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  • Amtrak Auto Train: Learn the Basics of Vehicle Transport with Amtrak Auto Train

    Amtrak Auto Train is one of the more unusual, yet interesting, methods of shipping both your vehicle and yourself--baggage included--along the Eastern Seaboard, from Virginia to Florida.

    Let's first get one point out of the way: Amtrak Auto Train is not the cheapest, fastest, or even least stressful ways of getting your vehicle from one destination to another. Amtrak Auto Train is what we may call a "unique" experience, one which you may want to do once in your lifetime. However, to do it more frequently than that can be a trying experience.

    The Downside of Amtrak Auto Train

    Interested in taking Amtrak Auto Train across the United States? Do you have the notion of boarding at Los Angeles' Union Station and transporting your car the entire 3000 miles to New York? Have the idea of maintaining a flexible schedule for transporting your car via Amtrak Auto Train?

    Tough luck. You will not be able to do these things with Amtrak Auto Train. This service has a limited and inflexible schedule.

    Amtrak Auto Train runs from Lorton, Virginia all the way to Sanford, Florida. This is an 800 mile trip, which as we all know is too far to make in one day by driving yourself. In fact, it is almost too much to make in two days, necessitating a three-day trip with two overnight stays, multiple meal stops, bathroom breaks, and refueling.

    Amtrak Auto Train runs only on this one route. Not only that, but the Auto Train has a very fixed schedule, leaving at 4 p.m. on one day and arriving at 9:30 a.m. the following day. This is a nearly 18 hour trip.

    One other point that few people mention when discussing transporting vehicles with Amtrak Auto Train is that the level of service on Amtrak, in general, is only minimally acceptable. For anyone accustomed to traveling on European trains, Amtrak is very much a disappointment. The cheapest food available on Amtrak is snack bar items, which consists of microwaved hamburgers and sub sandwiches. Sit-down dinners are rather expensive, yet the level of quality is not much better than the snack bar food. When an Amtrak waiter sets down your plate of pot roast, grilled chicken, pasta, meatloaf, or whatever else you have ordered, it becomes apparent within just a few seconds that you are receiving food that has been previously frozen and then warmed up.

    One other point that is important to mention: Amtrak Auto Train is more expensive than flying, driving, or even placing your vehicle with a conventional truck-based vehicle relocation service. So, Amtrak Auto Train is a bit of a luxury.

    So Why Take Amtrak Auto Train?

    As previously mentioned, it is worth taking Amtrak Auto Train for the experience. Anyone who has taken this I-95 route from the Washington, DC area to Florida will find it a blessed relief to sit down and have someone else do the driving.

    Your car is safely transported on the same train that you are riding. Another nice perk is that Amtrak is not very particular about the amount of baggage in your vehicle. Amtrak can be quite flexible about vehicles having a reasonable amount of baggage. On truck-based carriers, luggage is either not allowed or is extremely limited.

    Conventional Vehicle Relocation Service or Amtrak Auto Train?

    If the purpose is mainly to move your vehicle north or south along the Eastern Seaboard, you should seek out a qualified truck-based auto relocation service. Schedules are flexible, prices are cheaper, and it is even less stressful, than with the Amtrak Auto Train.

    The main idea of Amtrack Auto Train is to move the person between Florida and Virginia, with the vehicle being almost secondary.

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