Amtrak holiday "extras"

Old Nov 9, 17, 5:24 am
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Amtrak holiday "extras"

Booking trip to visit friends for Thanksgiving on the NEC. Booked one of last remaining seats out of DC. Phew.

Noticed a four-digit train number which I thought was odd. Then saw an Amtrak press release which noted that Amtrak is adding holiday period "extra" segments on the NEC - using some rolling stock borrowed/leased from MARC and NJ transit.

How miserable is a 6 hour train ride going to be on one of these extras and what should I do in advance to minimize the pain?
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Old Nov 9, 17, 6:15 am
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Pretty miserable, from what people who've done it have told me.

Don't forget to pack all the drinks and snacks you think you might need.
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Old Nov 9, 17, 7:11 am
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Originally Posted by IADCAflyer View Post
How miserable is a 6 hour train ride going to be on one of these extras and what should I do in advance to minimize the pain?
I've done NYC-Philly on NJT/SEPTA thru Trenton (Change point) and it is no fun whatsoever and that is without holiday crowds but if you have to travel you have to travel.
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Old Nov 9, 17, 7:18 am
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Originally Posted by IADCAflyer View Post
How miserable is a 6 hour train ride going to be on one of these extras and what should I do in advance to minimize the pain?
Very. These cars are meant for <2 hour trips. If you can't change (keep checking back online):
  • Use the bathroom before getting on
  • Pack a snack if you need one
  • Get one of the seats on the side with 2 people not 3
  • Know that you will have no wifi. You MAY have a shared power outlet
  • Use an airline sized carry-on or duffel. If you need more luggage, bring 2 instead of 1 giant bag. Luggage space is only in the overhead rack. You'll see the aisle littered with big bags and the only upside is it can become your seat
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Old Nov 9, 17, 12:53 pm
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Originally Posted by IADCAflyer View Post

How miserable is a 6 hour train ride going to be on one of these extras and what should I do in advance to minimize the pain?
Rebook now.
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Old Nov 9, 17, 1:52 pm
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Not all holiday extras are commuter equipment. IIRC usually those have 10XX series train numbers.

There are usually some 11xx series extras, which run with Amtrak equipment. They're just extra trains not usually scheduled.

Where are you booked to/from? The commuter equipment usually only operates NYP-WAS, not up to Boston. You said 6 hours, that should mean you're going past NYC and you should be OK.

Edit info - Looks like the holiday timetable lists the commuter train extras as "Holiday Extra" and they only run NYC-WAS. There are many "Northeast Regional Extras" which will be normal Amtrak equipment.

Last edited by octr202; Nov 9, 17 at 1:57 pm Reason: Additional info
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Old Nov 10, 17, 4:55 am
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Originally Posted by octr202 View Post
Not all holiday extras are commuter equipment. IIRC usually those have 10XX series train numbers.

There are usually some 11xx series extras, which run with Amtrak equipment. They're just extra trains not usually scheduled.

Where are you booked to/from? The commuter equipment usually only operates NYP-WAS, not up to Boston. You said 6 hours, that should mean you're going past NYC and you should be OK.

Edit info - Looks like the holiday timetable lists the commuter train extras as "Holiday Extra" and they only run NYC-WAS. There are many "Northeast Regional Extras" which will be normal Amtrak equipment.
Up to New Haven - train 1136.
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Old Nov 10, 17, 5:43 am
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Keep looking. People cancel all the time.
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Old Nov 10, 17, 7:20 am
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Originally Posted by octr202 View Post
Not all holiday extras are commuter equipment. IIRC usually those have 10XX series train numbers.

There are usually some 11xx series extras, which run with Amtrak equipment. They're just extra trains not usually scheduled.

Where are you booked to/from? The commuter equipment usually only operates NYP-WAS, not up to Boston. You said 6 hours, that should mean you're going past NYC and you should be OK.

Edit info - Looks like the holiday timetable lists the commuter train extras as "Holiday Extra" and they only run NYC-WAS. There are many "Northeast Regional Extras" which will be normal Amtrak equipment.

NJT and MARC equipment was running up to New Haven last year or the year before (can't remember which) where the catenary ends for Metro North.
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Old Nov 10, 17, 7:53 am
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Originally Posted by ne52 View Post
NJT and MARC equipment was running up to New Haven last year or the year before (can't remember which) where the catenary ends for Metro North.
I believe they can't go beyond New Haven unless it is Amtrak power or Diesel.
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Old Nov 10, 17, 8:27 am
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The train I'm booked on continues to Boston - so I am going to assume its a regular Amtrak trainset.... /hopeful
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Old Nov 10, 17, 10:35 am
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If you look at the holiday timetable, the extras that will operate with commuter equipment will ONLY operate on Sunday after Thanksgiving, have a brown header, and will be missing the symbols for cafe car, quiet car, Business class, and Wifi.

Your train, 1136, will operate with regular Amtrak equipment.
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Old Nov 10, 17, 5:38 pm
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Looking at sample searches, the site seems pretty clear in explaining when the train is using Commuter Rail Equipment. When you click for more info, they explain all of its drawbacks.
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Old Nov 13, 17, 10:43 am
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Originally Posted by Brighton Line View Post
I believe they can't go beyond New Haven unless it is Amtrak power or Diesel.
MARC or NJT locomotive-hauled trains could run NHV-BOS (they can handle the voltage change and have the needed signalling equipment), but unlikely as:

A) Have not been officially clearance checked (especially the multi-level coaches)
B) Would be an excessively long ride on commuter cars, and,
C) Would likely take the equipment too far afield for Amtrak to easily get it back in place with the commuter roads for Monday morning.
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Old Nov 13, 17, 2:36 pm
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Thankfully, clearance isn't an issue. The multilevels are actually shorter in height (14'6") than the MBTA's bilevels (15'8"). (Fun Fact: The MBTA's bilevels are too tall to fit in the tunnels into Penn Station. The multilevels were designed with this clearance in mind) Multilevels are cleared into New Haven, and everything east of New Haven has a higher clearance than that.

Your other two points are probably the reasons why.
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