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TR: New York to Boston, Amtrak Acela, First Class

TR: New York to Boston, Amtrak Acela, First Class

Old Sep 10, 08, 7:28 am
  #1  
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TR: New York to Boston, Amtrak Acela, First Class

My Amtrak trip from New York to Boston was one I was really looking forward to... the cost was $150.00 or so (75.00 in real money ) so fantastic value...

A sunny and hot day in New York, and a hopefully lovely trip in Acela First Class...

Reached Penn Station in plenty of time, thanks to a limo transfer from the St. Regis and found the ticket collection system excellent. Much better than the machines in the UK. Found the lounge, which was empty, and settled down, managing to charge my camera, get a cup of coffee and a big Danish pastry. The lounge was nice enough, but didn't seem to offer that big a range of snacks.





Our train was called, Service 2158 to Boston, 1203hrs so made our way to the track. Carrying our cases to the train is par for the course over here, but I was told that it's unusual for Amtrak...

...on reaching the track there was an instant blast of uncomfortable heat and a terrible smell... a bit like rotting fish. Not pleasant at all. Although New York was a bit like that...

First class was at the back of the train and was quite a walk. I was annoyed by the fact that seat numbers were not pre-assigned, so the table seats (ie: two seats facing another two with a table in the middle) where all taken up by single travellers who had spread out. That said, the leg room in the airline style seats was amazing, so it wasn't such a big deal. The air con was lovely and the carriage felt really roomy. I particulary liked the airline style overhead lockers.



Offered a drink before the train left, in a glass! And very generous servings. The staff were efficient, not overly friendly, but nice all the same. (Although one of the attendents let me take pictures at each station, which was great!)

The view from Hell Gate Bridge was amazing... I managed to capture a bit of it here


Then another ticket check, this time the conductor took my ticket and placed in a pouch on top of my seat, saying 'Your ticket is in the seat above your head, not in front of you, not across from you' which I couldn't understand or explain!

Then another vodka and coke! And a rather lovely meal. This was my third drink which was in a plastic cup, but all the others where in glass cups. Very nice ones too!


The bread roll was warm, the butter at room temperature and the beef very tasty. The only disappointment was the 'pudding' which was basically a mint chocolate. But that's small fry, as by now I was enjoying another vodka and coke!
In the UK, the only operator that includes meal in the price of a First Class ticket is Virgin Trains, who operate on the West Coast Mainline Line. Their food doesn't come close to this! (Eurostar do this too but I haven't travelled with them)

As I mentioned, the attendent let me take pictures at the stops so I got a few in, as well as pictures of the scenery en route which was gorgeous.









And finally to lovely Boston. New York was amazing, big, bold, unlovely but wonderful, Boston was just beautiful, and felt like a breath of fresh air compared to pressure cooker New York. But I can't wait to go back to both places.



And I would recommend Acela in an instant.
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Old Sep 10, 08, 8:11 am
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Thanks for that.
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Old Sep 10, 08, 11:43 am
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Thanks for the report.

We're taking an Amtrak train from San Diego to Los Angeles in October which I am quite looking forward to.

Was $14 each to upgrade to Business Class so am not expecting too much more than standard
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Old Sep 10, 08, 2:54 pm
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Thank you so much for the report on the Acela First Class. I am taking my son next Saturday on a round trip from Philadelphia to Washington DC in First Class, and he is so excited about the trip.

In Pacific Business Class on the Pacific Surfliner, in the morning there is a self serve set up of coffee and packaged danish and muffins. After 12:00PM, the car attendant will come around and offer your a choice of 1 drink (wine, water or a soda) and will distribute a small, pre-packaged snack bag. It contains chips and salsa, crackers and cheese, a cookie, trail mix and a breath mint. Other than that, you do have extra leg room. I always but the business class ticket because you have a reserved seat (not an assigned seat) on the train. This is imperative, especially when Del Mar is in season as I have seen many trains with "standing room" only all the way to Solana Beach.
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Old Sep 10, 08, 9:11 pm
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Thanks, great review on a product we don't often see trip reports about.
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Old Sep 10, 08, 11:30 pm
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Nice report - I've always wanted to try First Class on the Acela. I did Business Class several years ago and it was a rather nice ride - if I had lived on the South Shore of Boston instead of the North Shore, I'm sure I would have used Acela quite a bit more (hassle of parking at South Station/Back Bay wasn't worth it when it took just as long to get to BOS and it was a lot easier to manuever there than dealing with Downtown Boston). Now if I could have used Route 128 Station...
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Old Sep 11, 08, 3:52 am
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Thanks for the report. Yes, the Acela First Class service is great (though coming from a country where trans-city train service is both spotty and run-down, though winds through great scenery I may have low expectations!) But the seat was great, and just the general air of spaciousness.
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Old Sep 11, 08, 4:19 am
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Thanks for the excellent report. How long did the trip take?
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Old Sep 11, 08, 8:35 am
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City centre to city centre was 3 1/2 hours.
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Old Sep 11, 08, 9:16 am
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Originally Posted by Loose Cannon View Post
Thanks for the excellent report. How long did the trip take?
You took the words right out of my mouth.

Sounds like a really nice trip but not a bargain by any stretch.
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Old Sep 11, 08, 9:21 am
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I wish the U.S. would make it a priority to build this type of transportation (Acela-type trains in general, regardless of class of svc) throughout the country. Having frequent, reasonably priced and quick rail transportation available would really make life easier in many instances!
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Old Sep 11, 08, 10:29 am
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Thanks for the report. I think only train services in North America still provide meals for a short hop like that. In Europe and Japan, you get nada.
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Old Sep 11, 08, 11:42 am
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Originally Posted by BlissWorld View Post
Thanks for the report. I think only train services in North America still provide meals for a short hop like that. In Europe and Japan, you get nada.
Except the 2.5 hour London/Brussels/Paris on Eurostar, the East and West Coast Main Lines in the UK etc where you get complimentary food/drink.

Good to see you took the time to check your facts before a typical insular North American post!
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Old Sep 11, 08, 12:04 pm
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Originally Posted by BlissWorld View Post
Thanks for the report. I think only train services in North America still provide meals for a short hop like that. In Europe and Japan, you get nada.
You get food in first class in trains in Indonesia as well. Not very good food and certainly not booze, but complimentary food none the less.
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Old Sep 11, 08, 12:05 pm
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The service levels sound nice but given that the Acela is supposedly the "fast train" it would be nice if it was actually fast. NYC to Boston in 3.5 hours is barely averaging 60mph!
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