Questions on Recent Auto Train Experiences?

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ET2020

Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 28, 2020
Messages
144
Location
Maryland
Just about to depart. There are options of dining in your room at 5:00 and 6:00, and they now also offer dining in the dining car at 7:00 and 8:30.
How was the experience, over all ?
This Jan trip will be our first time in a Bedroom.
 

BLNT

Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 5, 2019
Messages
130
How was the experience, over all ?
This Jan trip will be our first time in a Bedroom.
We're heading back on 12/31. I asked, but was told no fireworks on the train... darn it!

Well, it's a means to an end - getting ourselves and our car from point A to B. I'd be OK with a Roomette, but my wife feels otherwise. Either way, I'm in the upper bunk and have never really slept well in my several trips. I'm 6' and it feels like I'm a sardine up there - difficult to move or keep sheets on. For what one pays, they should make these rooms just a tad larger. Or at least give an option (@ more $) to have a "Bedroom" which does not approximate a walk in closet.

Service is generally good - with meals brought roughly on time, as well as getting the beds set up and later put up.

I don't care for being able to hear every cough/sneeze or (moderate level) conversation of those people next to us. I try to be aware, and not speak such that I can be overheard.

They need to send the current sleeper cars to the scrapyard - old technology with shoddy/failing elements. I'd wager the coach seats are more comfortable (for purely sitting) owing to practically non-existent cushions.

Still, better than coach (never have, nor never will actually try!) and preferred to driving. Perhaps I should look for a C-130 to take us and our car up and back, lol!

Other options:

> Fly and rent a car (not as practical in the winter - not confident enough that I'd get an AWD w/excellent snow tires for the WV mountains).

> Tough it out and wait for a fully autonomous vehicle - though at least Supercruise and such is getting closer. I want to kick the chair back to full recline and nap should I decide to!
 

ET2020

Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 28, 2020
Messages
144
Location
Maryland
We're heading back on 12/31. I asked, but was told no fireworks on the train... darn it!

Well, it's a means to an end - getting ourselves and our car from point A to B. I'd be OK with a Roomette, but my wife feels otherwise. Either way, I'm in the upper bunk and have never really slept well in my several trips. I'm 6' and it feels like I'm a sardine up there - difficult to move or keep sheets on. For what one pays, they should make these rooms just a tad larger. Or at least give an option (@ more $) to have a "Bedroom" which does not approximate a walk in closet.

Service is generally good - with meals brought roughly on time, as well as getting the beds set up and later put up.

I don't care for being able to hear every cough/sneeze or (moderate level) conversation of those people next to us. I try to be aware, and not speak such that I can be overheard.

They need to send the current sleeper cars to the scrapyard - old technology with shoddy/failing elements. I'd wager the coach seats are more comfortable (for purely sitting) owing to practically non-existent cushions.

Still, better than coach (never have, nor never will actually try!) and preferred to driving. Perhaps I should look for a C-130 to take us and our car up and back, lol!

Other options:

> Fly and rent a car (not as practical in the winter - not confident enough that I'd get an AWD w/excellent snow tires for the WV mountains).

> Tough it out and wait for a fully autonomous vehicle - though at least Supercruise and such is getting closer. I want to kick the chair back to full recline and nap should I decide to!
Thanks, BLNT -
I agree that the pay off is being able to rest (somewhat), and avoid the white-knuckled experience on I-95 !
We drove it in January of 2018, and sure enough, it snowed the morning we left. Roads from VA through NC were horrific.
And in SC (we stopped over at Hilton Head), it was completely iced-over for 2 days. That's when we decided to go AutoTrain on our next lengthy stay.
Enjoy your stay. When do you come back Northbound ?
 

BLNT

Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 5, 2019
Messages
130
Thanks, BLNT -
I agree that the pay off is being able to rest (somewhat), and avoid the white-knuckled experience on I-95 !
We drove it in January of 2018, and sure enough, it snowed the morning we left. Roads from VA through NC were horrific.
And in SC (we stopped over at Hilton Head), it was completely iced-over for 2 days. That's when we decided to go AutoTrain on our next lengthy stay.
Enjoy your stay. When do you come back Northbound ?
After our southbound 12/31, we'll probably make it back up for a week or so in February.
 

joelkfla

OBS Chief
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
936
Location
12 miles from Walt Disney World
Thanks, BLNT -
I agree that the pay off is being able to rest (somewhat), and avoid the white-knuckled experience on I-95 !
We drove it in January of 2018, and sure enough, it snowed the morning we left. Roads from VA through NC were horrific.
And in SC (we stopped over at Hilton Head), it was completely iced-over for 2 days. That's when we decided to go AutoTrain on our next lengthy stay.
Enjoy your stay. When do you come back Northbound ?
OTOH, I took the train (not A-T) from Orlando to DC 2 years ago, and got stranded coming home when Amtrak decided to suspend service because of an approaching snow storm. I had to scramble to find a hotel for an extra night and a flight home the next morning, and then get from the airport to my car parked at the Kissimmee station.
 

gwolfdog

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 27, 2020
Messages
252
We're heading back on 12/31. I asked, but was told no fireworks on the train... darn it!

Well, it's a means to an end - getting ourselves and our car from point A to B. I'd be OK with a Roomette, but my wife feels otherwise. Either way, I'm in the upper bunk and have never really slept well in my several trips. I'm 6' and it feels like I'm a sardine up there - difficult to move or keep sheets on. For what one pays, they should make these rooms just a tad larger. Or at least give an option (@ more $) to have a "Bedroom" which does not approximate a walk in closet.

Service is generally good - with meals brought roughly on time, as well as getting the beds set up and later put up.

I don't care for being able to hear every cough/sneeze or (moderate level) conversation of those people next to us. I try to be aware, and not speak such that I can be overheard.

They need to send the current sleeper cars to the scrapyard - old technology with shoddy/failing elements. I'd wager the coach seats are more comfortable (for purely sitting) owing to practically non-existent cushions.

Still, better than coach (never have, nor never will actually try!) and preferred to driving. Perhaps I should look for a C-130 to take us and our car up and back, lol!

Other options:

> Fly and rent a car (not as practical in the winter - not confident enough that I'd get an AWD w/excellent snow tires for the WV mountains).

> Tough it out and wait for a fully autonomous vehicle - though at least Supercruise and such is getting closer. I want to kick the chair back to full recline and nap should I decide to!
Other Options? Used Auto Train going down. Going back to Syracuse from Fort Lauderdale, I used an Auto Carrier and had a 3 hour non stop reasonably priced flight. We saved 10 hours of driving and a couple of days of travel.
 

BLNT

Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 5, 2019
Messages
130
Other Options? Used Auto Train going down. Going back to Syracuse from Fort Lauderdale, I used an Auto Carrier and had a 3 hour non stop reasonably priced flight. We saved 10 hours of driving and a couple of days of travel.
What's an auto carrier run - and how are they time wise? Do they have designated pick-up, drop-off spots?

Orlando (about 45 minutes from home) to DC flight would be about 2 hours... and then we'd be 3 hours from WV. Better than driving and the train - just depends on the specifics of the Auto Carrier you speak of. :)
 

gwolfdog

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 27, 2020
Messages
252
Auto Carrier around a $1000 for SYR to FLL. We used an Agent, who was super and arranged the whole process. Google, if interested. They, picked up car at my son's house in Lauderdale. We had it back a few days after getting home. You can make arrangements with them too suit your needs. Being home in 3 hours was amazing, no Hotel or driving. The Virus was closing everything down, we were exhausted and just wanted out, the safest and quickest manner. Age and Health are big variables with us.
 
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
9,735
Location
x
Auto Carrier around a $1000 for SYR to FLL. We used an Agent, who was super and arranged the whole process. Google, if interested. They, picked up car at my son's house in Lauderdale. We had it back a few days after getting home. You can make arrangements with them too suit your needs. Being home in 3 hours was amazing, no Hotel or driving. The Virus was closing everything down, we were exhausted and just wanted out, the safest and quickest manner. Age and Health are big variables with us.
Hmmm....gives me an idea for a neat 'retirement job'....I can drive people's cars for them between Florida and points North....since I love to drive long distance.:cool:
 

tgstubbs1

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 3, 2020
Messages
396
Hmmm....gives me an idea for a neat 'retirement job'....I can drive people's cars for them between Florida and points North....since I love to drive long distance.:cool:
Yeah, there was that service called "Drive-a-way". One of my uncles drove a car cross country for them once. I don't know if it's still operating.
 

gwolfdog

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 27, 2020
Messages
252
Yeah, there was that service called "Drive-a-way". One of my uncles drove a car cross country for them once. I don't know if it's still operating.
Hmmm....gives me an idea for a neat 'retirement job'....I can drive people's cars for them between Florida and points North....since I love to drive long distance.:cool:
Start looking at Auto Carrier Trucks, big bucks. You Low Bid them all, and have a Ball. That's how mine was transported. When we were in Florida, someone did tell us they had someone drive their car down, and flew them back, each year. Canadians! Can I call you after we get our Vaccinations? 🤣 😷
 

IndyLions

OBS Chief
Joined
Nov 6, 2016
Messages
770
Location
Brownsburg IN
Start looking at Auto Carrier Trucks, big bucks. You Low Bid them all, and have a Ball. That's how mine was transported. When we were in Florida, someone did tell us they had someone drive their car down, and flew them back, each year. Canadians! Can I call you after we get our Vaccinations? 🤣 😷
I was my grandmother’s driving service one year. She traveled down to FL with my parents - staying in an adjoining condo. She was in her 80s but insisted on her own vehicle. So my Dad drove her down in her car, and my Mom followed in their car. About two weeks in - Grandma got homesick . I flew down to Tallahassee and drove her home.

That was a scary trip - the first time I realized my Grandma was starting to struggle with dementia. She talked to me just as if I was Grandpa several times during the trip. She passed less than a year later. A bittersweet memory to be sure.

More recently - I’ve acted as my daughters’ co-driver - driving with them to college in Virginia or Boston - and then Amtraking home. Some great memories - with this years’ Boston return on Acela/Crescent/Cardinal the highlight of an otherwise bleak year.
 
Joined
Jul 5, 2021
Messages
10
Location
Florida
We had a fabulous trip down from LOR to SFA on Sept 15-16. Checkin was easy, and the dining car had limited reservations available. We snagged one. We had been assigned a different car with our bedroom from our daughter and her fiancé. Th LOR crew had noticed and fixed it for us before we arrived. We got there around noon, checked in, went back out for lunch at iHop, ten boarded. The awesome Priscilla was our SCA. THe coffee machine was working, of you can call that stuff coffee, and there was ice. Lounge service was pleasant. We brought wine, cheese, crackers, apples and grapes for our own happy hour, including some auto party mix like the good old times.

the flat iron steaks were passable, as was the lava cake. The chicken was dry. Rooms were made up at 10 at our quest. Smooth ride in and arrived an hour early. Actually one of tHe smoothest trips we’ve had.
erinch13, on your southbound trip last September, were you still able to check-in as a passenger early without leaving your auto? I'm taking 3 small children later this month, and I'd really like to check in early to snag a good dinner seating, but not have to occupy them in the station for 3 hours!
 

erinch13

Train Attendant
Joined
Aug 28, 2013
Messages
54
JoanneW absolutely! We checked in around 11:30, got our meal tickets, and then went and got lunch. At the IHOP. Because my hubby likes IHOPs. Tell them you want to get Checked in but not leave vehicle. They will send you to temporary parking.
 
Joined
Jul 5, 2021
Messages
10
Location
Florida
JoanneW absolutely! We checked in around 11:30, got our meal tickets, and then went and got lunch. At the IHOP. Because my hubby likes IHOPs. Tell them you want to get Checked in but not leave vehicle. They will send you to temporary parking.
Great news for us! Thanks.
 
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