only way to get there. It's worth taking an extra day off, it's worth spending two days on a stupid train, it's worth not sleeping, it's worth more money... it's worth a lot. The WCTT is the only way I'll ever travel to PAX in the future. It's arguably more fun than PAX itself.

    So my conclusion would be: if you guys out east can get something similar going with a decent amount of people all on the same trains, do it. It's an amazing experience. Otherwise, put yourself on a plane. They're a lot less painful.

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  • TNTrooperTNTrooper Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Trip #1 from Miami to Boston will run you $320 you have a 2 and a half hour layover in D.C. The second train lacks a Dining and Lounge car as well as no checked baggage.

    Trip #2 only costs $250 but you have a 5 hour and 45 minute layover in D.C. The second train doesn't have a Dining or Lounge car as well but it does take checked baggage. This train doesn't arrive in Boston till 8 AM the morning of E-PAX.

    Trip #1 costs more then flying and the second train lacks the amenities that made the WCTT a party train. Trip #2 has a shitty layover (unless you want to take a 2 hour tour of D.C. and while the second train lacks the amenities as well you don't board it till 10 at night and arrive at 8 in the morning so you can just sleep through most of that part of the trip. Downside is you got to spend 2 nights sleeping in the train but you save a night of hotel costs.

    Both are more expensive and part of your trip will be have less amenities then the WCTT.

    Edit- Actually factoring in the hotel money you save if you take trip 2 makes it cost about the same as the WCTT.

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  • LTAcostaLTAcosta Boston, MARegistered User regular
    edited July 2009
    I don't think a train trip from the west coast would be worth it. When I fly from california to boston, the tickets are only about 300 round trip, and its about a 5 hour nonstop flight. I think that beats a few days at the same price via train. Also, once you get to boston, there's really no need to take a taxi. The T is amazing, and one of the stops on the green line is right there near the convention center. That'll save you money too, since its only like 2 bucks to go anywhere on the T.

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  • ColdbrewColdbrew Down in Front Productions Lake Stevens, WARegistered User regular
    edited July 2009
    I would definately consider taking a train from Seatte/Everett to Boston, as long as there were many others going along with as well. Trains do get delayed a lot though and it can be a hassle, but it would be fun.

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  • Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Moderator mod
    edited July 2009
    I'm planning on taking the train, but I'm coming from Cleveland and there's a line that runs from Chicago to Boston, which could draw in a nice number of people. Honestly, the east coast is more of a train network than single trip. That said, I would encourage any west coasters who want to get some train time in to fly into either Chicago or DC and ride the one up from there. Granted, I haven't checked out the schedules or types of trains yet, so I don't know the details on that and.

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  • ColdbrewColdbrew Down in Front Productions Lake Stevens, WARegistered User regular
    edited July 2009
    That would probably be better, but if I end up flying, I'm going straight from Seattle to Boston, I don't wanna have to go somewhere else then move to a train.

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