should I just take Amtrak instead?

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should I just take Amtrak instead?

Postby GooStats » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:54 pm

I travel from Trenton to NYP approximately 3-4 times a year, and these are trips that I plan out months in advance. With all of the issues that are plaguing NJT, do you think it is worth spending the extra money to spring for Amtrak? any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: should I just take Amtrak instead?

Postby CarterB » Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:09 pm

From what I know, most of the corridor NJT problems were/are because of stalled Amtrak trains or Amtrak wire or signalling problems, not NJT problems.
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Re: should I just take Amtrak instead?

Postby ExCon90 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:57 pm

When all's said and done, they both have to go through the same tunnels. Somebody closer to the situation may know something more specific, but there would seem to be a tendency, when untangling a snarl, for Amtrak trains to get preference. I know that in Metroliner days the word was get the Metroliners moving first. If something like that holds true today the order of precedence would be Acela, Amtrak Regional, and NJ Transit, regardless of whose train triggered the whole thing.
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Re: should I just take Amtrak instead?

Postby jamesinclair » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:30 pm

Pro:
Youll save 20-30 minutes on a regular schedule
If you get stuck for 3 hours you will have a cafe car and more bathrooms
You will have power outlets and wifi
You will accrue rewards points
You will have dispatching priority in case of congestion

Con:
You will have less flexibility on departure time
You will pay $20 more each way if you buy in advance
An NJ transit delay is likely to be 30 minutes or less - an Amtrak train coming from Virginia could be 2 hours late or more

It really depends how much you value those $20 extra bucks (each way)
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Re: should I just take Amtrak instead?

Postby MACTRAXX » Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:13 pm

GS:

Another thing to remember is that NJ Transit tickets are valid at anytime and never expire.

With Amtrak you would lose any flexibility that you may need and incur a higher cost each way.

If you were to miss your reserved train(s) those tickets would need to be then changed.

I believe that Amtrak TRE-NYP fares and for that matter anywhere between PHL-NYP are the
highest fares on the Amtrak system on a mile-to-mile basis. It is not unknown for some of these
fares to be $90 or higher depending on which reserved train type that is used - $90 would be
literally one dollar per mile for a 90 mile PHL-NYP trip.

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Re: should I just take Amtrak instead?

Postby alewifebp » Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:40 am

You'll notice other fare curiosities with the NY area. Think you can save money by leaving from Metropark instead of NYP? It might only be a few dollars difference.
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Re: should I just take Amtrak instead?

Postby JamesRR » Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:21 am

Amtrak trains do get preferential treatment when it comes to single-tracking, for example. They are usually allowed ahead of waiting NJT trains.
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Re: should I just take Amtrak instead?

Postby OportRailfan » Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:20 pm

JamesRR wrote:Amtrak trains do get preferential treatment when it comes to single-tracking, for example. They are usually allowed ahead of waiting NJT trains.


Why would Amtrak willingly delay their own trains? Because they're not that intelligent sometimes.
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Re: should I just take Amtrak instead?

Postby Tadman » Tue Jan 30, 2018 5:08 pm

Two weeks ago I had to get from Newark to Grand Central at last minute. I was tired and had been in meetings all day. I reserved on a Keystone coming through in ten minutes. And waited. And waited... tick... tick... check the app, the darn train is 45 minutes late. I wish they would tell you that when it's known to be late at the time the ticket is bought.

I caught the next NJT for half price and got to my hotel in 20 minutes via NJT, 4 train, and shuttle.

Moral of the story: Amtrak has 200+ miles for something to go wrong, NJT originates at Trenton. That is a factor that is often overlooked, and the same reason I take the South Shore rather than Detroit trains from SW Michigan to Chicago. The card time is longer but the reality is often shorter.

Edit: this is the day one of the keystones had a flatspot so bad it sound like the car ran on giant metal feet rather than wheels, and the BO coach had to be cut out and slowly dragged away. Maybe that had something to do with it.
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