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Is This (Amtrak) Trip Doable?

Sun Aug 15, 2004 11:49 pm


I've got a question for people who have some experience with Amtrak and DCA.
My original plan to rent a car and drive to Delaware and Maryland, as well as DC had to be put on ice since no car rental company has any airport location that will rent cars to people under 25.
So now I am looking at flying into DCA, either from BOS or from JFK (which would be better since I haven't been there since 1992 and I want to fly a 772 again) and then take the train to get to PHL (where I can finally fly my first NWA DC-9!!!), where my flight leaves at 6:15 AM.
I would arrive at either 6:20 or 7:20 (from JFK) and there are three trains departing from Union Station in DC, that would be possible to take. One at 8:10, one at 9 and one at 10. All times are PM. The transit website states that it's a ca. 30 minute ride from DCA to the train station.

So can anybody shed some light on the chances of making all the connections and if it is advisable to take the BOS flight, rather than the JFK one.

Where have all the tri-jets gone...
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RE: Is This (Amtrak) Trip Doable?

Mon Aug 16, 2004 10:17 am

I don't think there are that many flights between DCA-JFK anymore, but if you arrive ontime shouldn't be a problem. Boston has more options probably.

I don't understand why you just don't go direct to PHL from JFK/BOS if that is your intended destination, but maybe you are stopping over.

If you went to Metro website - 30 minutes is probably a good estimate, however - timing will depend on whether you arrive on a weekday or a weekend, for a weekend I would budget more time. On the weekday add 5 minutes to the journey time because you will have to wait for a train - their estimates don't include the wait time at the origin station. They probably include the wait at the transfer station (no direct subway from DCA to the train station - you will have to change trains).

On the weekends I would budget 45 mintues from airport to Union station.

hope this helps.
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RE: Is This (Amtrak) Trip Doable?

Mon Aug 16, 2004 10:56 am

You should have no problem getting from DCA to Union Station in that time. However, it would be much easier to fly from BOS-DCA since there is a Shuttle service on that route. JFK-DCA has few flights on Delta and American Eagle and it can be pricey. If you do want to fly into JFK, your options are A.) Transferring from JFK to LGA where you could catch a Shuttle flight or B.) Flying Indepdence Air to IAD in which case you would have a long transfer from IAD to Union Station (it would involve coach bus to the Metro Station and then a ride on the Metro) or C.) Paying the fares for JFK-DCA.

I would suggest you stay a night or two in NYC; that way you could fly into JFK, enjoy NYC, and then leave from LGA.

Where are you coming from in Europe btw?
"Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon"
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RE: Is This (Amtrak) Trip Doable?

Mon Aug 16, 2004 10:19 pm

Hey there --

I used to take Amtrak all the time on the stretch you're talking about. If you were tinking about taking the train so you could see Delaware and Maryland, I'd advise you against it. You won't see any more of those two states by taking the train than you would by air. Most of the track is well outside of any towns and well hidden from scenery (except urban ruin.)

On the other hand, if you're trying to save money, it might be a reasonable option. Amtrak's service on that route (the Northeast Corridor) is frequent and usually on time. Amtrak does not go directly to PHL airport, though. You would need to transfer to the SEPTA airport light rail at Philadelphia's 30th Street Station.

I'm a little confused about your intentions, though. I assume that for DCA you're only doing the domestic leg of your journey there. No 772s fly into DCA... You must be talking about JFK in that context.

In case you don't already have them:

SEPTA: Airport = R1 (in regional rail service)

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