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!