Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Amtrak Auto Train

We are headed out next week on vacation to see my family in Virginia. We are taking the auto train from Sanford, Florida to Lorton, Virginia. This rail car is typical of the ones used to stack the cars two rows high. Amtrak Auto Train is one of the longest trains. Depending on the number of cars loaded on, the train can be up to a mile long!

You turn in your car at the station and they give you a magnetic number to stick on the side of the car. (This identifies your car when they unload at the other end, they call out the numbers as they take the cars off.) The station crew drive the cars on to the elevator platforms and load the cars onto the train.


You board the passenger part of the train, and at 4 PM the train leaves for the 16 hour journey. You can have dinner in the dining car, spend time in the lounge car, or just walk around the train. You can have just regular seats, or a sleeping car (which I prefer).


The really neat thing about the train is the great view. You enter the train at street level, but all the seats and rooms are upstairs. The dining car is a first class restaurant, and even though the train is moving and swaying, the waiters never seem to spill food on you! You watch the landscape go by as you eat your meal.

I am not much of a fan of jet plane travel. (OK, truth be told, I hate it!) Squeezed to capacity in a jet plane is not my idea of fun. The train takes longer, but what do I care? I am retired, I have all the time in the world!

10 comments:

jellyhead said...

Hey, that train sounds like fun! I've always wanted to take a long train trip, but have never done so.
I'm glad you're going to have a holiday break (though of course we'll miss you!)

squire said...

I never knew you could take your car with you. That is so neat.

squire said...

I read your blog daily so I hope you don't mind that I put your link on mine.

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

I didn't know that such a train existed...I think that would be fun. Hope they let you take pictures on it so we can see more of this train.

doubleknot said...

Have a great vacation. Thanks for sharing the pictures of the train.
I remember when I was real young my mother and I rode from Philly to Florida and back on a train. Of course we didn't have all the goodies you have on your train.

susan said...

Sounds like a real adventure! And much better than flying. Hope you have a great trip.

bornfool said...

Sounds like a great way to trave, and you get to take your car with you, too. Have a great vacation.

Thanks for visiting my blog. Don't know how you found me but I'm glad you did. BTW, your dream analysis was spot on, I believe.

Eternally Curious said...

What perfect timing! Thank you Tuff ... I've been thinking of taking my son on a train trip, but having never done it (that I can recall, anyway - I've always been a flyer) I wasn't sure what train travel was like. Your photos and descriptions helped a lot! Have a great vacation!

cmhl said...

that sounds like fun!!!! my son would LOVE that, he is all about trains...

we used to ride the train to chicago-- loved it.

Kerri said...

Wow, that's great! I didn't know you could take your car on a train trip. How convenient. I love riding on trains. That one sounds like fun with the dining car and great views, etc. Hope you have a wonderful vacation.