Riding the rails overnight on Amtrak from Florida to New York City

Jefferson Memorial seen from aboard AmtrakAmtrak overnight trains are the best way to travel across country.

There are plane people. And there are train people. Some people want to get there yesterday. Others, like me, enjoy the journey.  For train people, the trip begins when you step onboard, settle in and wait for that slight forward lurch as the wheels engage, signaling your  journey has begun. It’s slow travel; scenic, relaxing and sometimes adventurous, but never boring.

Postcard of Santa Fe Super Chief at Raton Pass NM Credit: Santa Fe Railroad

Old postcard of the Santa Fe Super Chief at Raton Pass NM Credit: Santa Fe Railroad.

I’ve been riding Amtrak since before there was an Amtrak. My first overnight train ride was a solo trip at age 12 aboard the Santa Fe Super Chief. My dad tipped the room attendant to “keep an eye on me,” I waved good-bye to my parents and as the train left the platform in Chicago, I was on my first train adventure, albeit only to Arizona to visit family.

Then, in 1970, Congress created Amtrak in an attempt to revitalize train travel. The following year, Amtrak officially took over the management of the nation-wide rail system. And so it began.

While the trains’ names may have changed, or worse, disappeared, some linger like the last flicker of sun setting behind the burnt-red colored rocks, ironically seen from aboard the long-running California Zephyr.  It’s quite a picture.

The City of Miami is gone, which ran from Chicago to, you guessed it, Miami. It’s been replaced with Amtrak’s Silver Service trains, running between Miami and New York City. There are two trains that bear this status; the Silver Star and the Silver Meteor, operating about four hours apart. While I’ve been a frequent passenger on both, last week it was the Silver Star that would take me from Winter Park, near Orlando, to New York City. A mere 21 1/2 hours train ride.

Winter Park Florida Amtrak StationMy Amtrak journey begins.

6:30 pm – I arrived at the small but busy Amtrak station in the heart of downtown Winter Park.  I’ve tried the Orlando and Kissimmee train stations and prefer the one in Winter Park.  My train was scheduled to arrive on time at 7:41pm.  After checking in with the station agent, he graciously stowed my bags in his office so that I could walk across the street for a coffee.  I don’t think the gate agent for Delta could do that.  (Note: there is now a new train station in Winter Park that also accommodates the SunRail commuter train network.)

7:20 pm-ish – A five minute walk from the coffee shop and I was back at the station. I could have relinquished my larger suitcase to the baggage car, but I’ve done this run before and know how to safely secure my suitcase in my tiny roomette so it doesn’t take up too much space.

Silver Star arrives at the Winter Park Amtrak Station7:30 pm- The station agent announces the arrival of our train and all the passengers in the building scatter to their designated waiting points along the platform, carefully observing not to get to close to the yellow line.  Coach passengers going to various destinations had different places to stand for their train car. Sleeping car passengers, like me, had our own area to congregate, although there were only four of us compared to at least twenty-five coach passengers. With twenty-four station stops along the way to New York City, it was anyone’s guess who was going where.

Amtrak roomette on the Silver Meteor7:45 pm – My train car attendant checked my ticket, hoisted my luggage onto the train and carried them into my roomette.  I neatly put my bags where they always go; on a ledge, under the seat, next to the door and on a hook.  Tucked away into my little compartment, I said a quiet goodbye to Winter Park and watched out the window as we traveled from urban to rural in a matter of minutes. Another Amtrak adventure was under way.

Dining car without dinner time tableclothsSilver Star Dining Car at lunch time. For dinner, there are tablecloths.

Dinner in the Dining Car

8:00 pm- At the request of the dining room attendant who walked through to welcome the newly-boarded, I left my roomette and walked through two sleeper cars to the dining car for an eight o’clock seating.  The drill was familiar. Wait in the doorway until the Dining Chief beckons and tells you where to sit. You’ll be seated at a table for four and if you are lucky, the three others at your table will be friendly, conversant and all-around pleasant table-mates.

Dining car menu on the Silver StarWhile china plates are now disposable plastic, the cutlery is real as are the wine glasses. Except for the cooked to order steak, much of the food is microwaved. There is a vegetarian option as well as fish. Salad is served (packets of Paul Newman dressing are on each table) with your beverage while your entree is prepared. I choose the “grilled” salmon and rice which was amazingly excellent.  Dessert is always good especially when you can choose from a selection of Hagen Daaz Dixie cups. All meals (and bottled water) are included if you have a a sleeping compartment.

Dinner with new friends on the Silver StarAs for my table-mates, I lucked out. Seated at my table were three other solo women travelers.  One woman, in her mid-sixties, was headed to New York to rendezvous with her new boyfriend that she reconnected with at their 40th high school reunion. Of the other two across from us, one was rather quiet and left for her sleeper right after coffee.  So the three of us closed the diner!

Room service dinner in your sleeping compartmentIf you’re not feeling sociable or just want to have a quiet dinner alone, you can order complimentary room service! Your room attendant will take your order and deliver it to you piping hot. You can do this for any meal. On one returning trip, I was tired and requested room service.  The steak arrived perfectly cooked-to-order and it even included a slice of New York-style cheesecake. (A brief hiccup from my vegan agenda.)

Roomette made up for sleeping9:30 pm – Upon returning to my compartment, my bed had been turned down, an extra pillow added (at my request), shades closed and the tiny reading light above my bed lent a welcoming glow to the room.  Trusty Kindle in hand, I read for a while, peeked out from the shades to see where we had stopped (Florence, SC). As the passengers stepped off the train, hugs were the norm as families and friends were reunited. Shades closed again, I went to sleep.

Nothing could be finer…

7:00 am – We were somewhere in North Carolina and the scenery was beautiful. Of course I couldn’t help but “play” the music and lyrics to that old song over and over in my head. Oh well, it goes with the territory.

8:00 am – Time to eat again. Unlike dinner where you have a reserved seating time, breakfast (and lunch) are open seating. For coach passengers, it’s pay-as-you-go, so many will choose to either brown bag it or get snacks from the Club Car.

Eggs, whether omelet, over-easy or scrambled, are prepared to order. No frozen eggs. Real eggs, real toast and even grits. Not to mention piping hot “train” coffee.  Years ago, the coffee was so strong it didn’t even need a cup. Now it’s mellowed a bit and your cup doesn’t stay empty for too long.

9:30 am – By the time I returned to my room, we were almost out of North Carolina, edging into southern Virginia and only ten hours to New York.   My room was already made up; the bed stowed into the wall and chairs popped back up.  A current USA Today was neatly folded on my chair and a fresh hand towel was placed above the sink.

Public shower in the sleeping carIn case someone feels the need to shower, there is a public shower room in each sleeper car. No one ever seems to use it. On really long-haul trips, I’ll grab my shampoo and conditioner and head over to the shower room. It’s challenging to take a shower on a train going 80 mph, but fun to try. Each roomette has two electric outlets, so after your shower, you can use your hair dryer and charge your phone at the same time. Ooh. The simple things in life.

Instant replay

Before I knew it, the Dining Chief announced yet another meal; it was time for lunch. I closed up my laptop, put it away, slipped my shoes back on and made the “long” walk back to the dining car. Didn’t I just do this a few minutes ago?

1:00pm – Rather than repeat what I wrote about the last two meals, I’ll quickly note that lunch was quite good. There’s a selection of hot and cold sandwiches, a chef’s salad, soup and of course, dessert. There are always a few non-meat meals on an Amtrak menu.

Aboard Amtrak Silver Star somewhere in VirginiaThe day seemed to quickly pass and soon we were in Washington, D.C. En route, the train raced through Richmond,VA as well as a couple of university towns. It’s interesting scenery, so I probably spent as much time looking out of my window as I did trying to write a couple of articles.

Amtrak Silver Service Route.

This route is especially picturesque in winter, even better further north if there’s a dusting of snow. The train rolls past what looks like a scene from a Thomas Kincaid painting; singularly lit little houses and storefronts, no more than maybe two dozen yards away from the tracks. It’s almost like you were suddenly transported to the middle of a toy train set, one that was carefully assembled in a cozy living room over the winter holidays.  It’s all too quaint.

Since we were scheduled to arrive into New York City just a little before eight o’clock, there wasn’t dinner service, though the Club Car would serve lighter fare. The crew had to break everything down, tally up and clean up before reaching New York’s historic Pennsylvania Station.  The past eighteen hours seemed like an eat-a-thon anyway, so I wasn’t hungry. And it would give me something to do in NYC; find a restaurant with take-out, close to the hotel.

Taking photos from the train.

7:00 pm – Time to start organizing and putting away. Over the years, I’ve learned to pack for the train so repacking isn’t too difficult. It’s all the electronic miscellany that slows me down. Cords, charges, phone, camera, batteries…all have to be put away.  If you’re wondering why I have my camera out, it’s because I keep it at the ready to take photos from the train.

Jefferson Memorial seen from aboard AmtrakIf you are remotely interested, it is very important to be ready because, going 70 mph, you have to frame and shoot pretty fast. Lighting is also an issue as is the reflection in the window. I find it helps to sit in the chair that faces forward, (there are two chairs in a roomette) then when you spot something coming up, you  quickly jump to the other chair that makes you sit backwards. The angle of looking back at the glass window diminishes the glare or reflection so you can get a pretty good shot. That’s how I was able to get the shot of the Jefferson Memorial.

Arriving New York City Penn Station

7:30 pm – Our train began its descent under the Hudson River which takes about 3-4 minutes in the one-way tunnel (built in 1910.)  The ascent begins, your ears pop and you emerge under the bright lights of bustling Penn Station.  Time to assemble my luggage. A train person had walked past my room just before arriving in New York asking if anyone would need luggage assistance. Unfortunately, I didn’t hear her.

Arriving into Penn Station in New York CityAs the train slowly came to a halt, the transom opened, the stairs unfolded and an extended arm from the attendant helped all of us alight from the train. I was the last to leave and to my dismay, the Red Cap had already left with his luggage cart filled to the max.  I was alone on the platform, hoping for another Red Cap to come by.  Not one in sight.

Just as I was about to haul my gear myself, the conductor steps off the train and asks why I didn’t already have the Red Cap to assist me. I said I didn’t hear the announcement and I was waiting to see if anyone would return with a luggage cart.

He said no, they had left, but he would help me.  I tried to convince him otherwise…it wasn’t in his job description for sure. But he wouldn’t take no for an answer.  He wheeled my two heaviest bags across the platform, up the escalator, and across the expansive station. Not only did he take my bags to the curb, he also flagged down a taxi!  When was the last time a co-pilot or flight navigator helped with YOUR luggage! Even though he refused, I insisted on giving him the tip that would have gone to the Red Cap. “Take you wife out for a drink or a movie,” I suggested, as she was patiently waiting for him on the platform when he sped past with my luggage.

How much did this trip cost?

Cost of the train ticket including accommodation, bottled water and three meals: $381. Taxi from Penn Station to my hotel: $6.50.  Italian take-out dinner: $31.  Time spent traveling aboard the Silver Star: priceless. (Sorry, MasterCard, it was too good to resist.)

Aboard the Sunset Limited somewhere in New MexicoN.B. There’s something magic about train travel. Maybe it’s the throwback to a simpler time or a childhood memory. Whatever it is; the sound of a distant train whistle, the rumble of the wheels as the train passes by or a wave from the engineer to a small, wide-eyed child, there’s something uniquely special about trains.

Photo credit: Santa Fe Railroad (Super Chief postcard) and the rest are mine.

By |April 12th, 2015|Amtrak, Trains|

97 Comments

  1. Susan S. December 10, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    Oh, man!! I wish I could take this trip! Your story made my day. Thank you. 🙂

  2. Bernie March 3, 2013 at 11:50 am

    Great tip about taking the photos while travelling backwards to minimise the glare. And a lovely travelogue too – train journeys are definitely high on my favourites list.

  3. Cruise Maven (Sherry Laskin)
    Cruise Maven (Sherry Laskin) March 3, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    Thanks, Bernie. Appreciate your comment.

    Sherry

  4. Bill Wrenn April 11, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Lovely photos and interesting travelogue! My wife and I took the Zephyr year before last and plan a trip on the Empire Builder this summer. Also rode the Silver Star a few years back. Train travel is the best!

  5. Cruise Maven (Sherry Laskin)
    Cruise Maven (Sherry Laskin) April 12, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    Hi Bill,

    Thanks for your kind comments. I totally agree about train travel!

    Sherry

  6. Denise April 21, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    Hello, It looks like you had a wonderful trip. I am planning my trip to NYC from Jacksonville, fl with my two children. It will b a first for them. However the price are just for me and my son round trip approximately $800-starting in Charlotte nc- I can’t include my daughter online -have to do it over the phone-. How did you get this low fare considering it was starting in Fl? Did you have a special deal?

    Thanks a lot for sharing!

  7. Cruise Maven (Sherry Laskin)
    Cruise Maven (Sherry Laskin) April 25, 2013 at 9:42 am

    Hi Denise,

    No special deal. It was a one-way ticket so it was just about half of what you were quoted for a round-trip. Have a wonderful time.

    Sherry

  8. Carol B April 28, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    Sherry, I enjoyed your train accounts both to LA and NYC. We take the train all the time and with the two of us we are partial to the roomette each. For FL to NYC and the bedroom going to LA.
    I always tell people it is like singing “America the Beautiful” traveling westward on the train. You get to see the beautiful country in which we live. I love coming in to D.C. and watching all the symbols of or country from the train. I am fascinated by the Winter Park station in FL.To me it looks like a quaint little town.
    People are always amazed that one can go from the East Coast to HI without flying.
    Continue to enjoy your travels.
    Carol B

  9. Cruise Maven (Sherry Laskin)
    Cruise Maven (Sherry Laskin) April 30, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Hi Carol,

    Thank you for reading my stories. I totally agree. Definitely a roomette up the east coast and a bedroom going west…anywhere west! Save travels and thanks again!

    Sherry

  10. Christina Brown May 5, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    Hey
    I came across your article while deciding on whether to
    take the train or bus for my trip to Miami from
    New York. This article if very descriptive and your story is
    sweet. Hopefully you can offer me some advice as this would be my
    first time traveling on Amtrak and I’m slightly nervous lol

  11. Cruise Maven (Sherry Laskin)
    Cruise Maven (Sherry Laskin) May 6, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    Hi Christina,

    Thanks for reading the article. You’ll have a fine time on the train to NYC. Travel light and for convenience, pack a separate overnight bag (or keep what you’ll need for the train trip separate) and it’ll be a breeze. Save room at dinner because the desserts are great!

    Happy travels.

    Sherry

  12. Chris May 23, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    Really liked your youtube video from Florida to NYC. We’re planning on going on our first amtrak trip this fall. Orlando to NYC. My question was on tipping. Do you tip one person or individually per day. I’m not cheap having worked for tips back in the day. Just wanted to do it right. Appreciate ur advice. And will be making Martinis in ur name. 🙂

  13. Cruise Maven (Sherry Laskin)
    Cruise Maven (Sherry Laskin) May 25, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for your nice comment. In regards to tipping, it’s customary to tip your room attendant $10-$20 per room, depending upon the level of service, for example…if you ordered dinner in your compartment it’s your room attendant’s job to take the order, pick it up and deliver it to you. In that case, I’d definitely go with $20. Since your meals are including with First Class, I recommend: $2.00 pp at breakfast, $3-4.00 per person at lunch and $5.00 pp at dinner. These are just guidelines and reflect an 18-20% tip should you have had to pay for the same meals. For your room attendant, it’s customary to hand him or her your tip as you depart the train at your destination.

    Hope this is helpful. Enjoy the journey and cheers!

    Sherry

  14. Chris Gunter May 28, 2013 at 3:21 am

    Thanks for all the great advice. I’m drive a over the road truck driver. So kicking back and letting someone else do the driving is a homerun for us. That steak in ur article looked pretty good too. I’m sure we’ll have some more questions before we go. Definitely will be hitting u up with some more advice. Thks Chris

  15. Peter July 19, 2013 at 6:54 am

    Hi Sherry,

    I love trains and I loved reading your report. Beautifully written with warmth and humor. I am Australian and try and travel on trains at least once every trip. I am looking at travelling Orlando to New York in December. Last month I did the Adirondak train from New York to Montreal. I really enjoyed the trip. Then did Via from Montreal to Toronto. I have also done the short NYC to DC run.

  16. Cruise Maven (Sherry Laskin)
    Cruise Maven (Sherry Laskin) July 19, 2013 at 9:08 am

    Thanks, Peter. Enjoy your next train ride.
    Sherry

  17. Sara Ward August 15, 2013 at 7:41 am

    Enjoyed reading your travel log very much. And the pictures were sensational. As an aside, I also appreciated your grammar…plural subject with a plural verb…at last! I share you love of trains (for the scenery and ability to get up and walk around). I travelled from San Francisco to New York via train in the 90s, and I liked everything about it…and I didn’t have a sleeper or roomette (older now, I wouldn’t do that again). Keep writing…you have a gift. God bless. Sara

  18. Michèle November 12, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    Hello, Sherry,
    I really enjoyed your description of your Miami-NYC train trip, as I am thinking of taking a NYC-Jacksonville train in March 2014 to spend a week in St. Augustines. Two years ago, I took Amtrak from Montreal (Canada) to NYC, stayed in NYC one night and boarded a train to Savannah the next morning. While only a snack bar was available, it was relatively pleasant until the evening when washrooms were sadly neglected by staff. Following the advice of many bloggers, I had brought a small cooler and my own lunch and dinner. I can see from your description that a roomette provides better comfort and dining options. I am not at all fond of flying and as a senior female traveling solo, the train is my favourite. Thank you for sharing your experience. Michèle, Hull, Québec, Canada

  19. Bus Kusmulyono November 17, 2013 at 7:26 am

    I am Indonesian with global citizenship, have homes in Bali, Jakarta Java, Singapore, Kaysville Utah and L.A. Ca. My wife and I both are over 60 and love to travel all over the world. In USA we have travelled on Route 66 from Chicago to LA, cruises to Alaska and the Bahamas, as well as taking Amtrak LA to San Diego, SF to Salt Lake City, NYC to Boston and DC. We are now dreaming to take Amtrak Silver Miami to NYC on summer June 2014. We wonder if we can share with tourists from oversea who have had the experience with Amtrak Miami to NYC route. Among other questions is on bringing big size luggages since we will travel around the world, at least each of us will carry two big size 32″ suitcases. Will it be convenient to travel on Amtrak train with four such suitcases plus hand carried bags?

  20. Cruise Maven (Sherry Laskin)
    Cruise Maven (Sherry Laskin) November 21, 2013 at 10:49 am

    Thank you for your question. I would suggest that you contact Amtrak (+1.800.USA.RAIL / +1.800.872.7245) for exact requirements. I would suggest that you use checked baggage for your four pieces of over-sized luggage and pack one or two small carry-on bags for the overnight trip. Luggage must be checked in at the station no less than 30 minutes before departure.

    Have a wonderful train journey.

    Sherry

  21. Cruise Maven (Sherry Laskin)
    Cruise Maven (Sherry Laskin) November 21, 2013 at 10:54 am

    Hi Michele,

    Thank you for relating your train experiences. Sadly, public restrooms in coach cars, whether here or in Europe, are not in the most perfect condition after several hours of the trip. The only exception I would remark, is on the long-haul, cross-country Amtrak trains. The roomettes do not have their own facilities and except for one restroom on the upper level, there are several on the first level. Thankfully, the Amtrak car attendant keeps the restrooms in great condition and sanitation, throughout the two-night train trip.

    Have a wonderful train trip from NYC to Jacksonville. The sooner that you reserve a roomette, the lower the fare.

    Sherry

  22. Bus KUSMULJONO November 22, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    Thank u Sherry for ur reply. Now we are more determined to take the Silver Star Amtrak from Miami to NYC in June 2014. We hope there will be many others to join and we all can become new friends. Just one more query, how many hours exactly the trip will take, as there are different figures from two sources, 21,5 and 28 hours. Our best regards from Bali Indonesia.

  23. Cruise Maven (Sherry Laskin)
    Cruise Maven (Sherry Laskin) November 30, 2013 at 8:20 am

    Dear Bus in Bali,

    There are two Amtrak trains between New York City and Miami. You can choose either one as they are both the same type of train. The only difference is the departure times. If you want to spend more time in Miami, then I would suggest that you reserve a roomette on the later train. I hope this is helpful. Thank you.

    Sherry

  24. Ramon January 19, 2014 at 5:29 pm

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  25. Rick Oliva January 19, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    Wonderful and very informative video! We were wondering…from NJ to Miami, is it best to take a cab from the station to a rental car facility at Miami Intl airport?? We have reserved a bedroom for our travels from NJ, and were told to get an upper level one due to wheel noise. We thought there weren’t any on the lower level. Also, silly question, but do they use real wine glasses in the lounge and dining cars?!? Thank you,

  26. Cruise Maven (Sherry Laskin)
    Cruise Maven (Sherry Laskin) January 22, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    Hi,

    Thanks very much for watching my video. Yes, a taxi to the rental car facility or check to see if one of the rental car companies can pick you up at the Miami Amtrak Station. Actually, I think there may be a Hertz counter right there. Regarding the upper level, the Silver Service trains between Miami and NYC are one-level. You can try to choose a compartment in the middle of the car. If you’re not sure, ask the Amtrak reservationist. Generally, the mid-car roomettes are not the lowest numbers. And about the wine glasses, in the dining car, the wine glasses are glass. Not sure about from the club car, though.

    Have a great trip!

    Sherry

  27. Cassy J January 27, 2014 at 12:12 am

    Hello cruisemaven,

    I just happened to run up on your page while searching for information on the Amtrak travel between NJ and Orlando. Can you tell me how on-time the train is? Is it often late? I’ve traveled by rail several times. Our last family trip on Amtrak was on the Autotrain and it was about 7 hours late. I know the Autotrain is much longer, so perhaps that kind of delay is not typical. We are planning to cruise out of Port Canaveral, and a train ride would be much easier on the wallet and the nerves than flying. Any input you have would be helpful. Love your website!

  28. Cruise Maven (Sherry Laskin)
    Cruise Maven (Sherry Laskin) January 27, 2014 at 12:22 am

    Hi Cassy,

    Sorry to hear that your Autotrain was so late. The Silver Service between Miami and NYC usually runs pretty close to on-time but if there is a freight delay, it’s the fault of the freight lines as they have right of way over passenger trains, as there’s nothing to do but wait. I would definitely suggest arriving the day before, just to be safe and to start your cruise relaxed. Since you are leaving from Port Canaveral, I will guess that you plan to get off/on the train in Orlando? There usually is a Hertz rental right there at that station. Another convenient Amtrak station is Winter Park…the station just north of the Orlando station. There is an Avis rental 1/2 mile away and they will pick you up at the Amtrak station to get your car rental at their office. That’s the station that I always use; less crowded, quaint neighborhood and they’re building a new facility.

    Have a great train ride and a wonderful cruise! Thanks again for stopping by!

    Sherry
    Cruise Maven

  29. Cassy J January 27, 2014 at 11:08 am

    Thank you so much for your reply Sherry. We definitely plan to arrive the day before. And I will look into the Winter Park station.

  30. ben February 15, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    Hi Sherry,

    I’m wondering if you have any idea or thoughts on what it might be like to travel the same distance in coach.

    From Philadelphia to Tampa is $530.00 with a room.

    Thank you!

  31. Sherry Laskin
    Sherry Laskin March 6, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    Hi Ben,

    Rates on Amtrak fluctuate as unpredictably as the airlines. You can continue to check pricing and availability at Amtrak.com in case there is a price drop.

    Sherry

  32. Ben March 7, 2014 at 9:02 am

    Regarding your previous response (see below), I was referring the the physical experience of riding in coach for 24 hours. Thank you!

    in response to ben:

    Hi Sherry, I’m wondering if you have any idea or thoughts on what it might be like to travel the same distance in coach. From Philadelphia to Tampa is $530.00 with a room. Thank you!

    Hi Ben,

    Rates on Amtrak fluctuate as unpredictably as the airlines. You can continue to check pricing and availability at Amtrak.com in case there is a price drop.

    Sherry

  33. Sherry Laskin
    Sherry Laskin March 7, 2014 at 9:18 am

    Hi Ben,

    Sorry for the confusion. Sitting up in coach is do-able. Bring an small pillow and travel blanket for the most comfort. Someone once suggested the purchase of two seats next to each other, and have one seat remain empty. I don’t know if this is permitted but it’s definitely a way to a better night’s sleep. Also, I’d suggest DVDs or books or some distraction. You can still of course, enjoy the dining car and lounge car. Alternatively, check out the price of a sleeper at various segments along the way. For example, at Richmond, Raleigh or Rocky Mount to Tampa. You’d be in coach til Raleigh and then move into the sleeper in the evening. Sometimes you can save money this way.

    Hope this helps!

    Sherry

  34. ben March 7, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Thank you Sherry! Those are excellent tips!

  35. Sherry Laskin
    Sherry Laskin March 7, 2014 at 10:13 am

    Thanks! Enjoy your trip!

    Sherry

  36. Sylvia March 18, 2014 at 7:44 am

    Hi sherry wonder if u can help me we r boarding an amtrak train from Fort Lauderdale to New York we r in our late 60 to75 age will we automatically get a reclining seat .we r doing a two week cruise from Southampton staying in Fort Lauderdale overnight then amtrak for 26 hours .?2 nights in New York then 7 night cruise home .thank u x

  37. Sherry Laskin
    Sherry Laskin April 1, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    Hi Sylvia,

    I apologize if I did not reply to your email last week. If I understand your question, yes…all of the coach seats recline. If possible, I would suggest that you contact Amtrak and see if any roomettes are available for purchase. There is also a senior discount on the rail fare (not accommodations) for 62+. Bon Voyage!

    Sherry

  38. Elisa A Batista April 7, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    Thank you so much for having all this information for us who dont fly. I have a fobia of planes, my partner, Maria doesnt, as a matter of fact shes scared of the train derrailing bc weve seen in the news such a horror happening, but shes willing to take a relaxant so she can do it. We are planning to visit out cousin in Queens , N Y for Thanksgiving. We want the accomodations ” Deluxe”, comfortable and a little more spacious, with the bathroom inside, etc. We are waiting for our son Robert to let us know if his coming with us or not, i told him to let us know A S A P, bc especially in Thanksgiving Amtrak gets booked. Please give us some feed back, we would love to hear from you. Elisa and Maria.

  39. Sherry Laskin
    Sherry Laskin April 7, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    Hi Elisa,

    Thank you for reading about my train experience. My best advice, especially if you are planning to travel during Thanksgiving, is to book your deluxe accommodation as soon as possible. Not only do the rates increase as the amount of sleepers decrease, there are only a handful of the deluxe sleepers.

    Have a wonderful rail journey.

    Sherry

  40. Zef May 12, 2014 at 8:31 am

    I’d like to know:
    1. Can be a possibbile to travel from W.P.Beach(or Palm Beach Garden) to New York ?
    2.If yes how much it costs ?
    3.How much time will travel keeps?
    4.Do there have a bedroom (cabin)for a familly couple?
    Thank you

  41. Sherry Laskin
    Sherry Laskin May 26, 2014 at 9:42 am

    Yes, you can travel from WPB to New York. If you visit http://www.amtrak.com or call 1-800-USA-RAIL, you’ll get answers to all of your questions.

    Sherry

  42. John Fitzgerald June 4, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    Excellent article. A friend of mine traveled Amtrak from Washington DC back to Fort Lauderdale after my wedding in D.C. and had the same sleeping car. We have been thinking about an overnight train trip with a sleeping car and after this article, I will definitely do it!

  43. Becky July 16, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Thank you for writing such a great article. My husband and two children are taking the train from NYC to WPB(August 9) and bought coach seats but now I am worried the kids (13 and 8) won’t be able to sleep at all in coach. Is it that noisy and uncomfortable? Also, thinking of bringing food on for dinner on Saturday night( We board at 3:15) when we leave and eating breakfast or lunch in dining car. Since there are no reservations how can we figure out how to go try and get a seat for all four of use without all of us traipsing through the entire train. We are LIRR people and have done Amtrak to Hudson NY but never an over nighter. Penn station is always so chaotic – will it be evident when we get to our train how to check our luggage etc?
    Thank you for any answers and for your articles.

  44. Sherry Laskin
    Sherry Laskin July 16, 2014 at 11:19 am

    Hi Becky,
    I’ll try to answer your questions. Going coach isn’t the best option, but it certainly is the most economical. Bring small blankets and pillows for all of you, so you can be more comfortable. I’d suggest bringing snacks and beverages (water) with you, but remember that there is a good selection of food/snacks and drinks to purchase in the lounge car. For dinner in the dining car, I’d suggest that either you or your husband make your way to the dining car shortly after you board and speak with the dining car supervisor to find out how to best arrange your dinner seating if you decide to have dinner in the dining car. There are no reservations for breakfast or lunch.

    Penn Station is really very easy to navigate, especially if you enter from the street level at 32nd and 8th. Checked luggage is back in the corner on the main floor. Ask any police or Amtrak personnel and they will direct you.

    If anyone has a tablet or computer or video player, I’d suggest bringing several movies or ebooks (and earphones!) to pass the time. Thanks for writing and have a fun trip!

    Sherry

  45. Cetow Carter October 24, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    Hi Sherry – Great trip report. Traveling to NY for QM2 Christmas/New Year voyage & contemplating Silver Meteor from Winter Park to Penn Station. Is there any (unpleasant) odor from the toilette in the Roomette? Thanks

  46. Kevin Verrette October 30, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    Hi Sherry, I loved your impression of your travel on Amtrak. I love Amtrak as well. My husband Carlos and I had a wonderful experience during July 2014. Loved the whole journey.

    kevin
    boston ma

  47. Tom November 9, 2014 at 1:55 am

    Hi Sherry,

    Thank you for the informative post about Amtrak travel! My girlfriend and I are Australian and are thinking of traveling from New York to Miami as we have a cruise departing from there early next year (Jan/Feb).

    I was just curious is it possible to purchase tickets for this journey which let you disembark at a station if you want to stay somewhere for a night then catch the next service which passes through? For example if we would like to get off in Savannah, stay a couple of days then get on another service to Miami? Any advice would be appreciated.

    Thank you!

    Tom

  48. Bruce Gibbins December 1, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    It was early october, 2010, I traveled on the Silver Meteor from, Miami to Palatka, Fl., to visit with friends there – well, Melrose, Fl., actually, but Palatka was the closest station to Melrose. I rode coach, bought a snack lunch to take back to my seat. Coach seating is comfortable and accomodating being of a similar size to an airliners Bussiness Class seats.
    As the train neared Palatka I felt dissapointed that my journey of some eight hours was over, I could have happily continued on the rest of the way to Penn Station, NY.

    Next year sometime, I fully intend to do just that – ride the Silver Meteor from NYC to Miami and return again a couple of days latter. Thats my hope, anyway.

  49. Sherry Laskin
    Sherry Laskin December 1, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    Hi Bruce,

    Thanks for your comment. There’s something addictive about train travel. Have a good trip next year!

  50. Sherry Laskin
    Sherry Laskin December 1, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    Hi Tom,

    Thanks for reading the post. Amtrak offers a USA Rail Pass which you can purchase for 15, 30 or 45 days of travel. Similar to a Eurail Pass, you also need to have a seat ticket. Sleeping accommodations can be purchased in conjunction with the Rail Pass. You can call 1-800-USA-RAIL and when “Julie” answers, say, “Agent.” Eventually, you’ll get a real person. Good luck and have a wonderful trip!

    Sherry

  51. Sherry Laskin
    Sherry Laskin December 1, 2014 at 11:24 pm

    Hi Kevin,

    So glad to know you had an excellent Amtrak trip. Thanks for reading my post.

    Sherry

  52. Sherry Laskin
    Sherry Laskin December 1, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    Hi Cetow,

    Thank you for reading the article. No…there isn’t any issue with odors eminating from the toilet in the roomette. They are kept very clean for each new passenger in the compartment. Have a wonderful cruise (on one of my most favorite ships) and a terrific train ride to get to NYC. If you haven’t seen the new Winter Park train station, you’re in for a treat!

    Hint: To get through the immigration line more quickly after your QM2 cruise, hire a porter. They will whisk you and your luggage right through in no time at all.

    Sherry

  53. Don Nadeau December 3, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    Hi Sherry,

    Thank you so much for the tip on avoiding glare on trains. Nearly all of my photos taken through train windows have been marred by glare.

    Since you posted this, Winter Park has gotten a nice new station.

  54. Sherry Laskin
    Sherry Laskin December 18, 2014 at 11:57 pm

    Hi Don,

    Thanks for reading the article and hope you’ll have a better time with your Amtrak photos. Yes, I recently visited the Winter Park station. It looks great!

    Sherry

  55. Barry O'Brien October 17, 2015 at 11:38 am

    A couple of corrections. Winter Park may have a commuter rail station, but it’s not Tri-Rail. Tri-Rail runs from Miami to Mangonia Park, just north of West Palm Beach. Also….Quantico is a MARINE base, not Air Force!

  56. Sherry Kennedy October 17, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    Thank you for pointing out the errors and the corrections are complete.

  57. Sherry Kennedy October 17, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    Thank you for pointing out the errors. Corrections have been made.

  58. Chris November 3, 2015 at 2:13 am

    Just wondering if the prices you mentioned were round trip. That would be the price of dreams not including you probably scheduled early and got a deal in that as well. Would be nice if you had amtrack ads for pricing instead of a cruise ad[get some affilate traffic for you to ride what you like]

    Also my question would be are those food prices accurate still or have they changed drastically in the last 3 years. I can only hope having an amtrack membership helps bring some prices down or at least get you “on the right track” for saving later.

    Thanks for the article I hope I find more 😉

  59. Brian November 9, 2015 at 2:04 am

    Thanks for sharing this experience. I’m moving to Sarasota next month, and have been thinking about taking this trip to NYC, I guess from Tampa. I need to figure out the best starting point. It seems there’s a shuttle from Bradenton, but I may want to drive to the station and leave the car there. It looks like an excellent trip for taking photos.

  60. Jane December 10, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    Sherry: I am 82yrs old, going to Delray Beach,fl from NJ with a Sleeper with a toilet. However I see how small the rooms are and I sometimes have Claustraphobia. Will I be ok? I am going alone. I’m trying to decide on a train ride or a 3 hr plane trip 1st class as I do’nt like to fly, but am also anxious with the train ride. . Can someone help me decide…Jane

  61. Jane December 10, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    Sherry: PS: I am scheduled on the Silver Meteor. 2/21, coming back 3/17 Waiting for your reply. thanks

  62. Jane December 10, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    Sherry: I made the reservation on The Silver Meteor before I read some of the comments that were not satisfactory, especially that the trains are usually late. Before I cancel those reservations, please help this 82Yr old that was so excited before, and now I’m anxious and worried about the Claustraphobic situation. Thanks for any help.

  63. Alan January 17, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    Thanks we look like doing Orlando to NY and return in May this year. We are from Australia, the train looks great.

  64. Sherry Kennedy
    Sherry Kennedy January 17, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    Hi Alan,
    Glad to hear you’ll try our trains! If you are reserved on the Silver Star (there are two trains between NYC and Orlando) and not the Silver Meteor, be aware that more than likely, there will not be a dining car on your train. This means there is only the café car and it gets crowded. I’m going to assume that you have reserved a roomette or a deluxe bedroom for your journey. If you are on the Silver Star, your car attendant can go to the café car for you and bring your order to your accommodation. Sure is better than waiting in line for 30n minutes on a bumpy train! Have a wonderful time and remember…Amtrak isn’t like the TGV or Virgin trains. It’s all we have and despite the aging equipment and rough rides from time to time, it’s a wonderful experience.

  65. Sophia January 26, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    Sherry, i am so delighted to read your vivid account, i really enjoyed it. In fact my husband and i are planning a trip to Miami for a graduation this year and i hope we can go also use the Silver Star?

  66. Sherry Kennedy
    Sherry Kennedy January 26, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    Hi Sophia,

    Thank you very much! Please note that the Silver Star no longer has a proper dining car. The only food offerings are in the Café Car and while there is a fairly decent selection, the crowds can be overwhelming at times. Be sure to ask your car attendant to bring your meal to your room. He or she can expedite the service. Also, once you decide if you are going to take Amtrak, make your reservation sooner rather than later as sleeping accommodations sell out quick and the price goes up. Have a wonderful time. Thank you for your comment. Sherry

  67. Tara February 24, 2016 at 5:33 am

    I’m looking for a train ride from NY to Florida. I do not fly. Is this something for me, are there stops? Thank you

  68. Sherry Kennedy
    Sherry Kennedy March 1, 2016 at 10:19 am

    Hi Tara,

    Sure! Amtrak has two daily trains between New York City and Miami. Just call 1-800-USA-RAIL or check their website for details.

  69. Jen March 7, 2016 at 9:10 am

    My son and I will be traveling from Trenton NJ to Savannah GA on the Silver Meteor this month. I was curious how to deal with our baggage. According to our departing station there isn’t any checked baggage service. What do we do with our baggage when we get to station? Do they have to fit in our Roomette?

  70. Sherry Kennedy
    Sherry Kennedy March 9, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    Hi Jen, it could be a tight fit depending upon how much and the size of your luggage. Unfortunately, checked baggage is usually only available at major hub train stations (they’d need a baggage cart and someone to operate and load it.) In your roomette, there is a small overhead storage bin, but it’s tough to get a heavy bag up there. If this is an extended trip with tons of luggage, you might look into a luggage delivery service. Otherwise, you could ask your car attendant if there is any place to stow your extra bags. Sometimes there’s an empty room or I’ve known times when the attendant will wheel an excess piece of luggage to the baggage car. I hope this is helpful. Happy travels! Sherry

  71. Sherry Kennedy
    Sherry Kennedy March 9, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    Hi Jane, I hope your trip went well. I had replied right away to your comment, but now I see that it didn’t appear. My apologies as I sensed you were leery about your train ride and I hoped to have been able to put your mind at ease. Sherry

  72. ~ TheCosmoGal / Tracey July 14, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    Hi Sherry~
    Loved your account of the trip and all of the positive information and posts listed here. Traveling this weekend from BOS>MIA for work and now I know I made the right decision. I am just not a “flyer” anymore, but really do want to travel more, and thought this was a great way to get to and from. Look forward to reading more about your trips – and will be posting about my own trip this upcoming week. I also appreciate you saying that you are a “travel writer who does not fly…. I hope to inspire you to travel without flying.” I think those of us who do not fly should also be seen as confident for the modes of transportation we do choose to use and that’s what I felt when I read your description. Sometimes its more about the journey than the destination (and yes, you may quote me on that 😉 Safe travels to all!

  73. Sherry Kennedy
    Sherry Kennedy July 14, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    Hi Tracey,
    Welcome to the non-flyers club! Amazing that you are able to get a running start for your trip to Miami. Have a wonderful trip. I don’t know which side of the train you will be, but if you’re on the right side going south, be sure to spot the Jefferson Memorial just before the bridge from DC and keep an eye out (either side) when you cross the Chesapeake…it’s beautiful. Have a wonderful train ride and thank you for taking the time for your comment. Great domain name! Happy travels!

  74. Paul August 21, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    Hi Sherry,

    We are from England, UK and have pondered on doing this journey a few years now but the other way from New York to Miami.
    We plan on getting a plane from UK to Manhatten and staying at the New Yorker which is just opposite Penn station for 3/4 nights before taking the Amtrak silver star to Winter Park.
    We’ve been to Winter park, Park ave many times whilst staying in Orlando and just love the shops on Park Ave with its squirrels and its scenic boat tour.
    We were planning on hiring a car from Winter Park for the remain of our two week vacation in Florida!!!
    Do they do cabins for 2 adults and a child(13 yrs)?
    Also, what side of the train is best for views?
    Is it best to sit on the left or on the right or does it not really matter?
    Just wondered so I could get a shot of the Jefferson Memorial like you did and any other good shots.
    Obviously, we will be travelling the opposite direction to yours so will need to take that into account!!!
    Beats flying any day!!!

  75. Sherry Kennedy
    Sherry Kennedy August 22, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    Hi Paul,
    Thank you for your email and your nice compliment about my photo. I must congratulate you for knowing (and taking!) the Winter Park boat tour. I’ve taken that boat ride many times over the years and it’s so much fun. Okay, about the train ride. You said you planned to take the Silver Star from NYC to Miami. Be aware that the Silver Star does not have a dining car. The only food option is from the Amcafé car, cold or microwaved food. Now because you’d be in an accommodation, your car attendant can take your food order and go to the café car for you and bring it back to your room. However, if you want the dining car experience, then your other option is to be aboard the Silver Meteor (NYC-MIA) which has the iconic Amtrak dining car for three complimentary meals a day.

    About what to reserve for compartment(s). You have two options: 1. Reserve two Roomettes right across from each other or 2. Book a bedroom suite, which is two adjoining bedrooms, each having it’s own en suite bathroom. The roomette has a sink and toilet (it’s in your room but not in an enclosed space) and the shower facility is down the hall.

    About what side of the train is best. If you get two roomettes (definitely the lesser expensive option) then no matter where the scenery is, you can hop back and forth between compartments! If you opt for the two attached bedrooms then it’s not easy to predict which side of the train you’ll be because the car can be coupled from either end.

    I don’t know what season you will travel but in order to get a really clear view of the Memorial, it can’t be during the summer as trees and leaves obscure the view. However, there’s my trick. Looking out the window while sitting on the right-hand side of the train as you head southbound…you’ll pass a lot of official Washington DC buildings and go over a couple of highways. If you are looking forward and see where the river and bridge begin, (it’s tricky) the Jefferson Memorial will be on your right side IMMEDIATELY before your train starts to cross the 14th street bridge. So you need to be ready with your camera BEFORE you reach the bridge or it’s almost too late. Here’s your clue: When you see a marina with small boats on your left, you’ll cross a very tiny bridge. Then there’s a small stretch before the 14th street bridge and that’s where the Memorial is located.

    I hope this info is helpful! Thank you again for your email and have a wonderful time! P.S. Feel free to send me YOUR Jefferson Memorial photo!

    Best regards, Sherry

  76. Asaf November 4, 2016 at 10:28 am

    Sherry — thanks for the wonderful article. I plan to take my wife and our kids (9 and 5) from New York to Orlando on the Silver Star bedroom cars on DEc 31st. Any tips for traveling with children, we always fly to Orlando and this will be the first Amtrak trip. I hear the temperature in the rooms can vary (cold to very hot). Thank you!

  77. Sherry Kennedy
    Sherry Kennedy November 6, 2016 at 11:12 am

    Hi Asaf, thank you for reading my Amtrak article. Keep in mind that the Silver Star no longer offers a dining car. There is a snack bar of sorts with microwave pizza, cold sandwiches, and a big selection of chips, nuts, beverages etc. Since you are traveling with your children, I’d suggest packing a cooler with foods and drinks for your kids, if possible. While you can get by with the selection Amcafé menu, it may not be the best for kids as sometimes the wait for service can be a while. However, because you are in a bedroom sleeper (with lots of room for a cooler!) your car attendant can and will head to the snack car for you and bring back whatever you’d like. It’s a good idea to bring cash in small bills to give to your car attendant because he or she will pay the snack bar server for your room service order. If it gets chilly, you can always ask for an extra blanket (they’re pretty thin) but you might consider bringing a small throw blanket from home. Chances are your room will be warmer than colder! Have a terrific train trip!

  78. Tara November 26, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    HI Sherry,
    My mother and I plan on taking Amtrak this December from Palm Beach to New York. We are in VIEWLINER ROOMETTE, room 001. I am worried that this is right by the doors and coffee station and may be noisy. By chance would you know the best areas to stay in or the areas to definitely avoid?
    I loved reading your story and look forward to our trip.
    Thank you
    Tara

  79. Sherry Kennedy
    Sherry Kennedy December 2, 2016 at 9:49 am

    Hi Tara, Lucky you! It’s a very nice train ride, especially in December when all the little houses near the railroad tracks are decorated for Christmas. From my experience, the coffee station is at the other end of the car near rooms 11 and 12. Room 1 is usually just past the deluxe bedrooms and not over the wheels. Even if you are near the coffee station and door, this shouldn’t present any negative experiences. You didn’t mention if you were on the Silver Star or Silver Meteor. If it’s the Star, keep in mind that there is no dining car, only a snack bar, but your car attendant can go to the snack bar for you. Be sure to take cash with you and tip him/her for snack delivery if you use this added service. Have a great ride and thank you for your questions. Sherry

  80. Peter McDade January 22, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    Hi Sherry,
    I really enjoyed reading your fascinating story of your journey on AMTRAC. We are from Scotland and regularly travel from Glasgow to London first class, If we book well in advance we pay only a few pounds more, and sometimes the same cost as a second class ticket. We both love train journeys and travel this way as often as possible.
    The Journey time is between Glasgow and London is only approx 6 hrs and sounds like a breeze compared to the journey which you undertook.
    We have just retuned from a cruise from New York to the Caribbean and stayed 3 nights in NY at the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel on 48th Ave and 34th Street diagonally across from Penn Station and Madison Square Gardens. We had a the wonderful opportunity to meet up with relatives in NY.
    Next year we hope to take a cruise from Miami to different Islands, and then travel to NY to meet up with family again. The information that you have given will be very useful in helping us plan our trip. Your story has been invaluable and will certainly help us to plan and make the most of our journey.
    The photographs are also very good and give us an idea of the scenery countryside
    Once again, thank you for such a wonderful travelogue.

  81. Sherry Kennedy
    Sherry Kennedy January 23, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    Hi Peter,
    Thank you for the glowing review. Much appreciated. I too have taken the train between London and Glasgow (and then onto Gourock and ferry to Dunoon!) and it is a great train ride. The location of your hotel in NYC put you right in the midst of the action – so much fun. When you plan your Amtrak trip from Miami to NYC, if you can budget for a bedroom (not a roomette) and also to go on the Silver Meteor (with the dining car) vs. the Silver Star without a dining can, you will enjoy your trip even more. Thank you again for reading my Amtrak articles and taking the time for such a nice email. Feel free to email me if you have any questions.
    Sherry

  82. Al Beck January 29, 2017 at 8:29 pm

    Hi Sherry

    I see you traveled from Winter Park. We are trying to figure out which train station in Florida has a car rental agency within walking distance? Looks like Winter Park has an Enterprise Rental just a couple of blocks away……..any suggestions??

    How about Deland Station…….

    Our plan is to take the train down to Fla, rent a car and then drive down to the keys.

    Thanks
    Al and Kathy

  83. Sherry Kennedy
    Sherry Kennedy January 30, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    Hi Al, Thanks for reading my blog. I’ve used Avis at Winter Park for years. They will pick you up at the Amtrak station, which is about 1 mile away (they recently moved.) Same with returning the car. You can call them directly and they’ll tell you to call when you pull into the station. I used Enterprise once just to try it. I might try the Deland station sometime…but Winter Park is really convenient and easy and parking is free if you can find a spot! Have a wonderful trip.

  84. Georgia February 20, 2017 at 11:49 am

    Are small dogs allowed ?

  85. Sherry Kennedy
    Sherry Kennedy February 20, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    Hi Georgia,
    Small dogs and cats, under 20 pounds including carrier, are allowed to travel with their human in coach class for up to 7 hours. You can read more about traveling on Amtrak with pets here. Thanks for your comment.
    Sherry

  86. Robyn February 20, 2017 at 10:42 pm

    Hi Sherry, Thank you so much for this blog. I am going to be traveling from Hudson Ny to Penn Station then on to Lake Land Florida. I was hoping you could give me some help. Are you safe traveling on the train, I do have the roomette? Also do you know if Lakeland is a good station to go into? I will be coming back from Kissamee, Florida. Any thoughts on that train station? And sorry, one final questions? Do you know, or do you know how to find out, I will be coming in to Penn Station from Florida late at night, is the train safe from Penn Station to Hudson, NY traveling along late? Thank you, I am so hoping you will put my mind at ease.

  87. Robyn February 20, 2017 at 10:43 pm

    Sorry Sherry! I mean to say, Are you safe traveling alone on the train? Thank you.

  88. Sherry Kennedy
    Sherry Kennedy February 21, 2017 at 8:51 am

    Hi Robyn,
    Thank you for your nice comment! About your question, yes, you should feel safe to travel aboard Amtrak. Your roomette locks from the inside. The sleeping car attendant is pretty vigilant and the arrangement of the sleeping cars makes walking through them a one-way trip, so only those in the sleepers need enter. When you leave your roomette, the door does not lock (as they do in Europe) so take your purse with you. About arriving into Penn, I’m guessing you will be aboard the Silver Star (note: it does not have a dining car) you should get there about 6:50pm. I don’t know your departure time for the train up to Hudson, but I’ll assume you are in coach. Again, I can’t see any reason why you should not feel safe aboard the train.

    Both Lakeland and Kissimmee are popular train stations and well lit and staffed. I’m assuming that the Hudson station is staffed at night and that you either have a ride, or your car is there. You can always call an Uber or taxi to meet the train…just call before your train arrives so it’ll be there waiting for you upon arrival. Have a wonderful train adventure! Enjoy the view and solo experience and thank you for reading my blog.
    Sherry

  89. Robyn February 21, 2017 at 9:49 am

    Thank you so much for your reply. This is great news! Is Winter Haven a better train station to return home? thank you so much!!!

  90. Sherry Kennedy
    Sherry Kennedy February 22, 2017 at 10:25 am

    Hi Robyn,
    You’re welcome! Winter Haven is nice, too. I’d leave from where it’s most convenient for you.
    Sherry

  91. Al Beck March 8, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    Sherry

    Tickets are bought!!! Roomette.

    Booked for May and will be arriving in Winter Haven…….Looks like we will rent from Avis, which is just about a mile away.

    Praying this car rental works out. Will be spending a week in Clearwater Beach and then a week with friends in Naples.

    Al

  92. Sherry Kennedy
    Sherry Kennedy March 13, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    Congrats! Have a wonderful train ride and vacation. Car should be fine. Thanks for the update.

    Sherry

  93. David Dweck March 22, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    Hi Sherry:

    Thanks for the blog, I should have thought to do this since I have not done planes since 2002. I have enjoyed taking the Silver Meteor and Star over the past 13 years, my parents would sometime take the train intead of flying when I was under five so it brings back lots of memories. I now avoid the Star since it does not have a dining car anymore, my last trip wa on the Meteor in October of 2016. I will definitely subscribe to your newsletter.

    David

  94. Sherry Kennedy
    Sherry Kennedy March 22, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    Thanks very much, David. I agree with you about the Star…such a shame…but on a positive note, it does make it possible for some people to experience an overnight train ride at a reduced rate. Thank you also for subscribing to my newsletter.
    Sherry

  95. John June 9, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    Thank you for your insights. My wife and I are taking the train from Boston to Flordia for my 65th birthday this fall. I just wanted to do something different. We will be taking the Silver Meteor for what we hope will be an enjoyable experience.

  96. Sherry Kennedy
    Sherry Kennedy June 9, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    Hi John,
    You’re welcome! I hope you have a wonderful train ride and a very happy birthday!
    Sherry

  97. Sherry Kennedy
    Sherry Kennedy June 9, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    Hi John,
    You’re welcome! I hope you both have a wonderful train ride and a happy birthday celebration!
    Sherry

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