seeking tips Acela PVD to NYP

Old Aug 4, 17, 10:32 am
  #1  
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seeking tips Acela PVD to NYP

I'm traveling round trip PVD to NYP in a couple weeks in First Class on the Acela, and would appreciate any tips and help you all can provide on negotiating and navigating the stations. I only go by train about once a year, and find it confusing every time.

My first question is: am I guaranteed a seat? I've had to stand often on past Acela trips, and I'm wondering if First solves this. It would be great to have no pressure to fight the crowds to get to the train ASAP when it arrives.

Track assignment scrum: Particularly in NYP, I hate the silly scrum to get to the right track, which is assigned at the last minute. I found this:
http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/...ng_secret.html
Is that still good advice? What is the official name of that intermediate level with the green monitors? Is it "Lower Level"? Anything else you can suggest?

At NYP, what tracks would a Northbound Acela be on? (So at least I can narrow down my options). For instance, is it only going to be 7 or 8, which share the same platform? Or is it not that easy...

Regarding PVD and NYP, which end of the train has the First Class car(s)? And therefore, which way do I want to go when I get on the tracks? (Even in PVD, I always get confused as to which way is southbound, and often go to the wrong end of the train.)

And thanks to Mod for referring this several years ago: http://jasongibbs.com/pennstation/
it's incredibly helpful.

Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old Aug 4, 17, 11:46 am
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Originally Posted by bh22 View Post
I'm traveling round trip PVD to NYP in a couple weeks in First Class on the Acela, and would appreciate any tips and help you all can provide on negotiating and navigating the stations. I only go by train about once a year, and find it confusing every time.
No problem, been riding the Acela/Northeast Regional for ~10 years now 1-2x a month, definitely the best option to get down to NYC.

Originally Posted by bh22 View Post

My first question is: am I guaranteed a seat? I've had to stand often on past Acela trips, and I'm wondering if First solves this. It would be great to have no pressure to fight the crowds to get to the train ASAP when it arrives.
Nearly Amtrak train (including the Acela) has "Reserved seats" which simply means you are guaranteed seats. They do not overbook the Acela and while there's a good chance every seat is taken, there should not be anyone standing on the train (save an extraordinary irrops situation). This applies both to First Class and Business/Coach.

Originally Posted by bh22 View Post
Track assignment scrum: Particularly in NYP, I hate the silly scrum to get to the right track, which is assigned at the last minute. I found this:
http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/...ng_secret.html
Is that still good advice? What is the official name of that intermediate level with the green monitors? Is it "Lower Level"? Anything else you can suggest?
Providence will be simple, the Acela uses 1 platform at PVD, tracks 1/2. Unfortunately you may not have a great selection of seats, as a lot of people get on up in Boston. If you're close to the Route 128 station (half way between Boston and Providence), you'll definitely get a better seat.

At NYP, if you're in F, you can get the track assignment in advance by waiting in the Club Acela. This should get you towards the front of the line to board and a single seat.

If you weren't in F, I would recommend boarding from the lower level of NYP which still works. In the center of the Amtrak 8th Ave concourse, you'll see 2 sets of stairs which bring you to the lower level and has no barrier to just hopping on the train with no monster line.

Originally Posted by bh22 View Post

At NYP, what tracks would a Northbound Acela be on? (So at least I can narrow down my options). For instance, is it only going to be 7 or 8, which share the same platform? Or is it not that easy...

The acela will be on Tracks 5-15 at NYP. This narrows it down somewhat, but it's anyone's guess which of the tracks it will be on. They are doing emergency repairs at NYP and have 2 tracks closed, not sure which ones they are working on now.

Originally Posted by bh22 View Post

Regarding PVD and NYP, which end of the train has the First Class car(s)? And therefore, which way do I want to go when I get on the tracks? (Even in PVD, I always get confused as to which way is southbound, and often go to the wrong end of the train.)
They typically try and put FC at the rear of the train, although it does vary. In Providence, they should announce what end FC is, or you can ask the ticket agent when you get to the station.

If you can't get a definitive answer, stand in the middle. The acela is only a 6 car train and it's only a 2 minute walk to either end from the middle.
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Old Aug 4, 17, 11:55 am
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Originally Posted by hi55us View Post
No problem, been riding the Acela/Northeast Regional for ~10 years now 1-2x a month, definitely the best option to get down to NYC.
Thanks for all this great advice!
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Old Aug 4, 17, 9:06 pm
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Originally Posted by hi55us View Post

They typically try and put FC at the rear of the train, although it does vary. In Providence, they should announce what end FC is, or you can ask the ticket agent when you get to the station.

If you can't get a definitive answer, stand in the middle. The acela is only a 6 car train and it's only a 2 minute walk to either end from the middle.
I was just in Providence this afternoon waiting for a commuter rail train and when northbound Acela pulled in around 4:25, I noticed the train set had FC at the front of the train.

Providence also has a staffed baggage office, so that's another source to check on which end FC is in case there's a line at ticketing.
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Old Aug 5, 17, 8:43 am
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I thought Acela trains rarely turned around, so the first class car would almost always be at the north (or south, I don't know, but the ImprovGal saw it at the north) end of the train, regardless of the direction of travel. Can anyone confirm or deny my understanding?
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Old Aug 5, 17, 2:20 pm
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Originally Posted by serpens View Post
I thought Acela trains rarely turned around, so the first class car would almost always be at the north (or south, I don't know, but the ImprovGal saw it at the north) end of the train, regardless of the direction of travel. Can anyone confirm or deny my understanding?
Most Acela trainsets have First and Quiet at north end of the train, but not all.
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Old Aug 5, 17, 4:25 pm
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In FC you will have no issue getting a seat. I've only seen it 80-90% capacity usually at the end of the workday. If it's a morning train, it will likely be much emptier. Justifying the premium price is easier when you can get it back in drinks.

They *shouldn't* oversell any trains. When seating is tight, normally you just have to directly tell someone move their s--- and that's that.

Another option for knowing the track out of NYP is checking the Arrivals screens. There are a couple in the corners along 8th Ave by escalators. This also only works for trains that originated in DC (not sure which one you're taking). They'll disappear a few minutes after arrival but since a train can't switch tracks, it gives you the track # for when you are closer to departure.
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Old Aug 8, 17, 3:00 pm
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At the PVD train station, you can ask them what

In NYP, go to ClubAcela (which you have access to in F) and ask for a red cap. They will take you to the track ahead of everyone else - not only guaranteeing a seat, but guaranteeing you can get the best seat - which in my recommendation is a single seat if you are traveling solo
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Old Aug 9, 17, 1:00 pm
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Originally Posted by serpens View Post
I thought Acela trains rarely turned around, so the first class car would almost always be at the north (or south, I don't know, but the ImprovGal saw it at the north) end of the train, regardless of the direction of travel. Can anyone confirm or deny my understanding?
In Boston & DC, Acela trainsets are generally not turned around. The cleaning crews will turn some of the seats around, but that's it.

However, every train that terminates in NY City has no choice but to be turned around. When the train leaves NYP on it's way to the yard in Queens, the only way into the yard is to go around a loop track. Therefore the train is automatically turned around.

It is for that reason that one simply cannot predict where the FC car will be, head end or trailing.
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Old Aug 10, 17, 7:40 am
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Thanks for the correction, AlanB!
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Old Aug 15, 17, 5:19 pm
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Originally Posted by AlanB View Post
In Boston & DC, Acela trainsets are generally not turned around. The cleaning crews will turn some of the seats around, but that's it.

However, every train that terminates in NY City has no choice but to be turned around. When the train leaves NYP on it's way to the yard in Queens, the only way into the yard is to go around a loop track. Therefore the train is automatically turned around.

It is for that reason that one simply cannot predict where the FC car will be, head end or trailing.
Is there any reason that a train leaving the yard can't go back around the loop track and thus keep its orientation the same?

It would probably be operationally less confusing to have it such that the FC car is always on the south end of the train. But expecting Amtrak to actually create and stick to any kind of logical procedure, even if not that difficult, is probably not realistic.
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Old Aug 17, 17, 4:55 pm
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Originally Posted by jackal View Post
Is there any reason that a train leaving the yard can't go back around the loop track and thus keep its orientation the same?
Technically it is possible, and on rare occasions there has been times where a train went into, or out of, Sunnyside yard orientated in the same direction in which it arrived. On the weekend when things are much slower, I have wrong railed on trains coming out of NYP and we could have run right into the yard without going around the loop track. But that is rare and generally speaking not practical.

As a practical matter it would wreck havoc on the dispatcher at PSCC and create massive delays to trains, especially during rush hour. There are 4 tunnels/tracks between Queens & Penn Station. During normal operations two of the tunnels are used for trains inbound to NYP and two are used for the trains outbound from NYP.

A train running back around the loop track would find itself facing outbound traffic with no way to cross over all the various tracks (which would also be very disruptive even if it were actually possible) to reach the inbound tunnels. Therefore a dispatcher would have to hold outbound trains on one track in order to get that train into NYP.

Originally Posted by jackal View Post
It would probably be operationally less confusing to have it such that the FC car is always on the south end of the train. But expecting Amtrak to actually create and stick to any kind of logical procedure, even if not that difficult, is probably not realistic.
Yes, it might be nice, but alas it is simply not possible.

Besides, all one has to do is pay attention announcements, which generally do tell you where the FC car is. Additionally, the overhead signs on all platforms served by Acela's all tell you if where you are standing will see a BC car or the FC car.
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Old Jul 25, 19, 8:33 am
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Hi All:

Looks like I will need to do some work travel to PVD; I live in NYC. My firm will pay for Business Class; I was wondering if there's any reason (other than schedule), I might want to consider taking the NE Regional over the Acela. I'll likely be travelling NYP-PVD on a weeknight after work and PVD-NYP during off-peak hours.

Thanks!
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Old Jul 25, 19, 9:09 am
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Originally Posted by FlyinHawaiian View Post
Hi All:

Looks like I will need to do some work travel to PVD; I live in NYC. My firm will pay for Business Class; I was wondering if there's any reason (other than schedule), I might want to consider taking the NE Regional over the Acela. I'll likely be travelling NYP-PVD on a weeknight after work and PVD-NYP during off-peak hours.

Thanks!
Only price or schedule. NE Regional will take longer and in my experience, more of a chance for a delay. Will your firm pay for F on the Acela?

Business class on the NE regional is a very nominal benefit, while F on the Acela is much different than regular Acela or anything on the NE Regional
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Old Jul 25, 19, 3:52 pm
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Thanks; I rode in Business on the NE Regional NYP-WAS a few months ago and it was ok. I've done Acela Business a few times and was generally underwhelmed. Just seeing if I was missing something, experience-wise.

Originally Posted by uppereastsider View Post
Will your firm pay for F on the Acela?
Sadly, no, but I suppose I can upfare on my own if the price isn't too hefty.
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