any advice for getting from Nashville to Philadelphia?

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Hey gang! It's my first post, so please be gentle.


I'm going on a trip to Nashville, TN, and I'm wondering if anyone has any advice on getting back home to Philadelphia, preferably using AGR.

Some considerations and extra info:

  • I'm getting to Nashville by combination of Megabus and Amtrak, with a stop in St. Louis for a few days. Gonna get a roomette between Pittsburgh and Chicago, so that trip won't be too bad. And then I'm gonna Amtrak it down to Memphis, TN, and then Megabus it from Memphis to Nashville.
  • I have plenty of AGR points. =)
  • Going through Chicago is just too long of a trip for me.
  • I'm currently thinking about either flying (~$150) or Megabus'ing it to Louisville, KY and then Amtraking it from there.

Any advice, tips, suggestions, etc. would be greatly appreciated!

Link to a map I made from the Amtrak route atlas
 
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fairviewroad

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Welcome to Amtrak Unlimited! Looks like you have a sense of adventure, because you certainly aren't choosing

the quickest and most obvious option, which is simply to hop on one of the many non-stop flights between

Nashville and Philly. If you were paying cash for your trip, this would likely be cheaper than most bus/train combos,

though if you're using AGR points than that changes things. I assume you already know this, and are deliberately

looking for a reason to ride the train. Certainly makes sense to most on here!

One note: If you do fly to Louisville, you won't be able to catch an Amtrak train there.
 

fairviewroad

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One note: If you do fly to Louisville, you won't be able to catch an Amtrak train there.
No, but there's still a Thruway Motorcoach connection to the Cardinal/Hoosier State.
You're right. I was getting the OP's direction of travel mixed up. Looks like from Louisville

to Philly, you'd have a 2 hour bus ride to Indy, with a 3-hour layover to the eastbound Cardinal

which would take him right to Philly. Not a bad option, but only if the OP's day of travel lines

up with one of the 3 days that the Cardinal is running.

Otherwise, from Louisville you'd have a 2 hour ride to Indy with an overnight layover to catch

the Hoosier State up to Chicago, or a 6-hour ride from Louisville to Chicago to catch the Capitol

Limited. Neither of those is very appealing, if you ask me.
 

Notelvis

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You may want to take a look at catching a bus from Nashville to Birmingham, AL and catching the Crescent there. That would likely be a 60 minute (or more) shorter bus ride.
 

Swadian Hardcore

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You may want to take a look at catching a bus from Nashville to Birmingham, AL and catching the Crescent there. That would likely be a 60 minute (or more) shorter bus ride.
That would be an option, too, but the BHM station is a lot worse than the ATL one. I would also consider taking a bus to CIN and then the Cardinal to PHL if you can find a open Roomette on that train.
 
N

Nathanael

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Bus from Nashville to Atlanta / Crescent to Philly seems like by far the "cleanest" route. Bus Nashville to Cincy / Cardinal to Philly might work but it's more likely to run into scheduling problems.
 

RampWidget

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Don't overlook Southwest from Nashville; they regularly have $69.-$99. airfares one-way BNA/GSP, BNA/RDU, & BNA/JAX.

BNA/BHM & BNA/MSY fares are cheap, too, but would require an overnight stay to catch your train.

You could connect to Crescent from GSP, BHM, or MSY; Silver Star from RDU, and either Silver from Jax.
 

Crescent ATN & TCL

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Don't overlook Southwest from Nashville; they regularly have $69.-$99. airfares one-way BNA/GSP, BNA/RDU, & BNA/JAX.

BNA/BHM & BNA/MSY fares are cheap, too, but would require an overnight stay to catch your train.

You could connect to Crescent from GSP, BHM, or MSY; Silver Star from RDU, and either Silver from Jax.
If you want to avoid the bus, then fly to ATL and take MARTA from the airport to the train station. It would involve a transfer from MARTA rail to MARTA bus, there are announcements for the transfer. Either way ATL to PHL is a one zone reward, however anywhere south of ATL will be 2 zones.
 

Notelvis

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Don't overlook Southwest from Nashville; they regularly have $69.-$99. airfares one-way BNA/GSP, BNA/RDU, & BNA/JAX.

BNA/BHM & BNA/MSY fares are cheap, too, but would require an overnight stay to catch your train.

You could connect to Crescent from GSP, BHM, or MSY; Silver Star from RDU, and either Silver from Jax.
GSP is a great little airport (just 90 minutes driving for me) and I am delighted that Southwest Airlines is serving GSP for the next time I need to get a quick flight to Baltimore or Chicago for some train riding.

I would caution that it's a long cab ride into downtown Greenville however. Cab fare would run $35.00 or higher and there is no local mass transit going out to the airport. I discovered these things trying to work GSP into a trip itinerary last fall. Ultimately I wound up doing the plane to train thing in Atlanta where the mass transit system can get you from the airport to the train station...... and at more people-friendly hours.
 

RampWidget

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[

If you want to avoid the bus, then fly to ATL and take MARTA from the airport to the train station. It would involve a transfer from MARTA rail to MARTA bus, there are announcements for the transfer. Either way ATL to PHL is a one zone reward, however anywhere south of ATL will be 2 zones.
You're absolutely correct. I overlooked that ATL is the zone point on the Crescent route.

One issue with flying from BNA to ATL is that Delta is the only carrier with much skin in the game. Southwest has not begun publishing scheduled service BNA/ATL, and their merger partner AirTran does not serve BNA at all.

AA used to serve BNA/ATL, but that was many years ago. Your chances of finding a good fare BNA/ATL aren't impossible, just a bit more of a challenge!
 

MattW

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A few people hinted at MARTA from the airport, but you'll also have to take MARTA from where Megabus or Greyhound drops off. They both drop off right at MARTA stations. From either station, take any northbound train to the Arts Center MARTA station (if you reappear above ground, you've ridden too far). Then take the 110 bus northbound, the Amtrak station is on your left immediately after crossing over the Interstate (I-85).
 

Swadian Hardcore

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Don't overlook Southwest from Nashville; they regularly have $69.-$99. airfares one-way BNA/GSP, BNA/RDU, & BNA/JAX.

BNA/BHM & BNA/MSY fares are cheap, too, but would require an overnight stay to catch your train.

You could connect to Crescent from GSP, BHM, or MSY; Silver Star from RDU, and either Silver from Jax.
Except that Southwest is not cheap at all these days. Recently I have never found Southwest fares that are cheaper than those of a legacy, there are ones for the same price. Just what I've seen, you may have seen differently.

I think that if the OP were to fly to ATL, he would have just flown all the way to PHL anyway. I think that he is determined to get to PHL on the ground, all the way. That's why he wnats to take a bus.
 
C

Ctim2

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One option would be Megabus to Atlanta, then the Crescent to Philadelphia.
I didn't notice that! That's actually a pretty good option. It's only a 5-hour bus ride, which is doable (I start to go crazy after 8 hours on a bus
). And then 16 hours to Philadelphia, which shouldn't be too bad in a roomette.

I just hope heat restrictions don't take into effect, but the long-term forecast for the late summer for the East Coast is cooler than average.
I think that Nashville to Atlanta would work out best. My family lives in Knoxville, TN and I often go Knoxville to Atlanta (and the reverse) and grab the Crescent without any issues headed to New York and Connecticut. The crescent's Northbound evening departure and Southbound arrival is perfect for this kind of travel option.

Tim
 

RampWidget

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Don't overlook Southwest from Nashville; they regularly have $69.-$99. airfares one-way BNA/GSP, BNA/RDU, & BNA/JAX.

BNA/BHM & BNA/MSY fares are cheap, too, but would require an overnight stay to catch your train.

You could connect to Crescent from GSP, BHM, or MSY; Silver Star from RDU, and either Silver from Jax.
Except that Southwest is not cheap at all these days. Recently I have never found Southwest fares that are cheaper than those of a legacy, there are ones for the same price. Just what I've seen, you may have seen differently.

I think that if the OP were to fly to ATL, he would have just flown all the way to PHL anyway. I think that he is determined to get to PHL on the ground, all the way. That's why he wnats to take a bus.
I did see differently. Notice the fares on the first line of my post? I didn't just pull them from some dark orifice, they came straight from WN's Web site. Not to mention the fact that I fly regularly into and out of BNA on not just WN, but also DL and AA.
 

cirdan

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A few people hinted at MARTA from the airport, but you'll also have to take MARTA from where Megabus or Greyhound drops off. They both drop off right at MARTA stations. From either station, take any northbound train to the Arts Center MARTA station (if you reappear above ground, you've ridden too far). Then take the 110 bus northbound, the Amtrak station is on your left immediately after crossing over the Interstate (I-85).
I agree. I did this some years back and was surprised how painless and easy it was. The Amtrak station is on the left hand side of the road immediately after said bridge.

Also remember the 110 bus parallels the MARTA metro line for some distance and passes close to most of the major attractions in Atlanta. I'm not sure where Greyhound drops you off but it wouldn't surprise me if it's somewhere on that route, so you can maybe ride the bus all the way.
 

Swadian Hardcore

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Don't overlook Southwest from Nashville; they regularly have $69.-$99. airfares one-way BNA/GSP, BNA/RDU, & BNA/JAX.

BNA/BHM & BNA/MSY fares are cheap, too, but would require an overnight stay to catch your train.

You could connect to Crescent from GSP, BHM, or MSY; Silver Star from RDU, and either Silver from Jax.
Except that Southwest is not cheap at all these days. Recently I have never found Southwest fares that are cheaper than those of a legacy, there are ones for the same price. Just what I've seen, you may have seen differently.

I think that if the OP were to fly to ATL, he would have just flown all the way to PHL anyway. I think that he is determined to get to PHL on the ground, all the way. That's why he wants to take a bus.
I did see differently. Notice the fares on the first line of my post? I didn't just pull them from some dark orifice, they came straight from WN's Web site. Not to mention the fact that I fly regularly into and out of BNA on not just WN, but also DL and AA.
I saw, those fares, what I mean is that DL can usually match them, and the bus will still be far cheaper. For how bad Southwest 737s are and how not-so-bad Greyhounds are, IMHO, I would take the bus. Besides, as I said, the OP probably does not cares about flights anyway.

edit: error
 
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RampWidget

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Don't overlook Southwest from Nashville; they regularly have $69.-$99. airfares one-way BNA/GSP, BNA/RDU, & BNA/JAX.

BNA/BHM & BNA/MSY fares are cheap, too, but would require an overnight stay to catch your train.

You could connect to Crescent from GSP, BHM, or MSY; Silver Star from RDU, and either Silver from Jax.
Except that Southwest is not cheap at all these days. Recently I have never found Southwest fares that are cheaper than those of a legacy, there are ones for the same price. Just what I've seen, you may have seen differently.

I think that if the OP were to fly to ATL, he would have just flown all the way to PHL anyway. I think that he is determined to get to PHL on the ground, all the way. That's why he wants to take a bus.
I did see differently. Notice the fares on the first line of my post? I didn't just pull them from some dark orifice, they came straight from WN's Web site. Not to mention the fact that I fly regularly into and out of BNA on not just WN, but also DL and AA.
I saw, those fares, what I mean is that DL can usually match them, and the bus will still be far cheaper. For how bad Southwest 737s are and how now-so-bad Greyhounds are, IMHO, I would take the bus. Besides, as I said, the OP probably does not cares about flights anyway.
True. Swadian, you were (and are) constructively adding to this thread, and I apologize to you, the other members, and guests for my extremely rude answer to your earlier post. I've enjoyed your contributions to AU and look forward to continuing to do so.
 

Swadian Hardcore

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I saw those fares, what I mean is that DL can usually match them, and the bus will still be far cheaper. For how bad Southwest 737s are and how not-so-bad Greyhounds are, IMHO, I would take the bus. Besides, as I said, the OP probably does not care about flights anyway.
True. Swadian, you were (and are) constructively adding to this thread, and I apologize to you, the other members, and guests for my extremely rude answer to your earlier post. I've enjoyed your contributions to AU and look forward to continuing to do so.
It's okay, no big deal. After all, I can't get too mad over the Internet, dosen't help much.
 

justinslot

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Hope nobody minds if I bump this thread as I, too, need to get from Philadelphia to Nashville and back on occasion, as I do two or three business trips a year and Nashville for whatever reason is a popular conference location. Let me say at the beginning that I think the "best" way to get to an off-the-Amtrak-grid city like Nashville would be some combination of shortest drive, ease of renting a car to get there (I do not want to take a bus), expense, and departure/arrival times.

Here are the ways I have gone to, or departed from, Nashville in the past:

Memphis. Three hour drive, but long, long layover in Chicago. Two train journey = more expensive.

Indianapolis. Doable drive (and I broke up the trip with a stop at the Horseshoe casino by Louisville) but the times stink (arrive at 5 AM, leave at midnight, and that station is awful.)

Atlanta. Doable drive. Have to fight Atlanta traffic on the way back. Times aren't awful (8 AM, 8 PM.)

So this year I have another conference in Nashville, and I'm doing my research again, and I'm thinking...why not Birmingham? The shortest drive of any of these places (under three hours, says Google.) The times are ideal--arrive at noon, leave at 2:30 PM. The station may be crappy but a crappy station during the day is far preferable to a crappy station at night (looking at you, Indianapolis.) There's a Hertz place a mile away. Is there anything I'm missing here--any drawbacks I haven't considered?
 

merkelman06

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Birmingham has a brand new station now with Amtrak and Greyhound under one roof. The old underground station is no more. 
 

justinslot

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Birmingham has a brand new station now with Amtrak and Greyhound under one roof. The old underground station is no more. 
So it's not even a crappy station any more? This really does seem like the best way to get to Nashville from where I am.
 

Anthony V

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So it's not even a crappy station any more? This really does seem like the best way to get to Nashville from where I am.
They've been trying to start a Birmingham-Nashville Thruway Motorcoach ever since the new station opened, but it's run into problems due to poor timekeeping of the Crescent and Greyhound's shortage of drivers.
 
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