BWI To washington DC Union Station

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My wife and I are flying into BWI then taking the train toWashington DC Union Station, but undecided which service to ride Amtrak or MARCwe will have a number of pieces of luggage.

Ron
 

afigg

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Jun 8, 2009
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What day of the week are you flying into BWI? MARC does not operate on weekends or holidays.

If you have luggage, but you can handle all the bags by yourselves, there should be plenty of room on an Amtrak Regional heading southbound. But you will have to transfer the luggage on and off the shuttle bus that gets you to the BWI train station.

Another alternative is to take the WMATA B30 bus from the airport to the Greenbelt DC Metro station. Then you can take the Metro to Union Station, but that may not be a good idea with a lot of luggage.
 

Trogdor

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Amtrak is more expensive than MARC.

Typically, the best bet is to wait until you land and get to the station, then get whatever train comes first (but you'll have to buy a ticket inside ahead of time, so keep an eye on the monitors for whatever the next train happens to be).
 

ehbowen

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Just make sure that you get on the right platform...when my mother flew in to BWI and was going to take the train in to meet us in WAS, I gave her a detailed description of the station, with pictures, and she STILL went to the wrong platform. She would have ended up in Philadelphia had not one of the passengers nearby asked, "Is this where we catch the train to Washington?" and been told, "No, you have to cross over to the other platform."
 

Swadian Hardcore

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I would suggest taking the MARC. Amtrak is great for long-distance travel but for such a short trip it's really not worth the extra dollars.
 

FunNut

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When you arrive at BWI you will take a large bus from baggage claim to the train station. You must climb up on the bus, stow your bags, then ride to the train station. The bus stop is across the street from the station, maybe a 150 meters walk with lots of pedestrians and street traffic.

There are two platforms at BWI and you must watch the monitor carefully to know the right one for your intended train. If you're on the "far" platform, you must cross over the tracks which means you have to either climb up and down stairs or take an elevator up and then down. Allow enough time for this.

I always ride Amtrak on the NEC, the cars are well equipped to handle luggage. I'm not so sure about the MARC trains, they're for commuters and probably have little to no room for your bags. I would suggest you try hard to minimize your luggage. You will absolutely have to be able to handle the luggage by yourselves. When traveling in and out of BWI, I take ONE checked bag and a backpack as my carryon. Then I can easily get on and off the bus and train.
 

Trogdor

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I don't know that I'd call boarding the shuttle bus a "climb." The floor of the bus is about level with the curb (maybe a half step up).

As for which platform, the vast majority of the time, southbound trains (to Washington) are on the far platform (requires crossing over), northbound trains are on the near platform. The only time there's an exception is when there's some kind of abnormal operation going on that prevents trains from using their normal routing.
 

Notelvis

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Agree with the above post -

I have never encountered a Washington-bound train stopping anyplace other than the 'far' platform at BWI which is a station I frequented often (and rode through even more often) when I was in graduate school at the University of Maryland.

Even now, anytime I am going to points north and west of the DC area, I will fly into BWI and rent a car or catch a train there.

Yes - sometimes in cases of trackwork they may close one of the platforms at BWI (usually on a weekend when rail traffic is lighter) but I've never been there when that was going on.
 
N

nita hunt

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My family is coming into BWI at 400 from Germany. The AMTRAK train leaves

Baltimore Penn Station at 514 and leaves Washington Union Station at 630. Which would be the better Location to leave from going to Atlanta GA?
 

Tracktwentynine

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My family is coming into BWI at 400 from Germany. The AMTRAK train leaves

Baltimore Penn Station at 514 and leaves Washington Union Station at 630. Which would be the better Location to leave from going to Atlanta GA?
The Crescent leaves Baltimore Penn Station at 17:14 (5:14PM) and Washington Union Station at 18:30 (6:30PM).

If your family is arriving at BWI at 4:00AM on a weekday, I would suggest taking a MARC train to Union Station and spending a few hours in Washington before catching the Crescent.

If your family is arriving at 16:00 (4:00PM), I would suggest spending the night around BWI or in Washington or Baltimore and then taking the train the next day.

2.5 hours is not enough time, given the vagaries of international air travel (or air travel in general) to make that connection. The plane could be late. Customs could take longer than you anticipate. Even if everything went perfectly, I can't imagine your family getting out of the Airport before 16:30. Then you have to wait on the shuttle bus, purchase MARC tickets, wait for the train, and then factor in the 35 minutes or so on the train. Best case, your family might be able to get into Union Station by 17:30 (5:30PM), and given a trans-atlantic flight and customs clearance, I wouldn't risk an hour-long cushion.

EDIT: Clarity
 
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AmtrakBlue

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Is that 4:00 AM or PM? If PM, I suspect they'd risk not making the train because 1) possible delay in arriving at the airport and 2) need to go through customs (this is something I'm not familiar with, though) .

If it's 4:00 AM, not being familiar with Baltimore Penn, I would think Wash Union Station would be the better station to "hang out in" and they probably even have time to check out some sites in Washington.

Are they riding coach or do they have a sleeper?
 

Notelvis

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My family is coming into BWI at 400 from Germany. The AMTRAK train leaves

Baltimore Penn Station at 514 and leaves Washington Union Station at 630. Which would be the better Location to leave from going to Atlanta GA?
The Crescent (the train going to Atlanta) does not stop at the BWI Rail Station which is unfortunate in your case. I concur with the post above that recommends not trying to make this connection work same day if that's a 4:00pm (1600) arrival time.

Otherwise though, I would ordinarily suggest taking the MTA light rail from BWI into Baltimore Penn Station and catching the Crescent there to avoid having to change trains in DC BUT you have a pretty limited amount of time to accomplish this...... just 74 minutes may not give you the time you need to negotiate a strange airport and a foreign transit system.

Your best bet would probably be to catch the shuttle bus from the luggage claim level over to the BWI Rail Station and then catch a MARC commuter train into Washington Union Station and change to the Crescent there.

Otherwise, you may want to take a taxi from the airport to Penn Station in Baltimore. More costly than the light rail but also probably a few minutes faster.
 
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Naismith

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When you arrive at BWI you will take a large bus from baggage claim to the train station. You must climb up on the bus, stow your bags, then ride to the train station. The bus stop is across the street from the station, maybe a 150 meters walk with lots of pedestrians and street traffic.

There are two platforms at BWI and you must watch the monitor carefully to know the right one for your intended train. If you're on the "far" platform, you must cross over the tracks which means you have to either climb up and down stairs or take an elevator up and then down. Allow enough time for this.

I always ride Amtrak on the NEC, the cars are well equipped to handle luggage. I'm not so sure about the MARC trains, they're for commuters and probably have little to no room for your bags. I would suggest you try hard to minimize your luggage. You will absolutely have to be able to handle the luggage by yourselves. When traveling in and out of BWI, I take ONE checked bag and a backpack as my carryon. Then I can easily get on and off the bus and train.
That sounds like BWI does not provide any assistance to disabled passengers in boarding the bus or in providing drop-off close to the train departure point. Do they provide a separate form of transportation to disabled passengers?
 

AmtrakBlue

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When you arrive at BWI you will take a large bus from baggage claim to the train station. You must climb up on the bus, stow your bags, then ride to the train station. The bus stop is across the street from the station, maybe a 150 meters walk with lots of pedestrians and street traffic.

There are two platforms at BWI and you must watch the monitor carefully to know the right one for your intended train. If you're on the "far" platform, you must cross over the tracks which means you have to either climb up and down stairs or take an elevator up and then down. Allow enough time for this.

I always ride Amtrak on the NEC, the cars are well equipped to handle luggage. I'm not so sure about the MARC trains, they're for commuters and probably have little to no room for your bags. I would suggest you try hard to minimize your luggage. You will absolutely have to be able to handle the luggage by yourselves. When traveling in and out of BWI, I take ONE checked bag and a backpack as my carryon. Then I can easily get on and off the bus and train.
That sounds like BWI does not provide any assistance to disabled passengers in boarding the bus or in providing drop-off close to the train departure point. Do they provide a separate form of transportation to disabled passengers?
As I recall, and I only rode the bus once, there were no steps (except to get to seats in the very back) and there is "handicap" seating like on other public buses (the side facing seat moves up against the wall and there's places to "lock" the wheelchair in place.

As to the drop-off point, it's at a garage across from the station. Not a long walk at all and I'm sure there were wheelchair accessible curbs.

Here's a pic I found online:


The drop-off point for the bus is near the further cross walk.
 

Naismith

Train Attendant
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May 30, 2012
Messages
23
When you arrive at BWI you will take a large bus from baggage claim to the train station. You must climb up on the bus, stow your bags, then ride to the train station. The bus stop is across the street from the station, maybe a 150 meters walk with lots of pedestrians and street traffic.

There are two platforms at BWI and you must watch the monitor carefully to know the right one for your intended train. If you're on the "far" platform, you must cross over the tracks which means you have to either climb up and down stairs or take an elevator up and then down. Allow enough time for this.

I always ride Amtrak on the NEC, the cars are well equipped to handle luggage. I'm not so sure about the MARC trains, they're for commuters and probably have little to no room for your bags. I would suggest you try hard to minimize your luggage. You will absolutely have to be able to handle the luggage by yourselves. When traveling in and out of BWI, I take ONE checked bag and a backpack as my carryon. Then I can easily get on and off the bus and train.
That sounds like BWI does not provide any assistance to disabled passengers in boarding the bus or in providing drop-off close to the train departure point. Do they provide a separate form of transportation to disabled passengers?
As I recall, and I only rode the bus once, there were no steps (except to get to seats in the very back) and there is "handicap" seating like on other public buses (the side facing seat moves up against the wall and there's places to "lock" the wheelchair in place.

As to the drop-off point, it's at a garage across from the station. Not a long walk at all and I'm sure there were wheelchair accessible curbs.

Here's a pic I found online:


The drop-off point for the bus is near the further cross walk.
Thanks, that seems a more reasonable accommodation.
 

bmorechris

Train Attendant
Joined
Sep 28, 2007
Messages
65
To the traveler from Germany, if you are taking the Condor flight from Frankfurt, it appears that those flights arrive at BWI at 16:50 (4:50pm), which means you would have essentially zero chance of getting to either Baltimore Penn Station or Washington Union Station in time to catch the train (The Crescent) to Atlanta.

As to accessibility, as long as the bus is accessible (which i believe all the airport buses are), it drops off on a curb directly across the access road from the station, and there are wheelchair accessible curbs to cross the street. Then its a level paved sidewalk directly to the northbound platform, or an elevator ride up to cross the pedestrian bridge. The station building is also at the same level as the platforms and sidewalk, although it is not necessary to pass through the station interior to get to the platforms.
 

the_traveler

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To the traveler from Germany, as much as I hate to not recommend Amtrak, is there a reason that you do not fly right to Atlanta, or even take a flight from BWI to Atlanta? As said, with an arrival into BWI @ 16:00, and that the Crescent does not stop at BWI, you would have to stay overnight and take a train the following day to catch the Crescent in either Washington or Baltimore.

Atlanta is the major hub for Delta Aairlines and other airlines as well. Even a flight that night from BWI to Atlanta may be less in this case.
 
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Swadian Hardcore

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My family is coming into BWI at 400 from Germany. The AMTRAK train leaves

Baltimore Penn Station at 514 and leaves Washington Union Station at 630. Which would be the better Location to leave from going to Atlanta GA?
I'm also confused about what time you are arrving. 4:00AM or 4:00PM? What flight are you on?

I guess you should leave from WAS. It has a great staten and does not require backtraking. The Crescent dosen't go to BWI because it's a Long-Distance Train and Amtrak thinks LD passengers don't need to go to an airport. BAL has a great station, too but not as great.

Try to find a hotel in WAS, it has some great attractions, too. If you are coming with your family it's much better to take a train than a flight. I think you would be fine staying a night in WAS or BAL. The Crescent is usually on-time and WAS-ATL is really convienient. Just don't be surprised if the passenger train has to yield to a freight train!

BTW, I didn't realize there were so many trees around BWI!
 

Notelvis

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I had forgotten what an ugly concrete box the BWI Station is.........

The best place to hang out there on a rainy day like this is on the crossover to the far platform..... the one covered place that has windows. It's a thrill to be there when an Acela zips through.
 

Swadian Hardcore

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What airlines fly to BWI from Germany? All I can find is Conndor Flugdienst unless the German is coming on a charter or cargo ( :excl: ) flight. They could also come on BA from LHR. The BA flight comes in at 15:20, so that could be it.
 
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railiner

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My wife and I are flying into BWI then taking the train toWashington DC Union Station, but undecided which service to ride Amtrak or MARCwe will have a number of pieces of luggage.

Ron
Interesting screen name....that was the name of noted rail author Lucius Beebe's Saint Bernard pictured with the late author in his book bio...
 

gercohen

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Feb 21, 2010
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I've done this many times. When things are tight I take a taxi from the terminal to the BWI rail station.
 

Notelvis

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My wife and I are flying into BWI then taking the train toWashington DC Union Station, but undecided which service to ride Amtrak or MARCwe will have a number of pieces of luggage.

Ron
Interesting screen name....that was the name of noted rail author Lucius Beebe's Saint Bernard pictured with the late author in his book bio...
This is one of several things I learned just yesterday! It was a surprisingly good day, the 'Caution Signs' truck notwithstanding.

A very clever screen name indeed........

Now that I have checked for reference on this thing that I wished I had already known 36 hours ago, I am curious Ron how you did in fact go from BWI to Washington Union Station.
 
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