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Old Jul 23, 08, 8:08 am   #1
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How crowded is the Acela these days?

I've decided to try to become more carbon neutral (and also save some $) by taking the BOS-NYP Acela. How crowded is it in the afternoons these days? Does it ever sell out?
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Old Jul 23, 08, 10:40 am   #2
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JoeM, welcome to FlyerTalk. Let's see if the readers of our Amtrak forum can help answer your Q. Please follow the thread as we move it there. Ocn Vw 1K, Moderator, TravelBuzz.
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Old Jul 23, 08, 12:54 pm   #3
  
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JoeM, welcome to FT!

I travel BOS-NYP-BOS quite frequently, and it's very busy. Even though I live closer to RTE, I backtrack to South Station to get a good seat. Weekend trains are usually booked full, as there are only a handful of trains and they see a lot of use by non-business travelers (i.e. families - go for the Quiet Car!).

Even First Class (the costs and benefits of which are discussed at length in other threads on this forum) is often sold out. This morning I was on 2190 (the 6:20am from NYP to BOS) and it was pretty busy, though there were seats available in each car. The busiest weekday trains northbound seem to be the 8am, and 3, 4, and 5pm departures from NYP to BOS. Southbound from BOS, it's the 7 and 8am, and 4 and 5PM trains that are the busiest. I'd really like to see a 6pm hour BOS-NYP train reinstated, as we had a few years ago.

I'm sure those that ride the NYP-WAS side can comment on that part of the route.
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Old Jul 23, 08, 6:34 pm   #4
  
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It does sell out sometimes -- at least they're all-reserved trains, so you won't get stuck without a seat (as I recently was on the Hiawatha).

Amtrak's ticketing system is pretty simple and not much like the airlines. Most tickets are refundable and valid for one year from travel date, for instance. Fares don't vary a whole lot between days or times; the differences you see are just between fare buckets. So, in most instances, it's best to just buy in advance and to not "check in" (print the ticket at the station) until the last minute: an unprinted ticket that "expires" is just refunded to you.
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Old Jul 23, 08, 7:16 pm   #5
  
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JoeM, Welcome to FT!

Acela is pretty crowded. We were 100% full from DC->NYP this morning (8 AM train), and close to that on the return tonight (2171, originated in BOS). The times I've been on it NYP-BOS, it's been full. Having said that, I've got an empty seat next to me right now as the passenger disembarked at PHL.

Rule of thumb: always pretty full, the first three morning trains are usually fuller, as are the "evening rush" (5,6,7 PM) trains. They will be even more full on days where the weather is threatening as the airline shuttles go down the tubes pretty quickly and those passengers head for the train.
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Old Jul 23, 08, 7:38 pm   #6
  
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Originally Posted by paytonc View Post
Amtrak's ticketing system is pretty simple and not much like the airlines. Most tickets are refundable and valid for one year from travel date, for instance. Fares don't vary a whole lot between days or times; the differences you see are just between fare buckets. So, in most instances, it's best to just buy in advance and to not "check in" (print the ticket at the station) until the last minute: an unprinted ticket that "expires" is just refunded to you.
I want to second this. There is no notion of a round-trip ticket, really, just one-way. So if you happen to be making several trips in a week, you can save yourself some grief by printing out all of them the first time you go to the station.

As to the original question, I often find room on the 5:20 BOS-NYP if you have some notice (like a week or more).
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Old Jul 24, 08, 4:35 am   #7
  
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As of late (and i caveat this by saying i do two round trips a month)... i've been having fairly good luck.

I tend to take the 5PM train from NYP and the 6AM from BBY....

the other big thing to take into consideration... if the weather looks bad... just assume it's 10 times worse b/c every shuttle person runs to the trainstation almost immediately at the first sign of a storm in the North East.
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Old Jul 24, 08, 11:17 am   #8
  
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Originally Posted by boston aa flyer View Post
the other big thing to take into consideration... if the weather looks bad... just assume it's 10 times worse b/c every shuttle person runs to the trainstation almost immediately at the first sign of a storm in the North East.
Amen to that. Book in advance if you think you might take the train. As mentioned in the other thread, just cancel if you don't go.

Last night was a prime example (except that Amtrak was screwed up, too, thanks to a power problem in New Jersey). I was booked on the 7 PM out of NYP, thunderstorms rolled in a line from NY to DC along the corridor. The shuttles canceled all but 3 flights for the evening (the 6 and 6:30 ran at 10:15 PM, the 8:30 was scheduled for 10:45). Our train was full with shuttle folks.... we got in 1:10 late (about 11 PM), but at least we got in. Had I been on the shuttle, I'd have been in a hotel last night. Not an outstanding performance by Amtrak, but still much, much better than the airlines.
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Old Jul 24, 08, 1:27 pm   #9
  
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Yes- the NYP-BOS Acela sells out- one I was on (an 8am on a Friday, although it was July 4) sold out.
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Old Jul 27, 08, 9:20 pm   #10
  
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BOS-NYP in First is more often sold out than not. I get on in NHV and am often directed to the one seat that's open--usually next to the child, customer of size, or "gentleman" glued to his cell phone. Thank goodness for NYP when I can launch myself to a single seat.
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