First time Amtrak rider traveling from Tampa to Norfolk

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Good afternoon everyone. I will be buying my first Amtrak Train ride in January and just needed some help on a couple things before hand.

1. How do I request the Lower part of the car when I book a Roomette? I don't see the option when choosing tickets.

2. When I'm booking on Amtrak, it wants me to have 2 segments on my trip. But other sites let me do just 1 Train for my trip (which is what I want.) but I can't book my Roomette on those sites. So I'm lost on how to do this. Or what the best way to book it.

I want a Roomette and only 1 Segment train ride from Tampa FL to Norfolk VA.

My anxiety is up so I'm just trying to make it as easy for me and comfortable as possible. I really appreciate any help on this and any future questions before my trip is booked. 🙏🏻
 

jis

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I want a Roomette and only 1 Segment train ride from Tampa FL to Norfolk VA.
You cannot get a one segment train ride from Tampa FL to Norfolk VA because there is no single train that connects the two. You will have to change trains at Richmond VA or Petersburg VA, and it is possible that there is no convenient same day connection available.

Also the train from Richmond/Petersburg to Norfolk does not have Sleepers, so no Roomettes. Only Coach or Business Class seats.
 
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You cannot get a one segment train ride from Tampa FL to Norfolk VA because there is no single train that connects the two. You will have to change trains at Richmond VA or Petersburg VA, and it is possible that there is not same day connection available.

Also the train from Richmond/Petersburg to Norfolk does not have Sleepers, so no Roomettes. Only Coach seats.
Ah okay. That makes sense then. I really appreciate the help. Trying to learn as much as I can before all this lol.

Welcome to our forum! I hope you enjoy your trip.

The train from Tampa to Virginia has single-level cars, so there is no lower or upper level.
Very good to know. Thank you so much.
 

Bob Dylan

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You really need to call to book your trip, ( 1-800-USA-RAIL) and when the Bot "Julie" answers, keep asking for "Agent" till your connected to a live one.

Then let them know what you want ( a Roomette on a Silver Train, which would be the Star if you want to catch it in Tampa, or you could do the Thruway Amtrack Bus to Orlando to catch the Meteor ).

Ask the Agent about connections in Coach to Norfolk, as was said you may have to spend the night if sameday connections aren't available.

You'll need to be patient, call Volume is really High,and there is a Staff shortage @ the Call Center( like everywhere) but they'll call you back if you don't want a long Hold!( Best time to call is Very Early or Late @ night).
 

niemi24s

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This planned trip of yours is complicated by the fact that while there are 4 different trains that will get you from the Silver Star (your train from Tampa) to Norfolk, two run only during the week, two run on Sunday and one of these two also runs on Saturday.

Be advised that taking the bus from Tampa to Orlando to catch the Silver Meteor will see you arriving at the nearest point for transferring to any train to Norfolk at 3:50am for a wait of about 13 hours for the first train to Norfolk! Unless you're a glutton for punishment, I'd stick with riding the Silver Star from Tampa. It gets to that nearest possible transfer point at 11:51am.

When the Silver Star gets to that nearest transfer point (Petersburgh) at 11:51am there's a 5½ hour wait for the first train to Norfolk during the week, so to minimize the wait time I'd suggest making the transfer farther North at Richmond for 4¼ hour wait.

But a this is all based on switching trains during the week. If you need or want to make the switch on Saturday or Sunday, the plot thickens. For the best help on this from Amtrak, recommend you join Amtrak Guest Rewards and then call one of their agents - they are the most helpful.

Q: If there's a certain day of the week you need or want to switch trains, let us know.
 

niemi24s

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Oops!

A quick check this morning with dummy bookings on Amtrak's home page shows some of the info given above is incorrect For travel starting in Tampa on a Friday and reaching Virginia the next day, the last segment is a 40 minute bus ride from Newport News to Norfolk.

Info given last night was based on these timetables... https://www.railpassengers.org/site/assets/files/20928/northeast-schedule-w06-031620.pdf ...which I either misread or are outdated.
 

Stremba

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If you travel on a weekday you have two options. One involves the bus connection from Tampa to Orlando to catch the Meteor. That is about a 2 hour bus trip. You then have about 15 hours to Richmond and a 5 hour layover there. Another two hour ride on a train to Newport News, and finally a bus connection to Norfolk. The only advantage to that option is earlier arrival and departure times. You leave at 10:15 am and get there at 11:33 am the next day.

The other option has no bus connections. You catch the Star at Tampa, layover in Richmond for a bit under 4.5 hours then get a train directly to Norfolk. That option has later departure and arrival times, leaving at 5:20 pm and arriving at 7:07 pm the next day.

Given your question about lower level roomettes, I would assume that stairs are an issue for you, so I would look at the second option since most buses have stairs to climb in order to board.

Edit: if you need to arrive on a Saturday (leave on a Friday) there is no direct train routing; you can take the Star from Tampa to Richmond but the train from Richmond only goes to Newport News; you must do a bus connection to Norfolk. If you leave on a Saturday and arrive Sunday, there is a train only itinerary, the layover at Richmond is about an hour longer and you get to Norfolk after 8PM
 
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Given your question about lower level roomettes, I would assume that stairs are an issue for you, so I would look at the second option since most buses have stairs to climb in order to board.
I recall seeing somewhere that buses with wheelchair lifts are available with advance request. Persons who do not use a wheelchair but cannot climb stairs usually can request the wheelchair lift. I know Amtrak makes that accommodation on trains, and I would expect Thruway buses would too, but I'm not sure, as those motorcoach lifts get pretty high up above the ground.
 

Anderson

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Oops!

A quick check this morning with dummy bookings on Amtrak's home page shows some of the info given above is incorrect For travel starting in Tampa on a Friday and reaching Virginia the next day, the last segment is a 40 minute bus ride from Newport News to Norfolk.

Info given last night was based on these timetables... https://www.railpassengers.org/site/assets/files/20928/northeast-schedule-w06-031620.pdf ...which I either misread or are outdated.
There was a major shuffle in the train schedules in VA back in July. Basically, there are now three trains/day into Norfolk and two into Newport News. 66 was diverted to Roanoke (67 still comes to Newport News) and there's transferring in DC for folks going to/from Boston as necessary.
Basically, RPA has the last schedules that Amtrak posted, but since none of the dinguses at Amtrak HQ figured that "Gee, maybe people just want to look at a schedule instead of having a "personalized timetable" only listing two stations (an origin and a destination) generated", this is what we've got.

Here's a fresh(ish) one from VHSR:
 

Ryan

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Another two hour ride on a train to Newport News, and finally a bus connection to Norfolk.
It would be good to know where exactly @Beardalorian is going in the tidewater area - I'd rent a car at Newport News and drive to my final destination unless he's going somewhere actually served by transit.
 

AmtrakBlue

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@Anderson
only listing two stations (an origin and a destination) generated
You can see schedules for whole routes on Amtrak's site. Under Search By on the Schedules "form", select Route from the drop-down. Unfortunately it does not have a "Virginia Service" option in the list of routes, so you would need to look at the NEC route and know which trains serve VA. Maybe RPA can ask them to add the "Virginia Service" route to the list.
 
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On the Amtrak website Schedule tab, you can enter the starting and ending stations, and see all direct trains and guaranteed connections listed for a specific date. Only the initial departure and final arrival times are shown.

You can then select a specific train. If it's direct, the first few stations will be listed on the right. If there's a connection, the segments will be shown left to right, and you can click on a segment for that segment's full schedule. You can also click on the Print icon, and a PDF will be generated with the complete schedule. If there are connections, the first page shows an overview of the connections, and the full schedules for each segment are on following pages.

If there are only direct trains on the initial search, you can also click on the Print icon and then select Print All Trains to generate a simple listing of the schedules side-by-side. But there's a bug: only the stations for the 1st train are listed. If there's another train that has different intermediate stops, only the times for stops that are shared with the 1st train will be shown.
 
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