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Anyone do Amtrak mileage runs or joyrides?

Anyone do Amtrak mileage runs or joyrides?

Old Feb 7, 21, 10:29 am
  #1  
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Anyone do Amtrak mileage runs or joyrides?

There are plenty of people who fly around just for the miles, or just for the sake of flying. I've flown once to get the miles, but that's not something that I'd do for the pure enjoyment of it.

Are there people who take Amtrak either for mileage runs, or just for the sake of taking Amtrak? (Not the same thing as picking Amtrak over flying or driving; I mean taking an Amtrak train just to take a train, without actually "needing" to take the trip.)

I took the Acela Express recently and it was very nice. If there are people who take trains for no purpose other than to take a train, I could see doing that on the Acela.
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Old Feb 7, 21, 11:00 am
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Yes, there are certainly people who do this.

I know I certainly have.

Most of my long distance trips on Amtrak are simply for the sake of taking the train.

I find the Western Long Distance trains great for trips like this. Just spent a couple days in your sleeper/the dinning car, etc.

Each of the 3 times I have taken the train across the country (New York-Chicago-Emeryville, New York-Chicago-Los Angeles-Seattle, and New York-Washington-Chicago-Seattle) I have literally have simply gone from the train station to an airport hotel, and then flew back to New York the next day.

I also did a triangle trip New York-New Orleans spent 1 night in NOLA and the next morning took the train New Orleans-Chicago-Washington-New York. Again the main purpose was to ride the train.

Finally, when I rode New York to Miami it was a similar deal. Rode down spent one night in a hotel and the next day took the train back to New York.

I enjoy the experience on the long distance trains in a sleeper at least pre-COVID. It is a very relaxing way to spend a few days, and you get to see a lot of the US this way.

There are also other online forums that are more oriented to Amtrak travel where you will find people who are as passionate about AGR status as you'll find people here talking about their United status.

Additionally, there is another online community who hosts "RailFests" where the whole point is a group of folks travel long distance on Amtrak to new cities, and then spend the days riding the entirety of that cites transit systems.

Much like there are AvGeeks you can find Rail Fans.

I would actually say that I learned to love to travel for the sake of travel by taking trains first. Later on I started to realize that flying across the world for a couple of days isn't that much different.
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Old Feb 7, 21, 12:07 pm
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Although I haven't taken the train for a 'joyride', I've taken several trips where the train experience was my primary reason to travel. I've taken the Cardinal to DC several times for this reason, especially when Amtrak offers significant discounts for sleeper accommodations.

We also frequently choose our travel destinations based on the ability to take a LD train there. Due to time constraints, we typically fly one way, but would not have taken the trip if not for the train component. I have a trip scheduled in March that I still plan to take despite the Covid restrictions and terrible meals currently being served, but am hopeful things get more back to normal prior to our next trip at the end of August.

The reduced LD schedule is really making it difficult to find LD train accommodations when you want them and at an affordable. cost.
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Old Feb 7, 21, 12:25 pm
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I can't say I have ever taken Amtrak just for the miles or status. I did contemplate it once on VIA rail Canada, but in the end did not do it. I have done many airline mileage runs in the past, but gave this up when the majors stopped offering "mileage". The only case I could see anyone doing an Amtrak run would be if you are a business traveler in the NE corridor and are one trip away at the end of the year from top tier status.

I do enjoy train travel by sleeping car, so will do trips where the primary reason for the trip is to take the train. But I still do have a destination in mind and spend some time there. When I was in my 20s and still in school, I would just take the train and turn right around and come back, but once I hit the working world... just too time inefficient.

BobH in the next post brings up an interesting point. Taking a new route someplace just for the sake of it is something I would consider, but this is independent of any Amtrak rewards reasons. Also something that is not all that relevant for airlines... although I do recall a friend many years ago wanting to fly from Brazil to South Africa because it would look good on his big wall map of the world.
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Last edited by schriste; Feb 8, 21 at 2:35 pm
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Old Feb 8, 21, 9:19 am
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Originally Posted by WeekendTraveler View Post
There are plenty of people who fly around just for the miles, or just for the sake of flying. I've flown once to get the miles, but that's not something that I'd do for the pure enjoyment of it.

Are there people who take Amtrak either for mileage runs, or just for the sake of taking Amtrak? (Not the same thing as picking Amtrak over flying or driving; I mean taking an Amtrak train just to take a train, without actually "needing" to take the trip.)

I took the Acela Express recently and it was very nice. If there are people who take trains for no purpose other than to take a train, I could see doing that on the Acela.
Yes -- it's called mileage collecting and there are a lot of people who do it -- the objective is to ride not just all of Amtrak, but lines which are normally used by just freight trains.

This is often done by riding Amtrak detours or special excursions (which are currently rare due to the virus.)

Bob H
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Old Feb 9, 21, 2:20 am
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I flew from my home in Europe just to ride the San Francisco - Denver part of the California Zephyr and have booked flights for June to ride the Coast Starlight. Sadly, I can't see that happening but maybe later in the year.
I try to combine it with great C fares so I get to enjoy a great Fly & Rail
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