An early check out from Arlo Soho and Ubers’ to Penn Station was the order of the day. The ornate and rather grand building that everyone knows as Penn Station is a facade as the station is all below ground.
Serving 650,000 commuter and Amtrak travellers daily it is the busiest transit hub in the Western Hemisphere. Located in Midtown Manhattan near the Empire State Building, Macy’s and right next door to Madison Square Gardens it’s location means all arrivals from the West Side of New York and it’s boroughs have to cross under the city to catch the Metro to travel back Eastwards to offices and retail shops. The introduction of the new Long Island Ronkonkoma Hub will mean much less traffic for Penn Station and make the commuting lives of workers from the West much less pain full. Due to be completed in the next decade. It will bring prosperity to Long Island and Queens with the arrival of new apartments, hotels, shops and restaurants which are sorely lacking in the area.
Anyway getting back on track (get it?) our track number was not up on the board so we grabbed a breakfast and sat in the waiting area. It wasn’t particularly busy but it was starting to crowd with each arriving train. There was plenty of retail to browse and you didn’t have to pay to use the toilets like you do in the UK at major stations.
Our train was called the ‘Acela Express’ and runs between Washington D.C and Boston hugging the New England coastline. We were on a Business Class only service and finally Track 6 was called. We had hardly boarded the train at the front when it started off which was really unusual, although it was late arriving so I guess it was trying to make up the time.
All the seats were wide with a large table that collapsed into the seat back in front and a foot rest. There was plenty of storage space with overhead bins airline style. The initial journey is underground and then it breaks above ground to splendid views of Manhattan. The train stopped in Stamford, CT, New Haven, CT, Providence, RI, Westwood, MA, Boston Back Bay, MA and South Station Boston, MA.
Our journey time was nearly 4 hours so we settled in to experience Amtrak. It was my first time and I was really excited to be onboard at last. It was a bit rocky at times and the train horn was constantly blaring it’s presence as we headed between cities.
I spent most of the journey in the cafe car because you could perch on a fixed stool looking straight out of the large windows. We past through small towns and New England clad houses as well as inland jettys. The land was verdant and green. There were a couple of delays for trains coming in the opposite direction so nothing new there I suppose.
As we got into Rhode Island the train was so close the beaches and inlets that border the Atlantic Ocean. It was stunning scenery and to see it race by in front of you was amazing.
There was a wide choice of prepared sandwiches, cereals, baked goods and snacks as well as a wide choice of sodas and beers and wines. The cafe car had a few business types on their laptops and phones but it never got busy.
Storage for cases was limited but the guard didn’t object to us leaving our cases in an alcove reserved for wheel chair users. The toilets had to be made use of and actually they were alright. All stainless steel and very similar to an airplane toilet but much bigger to allow a wheel chair into.
After disembarking at Boston Back Bay we emerged into the sunshine of Boston for the next stage of our fam. I now want to do a longer journey on Amtrak if that four hours was so comfortable, so maybe the Empire Builder from Chicago to Seattle will be my next adventure, who knows.