Where Shall We Go? An Eastern View

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Photo by Rich Simons – Private Car: “Mount Vernon” behind Amtrak #69 at
Poughkeepsie, New York – 11/8/2013

Far be it from the short list of destinations I mentioned out west, Amtrak does have a great variety of other destinations from which your private railcar adventure might enjoy.

Jack Deasy, of the sleeper-lounge Mount Vernon, offered some suggestions for trips. Here are six excellent private car destinations in the Northeast:

mtv0802Photo by Jack Deasy

Montreal QC: A scenic daytime trip along Lake Champlain and the Hudson River; a wonderful city to visit. Occupied PV parking available in Central Station only from Friday evening arrival through Sunday morning departure. At other times, a PV can be parked in Via’s maintenance facility while guests stay in hotels or bed & breakfast inns.

nfalls_DSC_0026Photo by Jack Deasy The American Falls viewed from Niagara Falls, Ontario Canada.

Niagara Falls NY: A scenic daytime trip from New York City. Occupied PV parking in the Amtrak station, located a few miles from the world-famous Niagara Falls. A good place to park a PV for those who wish to continue onward to Toronto ON by rental car, GO Transit bus, or as a passenger on a Via Rail Canada train. Unfortunately, no PV parking provided at Toronto by Via Rail Canada.

Boston MA: Occupied PV parking in South Station. Lots of historic sites in this city. Can be accessed with a scenic trip over the Berkshires from Albany-Rensselaer NY, or an overnight trip from Washington DC.

Pittsburgh PA: Occupied PV parking in the station. A scenic daytime trip from New York on the Pennsylvanian.

Washington DC: Occupied PV parking in the station. Much to see and do in our nation’s capitol.

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Photo by Jack Deasy. The Bear Mountain Bridge across the Hudson River, a few miles south of the US Military Academy at West Point NY, as seen from the rear of a northbound private car.
New York NY: The Big Apple, the city that never sleeps. There are an endless number of things to do and see. Unfortunately, Amtrak does not provide passenger occupied parking at either Penn Station or Sunnyside Yard, so PV guests must obtain lodging in local hotels or inns.

Tempted? All sound like great places to enjoy as destinations aboard a private railroad car!

Where shall we go?

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One of the great pleasures of travel by private railcar is the variety of destinations that await passengers. Not to mention the scenery to be viewed along the way!

Start with a simple fact. In most cases, private cars can travel on any route serviced by Amtrak. And you can choose from a day trip or an overnight one. For example, out of the San Francisco Bay Area, we are lucky enough to have a good variety of choices. Long distance trains such as the Coast Starlight to Los Angeles or the California Zephyr to Reno both offer a great ride with some of Amtrak’s best scenery. On the Starlight, it is the classic 113 miles along the shore of the Pacific Ocean – some of which can only be viewed from the train. On the Zephyr, crossing the Sierra Nevada along the route of the original transcontinental railroad passes through some mighty pretty mountains – especially when covered in the winter snows. The Starlight takes roughly 12 hours from Oakland to LA and the Zephyr travels from Emeryville to Reno in a little more than 6 hours. Both offer great choices in what to do or see once you arrive at a destination.

On shorter day trips? The Bay Area has the Capitol Corridor between San Jose and Auburn or the San Joaquin route between Oakland and Bakersfield. Both have their own attractions including a connection to the Yosemite National Park or Sacramento’s California State Railroad Museum. The latter features a great display of vintage travel including a private railcar, the “Gold Coast”. Once the traveling home of bon vivant Lucius Beebe and partner Charles Clegg, today it offers museum visitors a peek into travel by private railroad car in the mid-20th Century.

Overnight! Something magical about sleeping overnight aboard a train, awakening to find the new sights of another day. Again, out here, it is the Starlight to Portland or Seattle; or the Zephyr to Salt Lake City, Denver or Chicago. Both continuing the spectacles of scenic vistas along the way. Yes, sir! Nothing like the nice hot breakfast, enjoyed after a restful night aboard the private railcar of your charter.

But don’t let the West be your only choice. Amtrak routes cross the country. From north to south, east to west, trains travel offering a wonderful way to see the miles as they roll by. Be it backyards, small towns or big cities, the choice of destinations and the private cars to enjoy them from is only the beginning of your own adventure. Check out the list of cars available for charter on the AAPRCO web pages. Or join a trip already planned and see what lies ahead. Again, AAPRCO offers trip opportunities on it’s pages.

Still curious? Don’t stop yet! Again, read on here and find out more about what you can enjoy  aboard.