Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: Amtrak Auto Train

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Chalfont, PA, USA
    Posts
    44

    Amtrak Auto Train

    Does anyone have any experience with the Amtrak Auto Train to Florida? Especially, of course, regarding traveling in a wheelchair and with a modified van?

    We would like to check out Florida as a possible relocate too. These Northeast winters don't hold the same appeal they did when I was young.

    Thanks in advance for your help!
    Deb C.

  2. #2
    Senior Member stormie427's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    southwest, florida
    Posts
    442
    deb,,,my dad and i made numerous trips up to connecticut from florida, one yr we decided to take the auto train,,,now called the train trip from hell we thought we would be saving time and most of all not being tired, as it turns out the train picks u up in sanford, fl,,,outside of orlando and drops u off in lawton, virginia,,,just outside of dc, thats the easiest part of the whole trip,,,would normally take us 13 hrs and it took the train 16+,,,not counting waiting for your vehicle to be loaded on-off, now about the train ride itself,,,i spent the entire trip in the lounge,,,drinkin and playin cards, theres no way u can sleep with the noise from the tracks, really do some checking first before u spend $$,,,,cause its not cheap, uve got a fairly easy drive from pa,,,good luck!

    stormie

  3. #3
    Senior Member okwjoe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    wesley hills, new york
    Posts
    189
    We are a family of four. We have a 15 yo SCI son and a 11 year old son. We have traveled the Auto Train over 10 times in the past. But in July will our first trip with my son's SCI.
    We have travelled both in coach and in sleeper cars. So I may have some insight of what it may be like for people who use wheelchairs.
    We called Amtrak and inquired how travel would be different from our previous trips.
    First the van. Departure is at 4 pm. Since we have a van we would have to arrive no later than 2 pm. At least when we get to Florida, vans are the first to get off. We waited no longer than 15 minutes when we had our van, opposed to up to 45 minutes with a sedan.
    When you first get to the station, your reservation is checked at the booth. you may have to wait on line until your pull up to the building. Your car is inspected for damges , photographed , and your gets a number put on your car. You can get a "wagon" like the one used at airports. You can leave anything you want in the van. but once it is driven off , you can't get acsess to the vehicle until you you are in Florida. Then you walk to the reservation desk to check in, There you can choose your meal time. I do not know what happens in coach. In coach AB peole have a nice big seat that can tilt back about 45 degrees and have a leg rest. There is space behind the last couple of rows for wheelchairs. You stay in your chair in coach. We are traveling in a sleeper car in July.they can bring your meal to your berth.
    If you travel in a sleeper car, they can bring your meals to your berth. The berths for disabled passengers are in the lower level. We just roll on to the the lower level off the platform, if I remember because you have to climb up in a narrow starwell to the main level of the car.
    The sleeper car has a limited number of disabled berths. They said there is room for a wheelchair and for seats. The seats are converted into the sleeping berths at night. They have a AC outlet in each berth for charging the chair or for anything else.
    the beds are narrow ,but comfortable. You berth has a sliding door and privacy curtain. There are lounges in certain cars and dining cars. The lounges are spartan, but have a movies at 7pm and 9 pm that was just out of the theaters, but not yet on video. They have beer, drinks, snacks , soft drinks for sale. but free coffe ,tea, and chips and cookies. The food at the meals are not bad . A limted menu. Fish, roast beef, vegatable lasanga, mac and cheese or hot dogs for the kids, soda, lemonade, juice, sangria. You can request to have you meals bought to berth, instead of going to the dining car. The aisles are not that wide I recall. They have lounges on the lower level too. I do not recall how accesible they are though.
    At 11 pm. the close the lights and you can use your light above your head. They give out airline pillows and blankets. We always bring our own . Since my son is a quad, we WILL bring our own. Sleeping is probably a indivdual experince. I work nights and always have trouble going to bed at 11 pm. Yes, the noise of the tracks and movement can be distressing.. but I noticed everyone was sleeping by 12 30 am. They make one stop at around 1 am in Florence, SC. to change crews. Wakeup occurs around 7 am near Jacksonville, FL. You have breakfast, continental but with fresh fruit, tea coffee, much better than in the hotels that offer it. In the dining car. After breakfast it is then only 30 -45 minutes to Sanford. At arrival you gather up you stuff, wait for your number to be called, they drive your vehicle up to space, you get in and drive off.
    People always asked me about the Auto Train. We liked it because the kids could walk around, play games, watch portable DVD's talk loudly without pissing anyone off,. Now if you have to decide for yourselves. Driving to Florida for us even me driving 75 - 80 miles per hour with a wife and two kids who had to stop every 2 hours , took us two days or 19-21 hours to get to Orlando from the northern NYC suburbs. Now Auto Train, 6 hours to DC, 2 hours waiting for the train, get on at 4pm , settle in eat dinner, movie , read, talk, or movie talk, dinner. Then 11 pm sleep wake up at 7 am eat breakfast than get your car at around 9- 9 45 am. the best thing is you have your own vehicle. When you fly.. you will need a rental car/van.. we have not flown since 9/11 but I am sure it is more of a haasle now.

    For 2 adults and two children AAA discount for two sleeper cars, ( one for my SCI son and I) and the other for my other son and wife round trip was $1342 .56 .

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Chalfont, PA, USA
    Posts
    44
    Thanks for the great information. Good luck with your trip in July, okwjoe. How lucky am I that you've just done all the research for me! I'm thinking about driving one way and train the other, but can't decide which. Never thought about the train noise keeping you awake. Doesn't it become just background noise after a bit? Maybe some Tylenol PM would help?

    Thanks again! Deb C

  5. #5
    Senior Member okwjoe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    wesley hills, new york
    Posts
    189
    The noise isn't that bad... the occasional jostling is more noticable.. but you will sleep.. everyone seems to sleep,

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •