Last year I went to Florida with my family and this was the first time we experienced a travel by Amtrak. This auto train service is a specialty of US and quite a favorite choice for those who want to take a tour along the eastern coast, with their own car, two-wheeler or van accompanying them during vacation. Amtrak is a Federally chartered corporation in America and runs passenger trains between the states.
We enjoyed our journey on Amtrak a lot and are sure that you too will feel the same way. However, there is a host of important factors to take into consideration while travelling by Amtrak.
Learn those factors and plan accordingly to make the trip more thrilling for you.
- You must have your Auto Train Tickets in your hand ahead of boarding and so buy tickets in advance. Always make it a point to arrive earlier so that you have time in hand for unexpected issues. If you are starting through or from Orlando, DC, Washington or Florida, plan for a lot of time as traffic is usually heavy in these areas.
- Auto Train will start loading vehicles right at 11.30 in Lorton and on the day when you will set out. If it is a motorcycle or an oversized car that you are driving, make sure that it reaches the location within 2 pm. Cars must reach within 3 pm and there will be no laxity of rules for anyone.
- Only motorcycles, vans, SUVs and automobiles are allowed. A car must not be higher than 65 inches in height and 4 inches would be considered for ground Clarence. A SUV or van could be as high as 66-88 inches and 4 inches are allowed for ground clearance. You are strictly prohibited from attaching anything to vehicle roof, with bicycle racks or bicycle being the only exception. Maximum height allowed for Motorcycles is 57.5 inches (it includes the windshield) with 5 inches of ground clearance.
- During your trip, you won’t have any access to your car. So you must make sure not to leave anything in your vehicle. Also remember to deactivate alarm system of your car. This is because if your car battery goes off, you will have a dead battery after arriving at the destination. You are allowed to pack luggage in your vehicle. Every passenger is allowed to take two carry-on bags. So pack the items that you will require during your trip.
- Amtrak jiggles and sways while running; so you must use the handrails while moving. You must not take your shoes off during the journey. Also carry a pillow to enjoy comfort during your trip. Are you taking your trip in a sleeping vehicle? If yes, you can easily convert the beds to seats whenever required.
Last but not the least, though your fare includes the meals, you should bring some snacks. The rooms are not spacious and you should carry only the most essential items.