Promoting passenger trains as a transportation alternative in Florida since 1983.  We are citizens who advocate for Amtrak, commuter rail, intercity rail and transit for Florida's future.

Taking Auto Train does not save time.

  • 20 Oct 2020 3:31 AM
    Message # 9314323

    I have never been on Auto Train. so I will withhold judgement for its on board service.

    However, I do not find its schedule favorable for going from where I live in Clearwater, FL to visit my sister in Williamsburg, VA. I would be just as well off if I took the Silver service trains from Tampa to Williamsburg, despite the long layover at Staples Mill Road station in Richmond.

    The problem with Auto Train is having to get to Sanford a couple hours before train departure. That also means I need to allow about three hours to get there from Clearwater, no thanks to the road work along I-4.

    Then, if Auto Train is on time to Lorton, the next thing is waiting an unspecified period of time to get my vehicle loaded off the train, which could take a few hours if a person is unlucky enough to be the last to be unloaded. Still, one is not out of the woods yet with all the traffic congestion on I-95 in northern Virginia, infamously clogged for most of the day. 

    By contrast, it takes less time to go from the Thruway stop along US-19 in Pinellas Park ( I can even take public transit from my place despite two bus changes on PSTA!), connect on the Thruway bus to Orlando, take the Silver Meteor to Richmond, and finish my trip on the morning train to Williamsburg. The same holds true if I connect on the Silver Star through Tampa.

    Finally, who wants to get off Auto Train at Lorton and then get stuck in all that traffic through DC, Baltimore, New Jersey? Not to mention all of the tolls to pay and high price gas? 

  • 15 Jul 2021 3:54 AM
    Reply # 10752757 on 9314323

    I will be giving Auto-train try for the first time this October, as its schedule will fit in with plans to visit family in Virginia at that time. The return drive on I-95 will give me a perspective on the road conditions and time it actually takes to drive. 

  • 25 Nov 2021 8:27 AM
    Reply # 12147624 on 9314323

    I will have to reserve my comment and opinion on Auto-train for a future date. Unfortunately, despite making a time allowance for road work and other congestion delays, I arrived at the terminal 5-10 minutes too late to put my vehicle on the train to Virginia.

    Instead, I ended up driving back to the Winter Park station and leaving my vehicle there for my weekend trip to Virginia and back. Parking was safe and well-lighted, and Amtrak had a few spaces for those needing to park for an extended period of time up to a week or so.

    The Silver Star still had the Micabuger cafe service for coach passengers, but attendants did inform me that Amtrak will soon reopen the diner to coach passengers, by popular demand. No definite date was given, and coach passengers will have to pay for their meals.

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