After my visit in Philadelphia, I had to get back to Baltimore, as my flight was leaving from BWI (Baltimore Washington International) Airport. Taking an Amtrak train was an easy choice. It takes you around an hour and 20 minutes to get from Philly to Baltimore.
I booked my ticket in advance on the Northeast Regional. There’s also Acela Express, but that is more expensive. Because I’m from overseas, I called Amtrak to make the reservations. (The other options were online, but the ticket delivery by mail is only available within the USA OR you can make a reservation through a travel agent representative. But the phone was really easy!)
The person who helped me was very friendly and explained how the reservations worked, the cancellation rules and how the trip would be. He even told me about a promotion they had going on. I could just pay by giving them my credit card number on the phone and print the tickets at the station before I took the train.
Because I had a change of plans during my trip I had to cancel my first reservation, which wasn’t a problem at all. They did this without hesitation, no fees and I got a refund for the ticket I didn’t use. Thumbs up for that Amtrak!
I left from Philadelphia train station, which is one of the busiest train stations in the US. It’s a beautiful building. And is used as a décor in a lot of movies!
There are several tracks. On the billboard in the middle you can see what track you have to be at and there is an information point as well. A plus I thought was (especially if you have heavy luggage) was the escalator and no stairs to get in the train (something different from when I left in Europe).
Amtrak recommends that you arrive at the station at least 30 minutes prior to your scheduled departure (allow some additional time if you need help with baggage or tickets). I was early, because I still had to pick up my tickets. So I did that first and then had lunch before I left for Baltimore. In the train station there is a food court, but because it was going to be my last lunch with my friends, we decided on going out of the station to have lunch.
The train itself was crowded, but luckily I still had a seat. You have a reserved seat when you book the ticket, but not an actual numbered seat as you do sometimes with high-speed trains in Europe. A slight minus I thought, was the limited space for putting large luggage. There is storage room in the beginning of the wagon you’re sitting in, but it’s very small. There is also some overhead storage room, but if you are carrying heavy luggage, placing it up there isn’t that easy!
But overall, I had a good trip. If you want to know more about rail travel USA, check out the official website of Amtrak. Or read more on train travel at www.seat61.com (This is a website from a guy that talks about worldwide train travel!). I used this train to get me from one point to another, but there are some scenic tours too!
After you read rail travel USA, you might want to read more in my travel journal.