DC to NC Qs

Old Dec 7, 18, 1:05 pm
  #1  
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DC to NC Qs

I'm looking at a weekend trip for me and Mrs dwcatty to DC in March, '19, flying up and taking the train back. I used to drive from NC to DC but (do I need to finish this sentence?) The timing of the 91, Silver Star, would work really well for us coming back on a Monday, particularly as we will be in the Union Station area that morning. Is it generally on time to NC? We'd be going to Raleigh or Cary.

Are there any coupons or promo codes available? I am a Flyertalker, lol.

I am not a member of the frequent rider program; is there any benefit to joining? I don't know when we would be riding again. If I join can someone get points for referring me? I saw the referral thread, but didn't quite grok it, hope I'm not breaking a rule by asking about it in this post.

Thanks all.
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Old Dec 7, 18, 3:11 pm
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I ride DC to NC round trip 3-4 times a year. The Silver Star has pretty poor on-time performance records, but a lot of the delays are south of NC. You can pull the most recent week's data from Amtrak's website; it looks like pulling into Cary, the train varied between about 10 minutes early and about 40 minutes late. My general approach to Amtrak is that if I arrive within an hour of schedule, it counts as on-time. Set your expectations appropriately and you'll be much less stressed.

Amtrak currently has a "book two people into a roomette for the price of one" sale going; taking a roomette from DC to NC seems sort of silly to me, but if you've never done it before and want a new experience, you could look at the prices for that. Coach for two will be cheaper, though. That's the only promo I know of currently.

Amtrak points expire after 36 months of no activity, so you've got a while to plan your next trip.
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Old Dec 9, 18, 12:05 pm
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I would book a roomette. Itís quiet, you get lounge access and priority boarding and meals are included on some trains (but not the Silver Star).
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Old Dec 9, 18, 12:15 pm
  #4  
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I've found this site to be useful when searching for Amtrak discounts:

https://www.railserve.com/amtrak_coupons.html
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Old Mar 7, 19, 10:40 am
  #5  
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Just to follow up on my own questions, we had a really nice experience on the train this week from Washington to Cary, NC. The train was on time, it was clean, comfortable and for us the timing was ideal. A woman (not a conductor, not sure her title) named Margie I think was extremely courteous and helpful with seating, instructions and information.

I used commuter trains growing up but haven't taken a trip like this for years. We found the six hours on this train passed quickly. There was a ton of room at our seats, we had packed a picnic supper that we enjoyed, and there were outlets to recharge our electronics.

We could have flown for twice the cost and half the time, but the hassles and aggravations of air travel are just so annoying. Ultimately we got home an hour and a half later than if we had flown, but we were able to walk to the station and not Uber, taxi or Metro to the airport, we didn't have to go through security, and we had SO much room in the seats. Not only was it painless, it was enjoyable.
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Old Mar 10, 19, 6:44 am
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A roomette for a short, daytime trip for two people is a really nice way to travel. I just got back to TPA from a week in FLL with my husband yesterday in a roomette on the southernmost part of the Silver Star (about five hours each way), and it was really enjoyable. The free WiFi helps - other half got a lot of work done, and I made my way through an on-line language lesson. (We also made it through a bottle of wine we brought - I think you can only BYO in the sleepers, not coach, on Amtrak.) And the Tampa station is literally like two blocks from our home so we could walk to it.

As ambyr said, just assume you will be a couple hours late and you'll be fine. We were about an hour late TPA-FLL, and 30 mins late returning, which is definitely a win by Amtrak standards (unfortunately).

It's not fast, but very relaxing - I felt much better afterwards than I do after a drive across Alligator Alley or dealing with air travel hassles.
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