This Is our Village

Friday, August 30, 2013

Somebody took the Amtrack Auto-Train from Lorton to Sanford?

I am thinking to take the Amtrak Auto-Train from Lorton VA to Sanford FLA next November to come to CV. Does somebody took it? What do you think about it? Were you able to sleep? Was about your experience? Thank you!


  1. Consult the August Edition of
    the UCO Reporter, which is available on line...B 23 is the pg.
    2 of our resident's shared their

  2. Thank you Bettie. The article is very interesting.
    The second one seems like experience I had with Alegiant Airlines two years ago. Terrible.
    I am wordering if it is realistic to think to sleep on the coach seats.


  3. I had to delete much of my comment due to limits so please forgive me if the following is choppy.
    The train was not cheap. It was about $1100.00 - $1,200.00 round trip for two of us in the smallest suite plus a regular size car.

    Unfortunately, we were scheduled to leave for the trip from Lorton to Sanford at the same time a winter storm hit the NY Metropolitan area. So, we did not get to take the first leg of the trip. That is an issue since if the storm does not hit D.C. the train is going with or without you. But, Auto Train folks were pretty good and somehow we got a credit for the trip down.

    The trip back - we headed up to Sanford and it was about 130 miles from C.V. I seem to recall. After making the drive down from NY in two days, it was a piece of cake. The station is about 30 miles more or less, west of I-95, in Sanford.

    The train we were to take was late and that caused quite an annoyance in the waiting room as the off loading people were waiting for their cars in the same waiting area. It was pretty hectic. Not sure if you will be taking a vehicle, so I will mention the issue with the cars at the end.

    We got on board and we had purchased the smaller of the two suites available. It was very, very small. But, the seats were comfortable and it was ok.

    Meals- If you choose to take the train, I suggest you arrive to check in early and get the 7pm seating for dinner. 5pm is too soon and they do have some snacks and wine and cheese to welcome you aboard. That happens about 4pm. The 9pm seating is probably too late for most of us.

    We went up to dinner and were seated with another couple as is the practice. It was fun meeting other people and finding out where they are from and whether they rode the train before. We met a different couple at dinner and breakfast. They were all very nice and pleasant. One of the folks mentioned it was difficult to sleep. So, I had an extra glass of wine! My wife and I each ordered something different (Steak for me and crab cakes for her) and the food was much better than expected. The service was very good. They seem to have it down to a science.

    We called it a day about 11:00 pm and there is a person assigned to turn the seats into beds. All that was good. I also took a shower before bed just to try it out so I could tell my inquiring friends how the experience was. The shower was a clean as a whistle and there were plenty of towels, wash cloths, etc.

    Unfortunately, our dinner companion's predictions of a poor night's sleep were accurate since the train tended to lurch back and forth rather than rock you to sleep. Sometimes it felt that you were about to be knocked out of the bed. I gave up trying to sleep at about 3:30 a.m. and we were first for breakfast at 7:00 a.m.!

    During our time on the train we checked out the seats in the Coach area. It is a lot cheaper to just pay for a seat rather than one of the suites. But, while the seats looked ok, you still have 17 hours on that train most of which you will spend seated. Maybe you would sleep better in a seated position. Not sure about that. In coach you have no privacy and I would guess you should keep your carry on with you since there is no place to store them.

    The train arrived in Lorton about 2+ hours late. When you add in the almost 2 hr wait for our vehicle, it hardly saved any time at all since Long Island is about 5 hrs from Wash. D.C. Adding the late arrival and the long wait for our car, it dumped us into heavy D.C. traffic in the early afternoon. We could have been almost home in the time it took for the late train and getting the car. Coupled that with the lack of sleep during the overnight, the trip to NY was just as much a hassle as if we toughed it out and drove up to and through D.C. to NY. As fate would have it, ours was one of the very last cars off the train. I believe they now offer to get your car off faster for an extra $50.00.

    Good luck.

  4. Other than my bad experience in June as I wrote about in the UCO Reporter I like the auto train. It saves me about 800 miles of driving which means less wear and tear on my car. As I travel alone I don't think the cost is too great. If I drove all the way I would have to spend two nights at a motel, buy food and spend quite a bit of money on gas. I will be taking it to Sanford one week from today. The trip to Lorton is about 300 miles from Westchester and the trip from Sanford to CV is 200 miles. The worst part is waiting for your car as that can take an hour or so.


  5. Thank you! Had you ever sleep on the coach seats or do you use de small rooms?

  6. I have always been in coach. The seats are double the size of airline seats and I'm usually able to get two seats to myself. I bring my own pillow and do manage to sleep but not as soundly as at home but it's only one night.




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