Boston guaranteed connections or not?

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

Siegmund

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 19, 2018
Messages
271
Location
northwestern Montana
Simple question from the Westerner who hasn't been to the east coast by rail in a very long time:

Is there such a thing as a guaranteed connection between the Downeaster and the LSL or a Northeast Regional? If so, how much longer than an hour is required, given the need for the ~2 mile transfer between North Station and either South or Back Bay?

The ever-disappointing Amtrak 'book now' is unhelpful.

I seem to remember that in the very ancient past, there WAS such a thing as a guaranteed connection between NY Penn and NY Grand Central -- but that tells you how long ago it was that I last needed one, and no other comparable connection situation comes to mind anywhere else.
 

brianpmcdonnell17

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2016
Messages
1,502
Location
Chicago, Illinois
There are connections available between the Downeaster and NEC trains, but I'm not sure how much time is required. The LSL arrives Boston too late for any connections eastbound, although there probably is one available westbound.
 

Rasputin

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Messages
907
I have never heard of a guaranteed connection between the Lake Shore and the Downeaster. Theoretically one should be able to connect from an on-time 448 arriving at South Station with the Downeaster train which leaves North Station at 10 p.m.
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
22,676
Location
Austin Texas
I have never heard of a guaranteed connection between the Lake Shore and the Downeaster. Theoretically one should be able to connect from an on-time 448 arriving at South Station with the Downeaster train which leaves North Station at 10 p.m.
Theoretically is Correct, but the LSL#448 earns it's Nickname of "Late Shore Ltd." most evenings into Boston.
 

Siegmund

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 19, 2018
Messages
271
Location
northwestern Montana
The rub here is the "I am not sure how much time is required" bit. (The concern is not so much with being certain of continuing on time -- I know plenty well that long distance trains are sometimes very late -- but pinning down whether it is my fault or Amtrak's if I get stuck somewhere for an extra day. I am used to e.g. changing from the Coast Starlight to the Builder in Portland, and not caring whether it takes an extra day or not.)
 

Palmetto

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
May 12, 2014
Messages
2,333
Location
Miami
Eastbound, you'll need a hotel between trains. Going back west, a taxi between North and South stations takes about 15 minutes, even in rush hour traffic. Or, you can do a transfer in about a half-hour using the Orange Line from North Station over to the Back Bay station. Another option, if your adventurous, is take take an MBTA local out to Worcester, and transfer to Amtrak there.
 

Tlcooper93

Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 9, 2021
Messages
201
Location
Boston
If your train is on time, not much. Get off at Back Bay and it’s about 10 minutes on the Orange Line to North Station or vice versa.

Always use back bay station for transfers, as every Amtrak train also goes through Back Bach (including LSL).

The Downeaster has a notoriously bad (80%) on time percentage (for a non LD train) and LSL is not often on time, below average for a long distance train (also known as Late Shore Limited).

Basically, you can do it in an hour easily, but if one is late, that starts to change, so no guaranteed connections.
 
Last edited:

railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
9,588
Location
Palm Beach County
I seem to remember that in the very ancient past, there WAS such a thing as a guaranteed connection between NY Penn and NY Grand Central -- but that tells you how long ago it was that I last needed one, and no other comparable connection situation comes to mind anywhere else.
During that era, Amtrak operated a chartered bus, taking through ticketed passenger's between the two stations. An Amtrak supervisor rode the bus, and was in radio contact with each station, to facilitate the transfer in the event of traffic disruptions enroute. I recall some occasions where the bus held for a late arriving Empire Service train, and when they got to Penn Station, the thru passengers were sometimes re-accommodated to the next Metroliner, to catch their long distance train that was not held, in Washington. That was a handy option, not available in other locations...
 

Rasputin

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Messages
907
The solution is to consider the very convenient and well-operated Concord Coach Lines service which operates from the South Station bus terminal and provides service between Boston and Portland and other points.


When we travel from Portland to connect with Amtrak trains at South Station (Northeast Corridor or the Lake Shore) and return we always use Concord Coach Lines. The convenience of this service and the relatively easy interface between the South Station bus terminal and the South Station Amtrak station appeals to us much more than the North Station - South Station hassle. Others may prefer it but it is not for us.

There are a few twists and turns to the South Station train-bus interface esp. the first time you do it and at points, signage could be improved for those going to and from the Amtrak station to the bus station but it is not bad.

Concord Coach lines is still operating under a reduced schedule but I see that connections with 448 might be possible (depending on 448's arrival time) with the 8:45 p.m. and 10:45 p.m. bus. All hope is not lost since there are times when 448 has sometimes arrived on time and maybe early.
 
Last edited:
Top