Boston, MA - Cynthiana, KY

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Boston, MA - Cynthiana, KY

Postby highgreen215 » Thu Jul 26, 2018 2:08 pm

In late Fall or early Spring I may be embarking on an Amtrak venture from Boston to Cynthiana, KY. As there is no Amtrak service anywhere near Cynthiana, I will have to choose between two between two routes:
1) Boston to New York or Washington by Regional/Acela; change to the Cardinal and get off at Ashland, KY; then 125 miles over-the-road to Cynthiana.
2) Boston to Chicago by LSL; change to the Cardinal and get off at Cincinnati; then about 60 miles over-the-road to Cynthiana.

The "over-the-road" segments will, unless they have disowned me, be handled by family picking me up at the final station.

A major comcern on both routes is the inconvenient connecting times for changing trains. I would actually prefer the scenic ride of the Cardinal through West Virginia to Ashland on the WV/KY border. I have ridden the LSL several times over the last few years to other destinations so I would welcome the change, but if the LSL is preferable I guess I can live with it. I would be flying back to Boston.

What's your advice?
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Re: Boston, MA - Cynthiana, KY

Postby Rockingham Racer » Thu Jul 26, 2018 2:26 pm

I'd go via Washington, DC to Ashland, KY and get off the train at a somewhat decent hour. I don't understand, though, what you mean by an "inconvenient connections".
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Re: Boston, MA - Cynthiana, KY

Postby Mackensen » Thu Jul 26, 2018 2:56 pm

highgreen215 wrote:In late Fall or early Spring I may be embarking on an Amtrak venture from Boston to Cynthiana, KY. As there is no Amtrak service anywhere near Cynthiana, I will have to choose between two between two routes:
1) Boston to New York or Washington by Regional/Acela; change to the Cardinal and get off at Ashland, KY; then 125 miles over-the-road to Cynthiana.
2) Boston to Chicago by LSL; change to the Cardinal and get off at Cincinnati; then about 60 miles over-the-road to Cynthiana.

The "over-the-road" segments will, unless they have disowned me, be handled by family picking me up at the final station.

A major comcern on both routes is the inconvenient connecting times for changing trains. I would actually prefer the scenic ride of the Cardinal through West Virginia to Ashland on the WV/KY border. I have ridden the LSL several times over the last few years to other destinations so I would welcome the change, but if the LSL is preferable I guess I can live with it. I would be flying back to Boston.

What's your advice?


I'd do option one, changing trains in Washington. If you take the late train (65/66/67) all the way through you'll hit DC around 6:30 AM, so at least stuff will be open and you can walk around. Cardinal leaves DC at 11 AM. I took it this January in business class and had a very pleasant experience. Nothing wrong with the Lake Shore Limited of course, but you're adding a day to your itinerary if you go via Chicago.
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Re: Boston, MA - Cynthiana, KY

Postby highgreen215 » Fri Jul 27, 2018 9:38 am

Thanks, guys - it will be Option 1. Not much decent dining on the trains anymore.
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Re: Boston, MA - Cynthiana, KY

Postby mtuandrew » Fri Jul 27, 2018 10:37 am

highgreen215 wrote:Thanks, guys - it will be Option 1. Not much decent dining on the trains anymore.

Shame about that, isn’t it? There are at least a lot of dining options at Washington Union - if the Cardinal is delayed, I heavily recommend getting a bowl to go at Cava Grill (they open at 10:45.)
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Re: Boston, MA - Cynthiana, KY

Postby MACTRAXX » Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:56 am

HG: I decided to look into this itinerary as if I was plotting it out for myself...

Good idea to take the early "Night Owl" option to Washington getting there around 6:30 am.
This allows flexibility if the train from BOS is late. There will be plenty to do at WAS until #51
departs at 11:00 AM as mentioned even if you stay in and around WAS Union Station.

Option 1 is #51 arriving at Ashland, KY at 10:14 PM if the Cardinal is on schedule...

This train is scheduled to arrive at Cincinnati at 1:31 AM. My question here is: Are the people
that are picking you up to bring you to Cynthiana, KY going to be there when you get there
or will you have to wait for them to get there? What are the opening hours for each station
in case you need a place to wait? Cincinnati would likely be the better station for amenities
and a shorter drive as noted compared to the distance Ashland would be...

Check and see if #50 from Chicago is scheduled to run that same night - scheduled arrival
at 3:17 AM - likely meaning that Cincinnati Union Terminal will be open all night...

Option #2 not only takes longer - an extra day as pointed out - you will have the extended IN
ride period from Chicago (Lv. 5:45 CDT) to Cincinnati to have to deal with along with arriving
at CIN in the middle of the night provided #50 is on time...

Keep up posted on how this all works out...MACTRAXX
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Re: Boston, MA - Cynthiana, KY

Postby R&DB » Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:07 pm

Highgreen215 wrote:
1) Boston to New York or Washington by Regional/Acela; change to the Cardinal and get off at Ashland, KY; then 125 miles over-the-road to Cynthiana.

Why not Boston - Washington - Maysville? Later arrival but at 48 miles a much shorter road trip.
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Re: Boston, MA - Cynthiana, KY

Postby MACTRAXX » Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:31 pm

HG and R&DB: I checked into Huntington,WV; Ashland, South Portsmouth and Maysville, KY along
with Cincinnati Union Terminal specifically looking for open Amtrak waiting room facility times:

Huntington,WV: (11 miles E of Ashland) Wednesday, Friday, Sunday-6 to 7:45 AM; 9 to 10:20 PM.
HUN - 1050 8th Avenue, Huntington, WV 25701

AKY - Ashland, KY: Platform with building at 99 15th Street 41101
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashland_Tr ... ion_Center

SPM - South Portsmouth, KY: Platform with shelter - Main Street & US 23; South Shore, KY 41174
There is a small enclosed shelter at SPM without any station amenities.

MAY - Maysville, KY: West Front and Rosemary Clooney Streets, Maysville, KY 41056
Station waiting room open: Monday, Thursday, Saturday 11PM to 12:30AM;
Wednesday, Friday, Sunday 4:30 to 6:00AM.

CIN - Cincinnati Union Terminal: 1251 Kenner Street, Cincinnati, OH 45214
Amtrak open: Tuesday through Sunday Nights 12 midnight to 4:00AM; Closed Monday.

If I was traveling on this trip I would carefully choose a station that would have waiting facilities
or other nearby amenities especially if I was not being directly met at the time the train stops.

Having open station facilities - along with businesses that have late hours - can not only help
those waiting for #51 - it will make a necessary wait for those picking up passengers off the
train more bearable. MACTRAXX
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Re: Boston, MA - Cynthiana, KY

Postby BandA » Fri Jul 27, 2018 9:36 pm

How does this rail trip compare to flying into LEX or CVG? I think if I was planning many months ahead like you are I would consider flying. With only a few weeks or days left, with flights expensive last minute, I ended up driving BOS --> Cincinnati once and bailed out two other times. I've flown into Dayton (good), IND (too far away, oops!) from BOS. Driving is 15 hrs+, which is brutal. By bus it is ~~24 hours!. By train it is ~~28 hours according to google!! By plane it is much shorter.
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Re: Boston, MA - Cynthiana, KY

Postby David Benton » Sat Jul 28, 2018 3:29 am

According to some posters on the Cardinal Facebook page, Cincinnati Union Terminal is now unstaffed , and under repair. There is a caretaker who is supposed to open access to the Platform, but it doesn't appear to be a reliable setup , with one poster ending up been locked on the platform!
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Re: Boston, MA - Cynthiana, KY

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Sat Jul 28, 2018 10:20 am

It's heresy to say this around here; but just fly both ways.

Honest, it sounds like to use Amtrak, you may as well try out for American Ninja Warrior. It would just be some kind of "assault course". Also think of your family that is willing to fetch you.

While Delta has flown away from CVG as a hub in favor of DTW, they still have a few nonstops BOS-CVG; Southwest also flies the route, but their all too often "change at..." - and of course their chutes and cattle prods. No wonder I've flown 'em for the last time (if I can help it).

Suck it up; couple of hours it's over and done.
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Re: Boston, MA - Cynthiana, KY

Postby andrewjw » Sat Jul 28, 2018 10:58 am

As I said in another thread, I really think Mr. Norman's experiences over a decade ago are not representative of modern flight experiences on Southwest, especially as compared to Delta, United, and American, which have steadily reduced amenities, legroom, and seat comfort to well below Southwest's standards.
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Re: Boston, MA - Cynthiana, KY

Postby MACTRAXX » Sun Jul 29, 2018 3:05 am

R&DB wrote:Highgreen215 wrote:
1) Boston to New York or Washington by Regional/Acela; change to the Cardinal and get off at Ashland, KY; then 125 miles over-the-road to Cynthiana.

Why not Boston - Washington - Maysville? Later arrival but at 48 miles a much shorter road trip.

HG: After further review R&DB's thought about riding #51 to Maysville,KY looks to be the best in
ways of time (about a 13 hour ride WAS-MAY; scheduled time 11:52PM) and distance from your
final destination of Cynthiana as noted. US Route 62 is the road link for most of this route.

GBN: HG's thought about taking the train in one direction westward may well be "This may be my
one and only opportunity to ride the Cardinal to visit eastern KY" and decided on this route since
he may never have another chance to take this ride. I would be thinking about this reason myself
since I have never ridden the Cardinal...

Flying both ways is a good idea-but if you have the extra time and wish to be adventurous it does
pay to travel in a way that would be to enjoy your time getting there. Not everyone has the "Are
we there yet?" mentality - and this train ride has the potential of being the best part of HG's trip...

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Re: Boston, MA - Cynthiana, KY

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Sun Jul 29, 2018 10:21 am

MACTRAXX wrote:GBN: HG's thought about taking the train in one direction westward may well be "This may be my one and only opportunity to ride the Cardinal to visit eastern KY" and decided on this route since he may never have another chance to take this ride. I would be thinking about this reason myself since I have never ridden the Cardinal...

Flying both ways is a good idea-but if you have the extra time and wish to be adventurous it does pay to travel in a way that would be to enjoy your time getting there. Not everyone has the "Are we there yet?" mentality - and this train ride has the potential of being the best part of HG's trip


Mr. Mactraxx, I've never ridden The Cardinal in the Amtrak era, but did ride the C&O FFV during Sep '62. Something tells me that viewing the New River on a crystal clear Sep day (didn't another Sep event we'd all like to forget also happen on a crystal clear day?) through a spotless Chessie Pullman window will not be matched through an A-II or Viewliner vindow - and on the Fireman's side!!

But when during the '60's, when the Broadway was still the Broadway and The Century was still "a mighty nice act", I had to listen to "why can't you just fly like everyone else does?"

Now it is true that 48 miles to Maysville is less than 63 to CVG, but showing up at "0 dark 30" isn't same as a "people hour" arrival. Of course, I'd simply be at Mr. Hertz's counter relying on no one for anything, but then I respect that many a "twentysomething" is not afforded that option.

Finslly, so far as my aversion to Southwest, I realize that their penalty free ticket exchange policy is a worthwhile draw for many, but I don't fly enough (one RT so far this year, one more next month - and if I don't show for that one, I'm out much, MUCH, more than any ticket exchange fee) to be too worried about that. But the "chutes and prods" boarding is "just too much", and even though United's ORD Terminal 1 is no paradise, I at least know my way around it - can't say the same about any part of MDW.
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Re: Boston, MA - Cynthiana, KY

Postby SouthernRailway » Sun Jul 29, 2018 2:38 pm

I'd fly to Cincinnati and then rent a car. You can generally ask more from family than you could ask from others, but I don't think I'd impose a 250 mile round trip from a train station, or a 112 mile round trip from Cincinnati in the middle of the night, on family .
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