Just this past week I had the occasion to travel up to New London for some meetings relating to work. Several colleagues flew up there via the short haul cattle car: Southwest Airlines. Originally I was going to drive up since I would rather spend 8 hrs in a car than 2 hours on an airplane. However, a friend told me about another option: the Acela train on AMTRAK. Personally, I had never ridden on AMTRAK. I was initially surprised to discover that, even with all its subsidies, the cost of the ticket was about twice the cost of flying. However, I decided to take a change after hearing my friend give nothing but positive remarks about his experience.
He was absolutely correct. I was able to get the the station 20 minutes before departure time. (Compare that with 2 hours before flight time for BWI airport.) The cars were clean and comfortable: there was enough room in the seats to breathe, move around and even work with my laptop! The car also had outlets to plug in my laptop so the battery didn’t exhaust itself. There was a salon car with a snack bar which served decent premade sandwiches along with soda, beer, wine and coffee. When I arrived at my station (New Haven) I was in my rental car and on the road within 10 minutes of arriving.
Even though I spent hours on the train, I suspect that my total portal to portal time was about the same. Besides, I had four productive hours working on my laptop as we rumbled along the track. Getting the work done more than made up for the difference in ticket prices.
Now if AMTRAK would only put wireless internet access on the trains it would be perfect…….