Mid-Atlantic - Rail Newbie - can anyone provide Train travel 101?
Apr 22, 09, 6:15 pm
I have never ridden a train - but have a meeting in PHL; followed by one in Manhatten - so thought this might be the time to try it. The meeting in PHL is at the airport Renaissance, and I can get a cab from GCentral to the NY location. I need to leave when the PHL meeting is over (3PM); the NYC meeting is not until the next day.
Is anyone willing to offer information from the basics up? As in - can I make a res? is there certain seating/trains I want? how do I (or perhaps the real question is CAN I) check luggage? Anything else I should know? Are there usually delays?
TIA for those willing to help (after they stop snickering, perhaps :D)
Apr 22, 09, 6:28 pm
There is a Septa train that runs from PHL to 30th Street station for transfer to Amtrak. Check on the SEPTA website.
As for the rail options, Amtrak for the fastest (but most expensive) service. If you want to be cheap, you can take SEPTA to Trenton and change for NJ Transit to Penn Station in Manhattan (nothing except Metronorth commuter trains at GC). Check the Amtrak website.
Apr 22, 09, 8:44 pm
Just to add to the good advice given by YVR Cockroach: You will want to take the Septa train (R1 line) that leaves every thirty minutes from the airport for a 20 minute ride to 30th street station (the third stop).
At 30th street station you have a choice: the fast, comfortable route, or the slow cheap route.
The fastest and most expensive, but most luxurious is to take the Amtrak Acela express to New York Penn Station. Expect to pay anywhere from $86.00 to $150.00 for a one way ticket. Trip will take just a bit over an hour. The trains are sleek and modern with lots of legroom and comfortable seats.
Slightly less expensive is to take the slower (but still fast) Amtrak Regional or the Amtrak Keystone line. These trains are still very comfortable and get you there in about 80 - 90 minutes. Expect to pay between $45.00 and $77.00 for a coach ticket (business class an extra $23.00).
Both the Acela and the Regional trains have cafe cars, so you can sip on a cocktail or two during the journey (no cafe car on the Keystone trains). All of the Amtrak trains are reserved seating (but no specific seat assignment). These trains don't offer checked baggage but you can check bags, they just won't travel with you, you'll have to pick them up later on. Unless you have tons of big heavy bags, you should be ok with just bringing them on the train.
If money is no object, you can even travel first class on the Acela and get hot meal service at your seat.
You can also upgrade to business class on the Regional, which will get you more legroom, a usually less crowded car, free soft drinks from the cafe and a free New York Times (if they haven't all been snatched already).
You can read more about Amtrak travel on the Amtrak forum of FT
The Cheapest route is to take the local Septa R7 Trenton line to Trenton and then transfer to a New Jersey Transit local train to take you to New York. The one way Septa ticket is $8.00 and the one way NJT ticket is (I think) $9.75. The trip will take about 2.5 hours or a little more if you have a longer wait in Trenton for your connection. The trains aren't horrible (the NJT has newer trains that are better than Septa), but you will be a bit sore by the time you reach New York.
Apr 23, 09, 6:22 am
thanks to you both - these responses give enough information to allow me to research the rest!
I wouldn't say the money is no object, but the budget will cover one of the Amtrak options, so I can plan on that.
And I wouldn't say that I have tons of luggage, but I will have enough that I will not want to schelp it along. (to be honest, I NEvEr schlep :o )
Apr 23, 09, 8:38 am
You should definitely check with Amtrak or someone over on the Amtrak forum regarding checking your bags. I've never checked bags on Amtrak. I know that the daytime Regional and Acela trains do not offer checked bag service. So if you want to check bags they will be tagged and Amtrak will hold onto them until one of the long distance trains comes through; your bags will "hitch a ride" on one of these trains and then you have to pick them up at some point in NYP.
The timing of this would depend on the long distance train schedules.
Apr 23, 09, 10:42 am
I have never ridden a train - but have a meeting in PHL; followed by one in Manhatten - so thought this might be the time to try it. The meeting in PHL is at the airport Renaissance, and I can get a cab from GCentral to the NY location. I need to leave when the PHL meeting is over (3PM); the NYC meeting is not until the next day.You've gotten good advice regarding what trains to take from Philly to NYC. Let me help you regarding your New York portion of your trip. Please note that Amtrak does not go to Grand Central Terminal from Philly. It goes to Penn Station so you can take a taxi from Penn to your meeting or take the subway if it is quicker.
Apr 23, 09, 7:42 pm
Do note that the airport Renaissance is not actually ~on~ the airport property. So you would need to get yourself to the airport in order take the R1 to 30th street. Now, I'm sure the Ren has an airport shuttle. Or for about $30 you could take a cab to the 30th street.
As for luggage and Amtrak, how many bags are you planning on bringing?
Apr 24, 09, 9:16 pm
Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry8703e/4.1.0 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/104)
Also, keep in mind that Amtrak offers free, en route stopovers of less than 24 hours on a trip. So if your meeting in Manhattan will only last a couple of hours, and you then plan to return home immediately on Amtrak, you might save some money by using the "multi-city" option to book your trip (PHL-NYP-home).
Apr 25, 09, 7:25 am
And I wouldn't say that I have tons of luggage, but I will have enough that I will not want to schelp it along.
Prepare to shlep. You won't be checking bags on Amtrak. You can get a redcap to ferry your bags on a cart from the 30th St. Station waiting room to the train if you like, and another one to ferry them from the train platform at Penn Station to the taxi line, but that's it. On the way from the PHL hotel to the SEPTA platform, on the SEPTA train, and from the SEPTA train platform to the Amtrak waiting room at 30th St., you're on your own. Don't overload yourself, because there's really no option for assistance with baggage on much of your trip. If you really want the assistance, then you're probably better off just hiring a limo to take you from the PHL hotel all the way to your meeting in NY. You're going to be doing a lot of shlepping if you go the rail route.
Now, I'm sure the Ren has an airport shuttle.
Apr 26, 09, 6:10 pm
Thank you everyone. I appreciate the assistance. Unfortunately, I will have several bags (with materials needed for the meetings) so I think I am going to have to re-think my train adventure....
May 30, 09, 11:56 am
I am probably too late to this thread to be of any help, but I am pretty sure that several Amtrak trains per day do offer checked baggage service between Philadephia and New York (and as someone said, that would be to Penn Station, not Grand Central). They are generally long-distance trains from the southeast so they are more delay-prone and not too frequent, instead of the generally more punctual Acela or Northeast Regional trains which run very frequently, but I think they do exist. Check Amtrak's website or give it a call.
Going from Philadelphia to New York, there is no question that Amtrak is the best option, so it would be worth a little research.