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How far in advance do I need to book my car and sleeper cabin on the auto trai from Lorton va to Sanford fl
Depends on the time of year and direction. Earlier is always better price wise. But at certain times of year in certain directions you can theoretically buy the day of. School vacations including pretty much all summer are busy both directions usually and in snow bird season south is busy and fall and north is busy in spring. So if you’re booking during the busy times as early as you can.
 

b243923

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Book as soon as you know your travel plans,

Keep checking prices and if it drops call Amtrak and ask for a price adjustment. They will either credit your credit card or issue you an E-credit for the difference. I do that all the time.
 

Stremba

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As long as there is availability on the train you want, you can book just about any time. You do risk having your train sell out and probably will pay a higher fare with a last minute booking. Amtrak fares change over time, but the consensus on here seems to be booking about five months out will generally give the cheapest fares.
 

zephyr17

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Amtrak fares change over time, but the consensus on here seems to be booking about five months out will generally give the cheapest fares.
The 4-6 months guidance really only has been shown to apply to long distance non Auto Train sleepers. Plus, even there, it is no more than a rule of thumb and still requires frequent checking of prices to catch a bucket reallocation. I follow the guidance to good effect, but would not presume that it applies to the Auto Train. The market is quite different than the LD sleeper market and Amtrak's yield management folks may handle it very differently.

I don't know whether or not "five months" is useful guidance for the Auto Train, but I would not presume either way.
 
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How far in advance do I need to book my car and sleeper cabin on the auto train from Lorton to Sanford fl
I would recommend booking as far in advance as possible. Fares will vary over time but so will availability. If you are trying to find the best fare I would say late April or early May going South would be the time. Going North, except for the holidays and college break schedules the Winter season may be best for price. In any event sleeper prices on the Autotrain can be high.
 

b243923

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I have been a loyal auto train rider for over 15 years.

I took a recent trip on the Auto Train, Lorton to Sanford.

We received an email about a late departure and cars would be accepted till 6pm. In the same email it said a meal would be provided onboard the train. I was riding coach and normally would not receive a meal and always picked something up before boarding the train. I took the email as compensation for leaving late and everyone would receive a meal. Well no meal was served and I had no dinner. Also had an issue with the breakfast in the morning with one of SCA,

I sent an email to Customer Relations and did not hear back from them other than the email stating they received my email.

I called them today and spoke to a nice gentleman who listened to my complaint and he did some checking, I assume my travel history. He came back and offered me a refund in my train fare for both me and my daughter.

I thanked him an accepted the e-credits of $143.00 each.

It restored my faith in Amtrak.
 

Hans627

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Are you talking about Train 52 SFA to LOR today is delayed and scheduled to leave at 11:30pm tonight due to late arrival of Train 53. Cars will be excepted till 8:30pm
Screenshot 2022-12-01 at 7.30.06 AM.png
As of this morning train 52 is almost 9 hours late. Will they have to cancel to get them running on schedule again? We have reservations for next week.
 

b243923

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View attachment 30527
As of this morning train 52 is almost 9 hours late. Will they have to cancel to get them running on schedule again? We have reservations for next week.
What day are you leaving? The other train set is on schedule so depending what day you are leaving you might be okay. I agree they should cancel one train so it can catch up.
 

b243923

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Auto Train both directions has been cancelled for Friday December 2/22.
I guess this is to allow the delayed trains to catch up and be on schedule for Saturday December 3/22
 

jis

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Auto Train both directions has been cancelled for Friday December 2/22.
I guess this is to allow the delayed trains to catch up and be on schedule for Saturday December 3/22
Yes. There was no hope of catching up without biting the bullet.
 

west point

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When these cancellations happen does Amtrak try to book next day displaced passengers? Will it provide additional cars by having the trains operate with MAX consists?
 

b243923

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When these cancellations happen does Amtrak try to book next day displaced passengers? Will it provide additional cars by having the trains operate with MAX consists?
I know when the train was cancelled for us they sent an email stating train was cancelled and no other alternative was available. I had to call them and ask if the train the day before had space available.
 

jis

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When these cancellations happen does Amtrak try to book next day displaced passengers? Will it provide additional cars by having the trains operate with MAX consists?
Where will they find the cars to MAX the train out, specially at Lorton? Usually they do not do any such thing on short notice..
 

Explore

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So check-in is from noon to 3. Is it still advisable to show up early to get your choice of dinner reservation time? At Sanford, does the city still sponsor a shuttle into downtown to avoid waiting at the station?

Boarding is at 3:00? When does on-board service start in the lounge? If not until the train departs, do you have to board at 3 anyway?

Thx!
 
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Iirc you choose your dining time when you check in at the station. I recall sitting in the lounge area and eating snacks while the train was. Sitting in Sanford. This was before Covidcso maybe there are changes.
 

jis

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So check-in is from noon to 3. Is it still advisable to show up early to get your choice of dinner reservation time? At Sanford, does the city still sponsor a shuttle into downtown to avoid waiting at the station?

Boarding is at 3:00? When does on-board service start in the lounge? If not until the train departs, do you have to board at 3 anyway?

Thx!
You can board at your leisure whenever you want after boarding starts. But be careful and make sure that you board before they lock up the train. They do so quite a bit before the actual departure time sometimes. They do make sure to board everyone in the waiting lounge area, so do not stray from there if you must board late.
 
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They do make sure to board everyone in the waiting lounge area, so do not stray from there if you must board late.
That is so true. One time I was watching them switch the auto carriers and then wandered back to a dark waiting room. Everyone had boarded with all doors closed- except for a door far down the track where our wonderful SCA held the door open for me. My wife was beside him. She was not amused!

By the way, check in starts at 12:30, not 12:00. That assumes the inbound train is unloaded so they are able to stage the cars to be loaded. If not, the line stretches out far into the city street. Sometimes the gate checker lets us park our car for a few minutes to check in at the ticket counter then drive into Sanford for lunch. We were told to be back before 2:30 even though last call is 3. Last time I was there the shuttle to town was operating.
 

jis

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That is so true. One time I was watching them switch the auto carriers and then wandered back to a dark waiting room. Everyone had boarded with all doors closed- except for a door far down the track where our wonderful SCA held the door open for me. My wife was beside him. She was not amused!
So, by your own admission you were not in the waiting room. Oh well.... :D
 
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