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Seniors on the Go: Amtraking This Fall
By Ed Perkins
The current push for high-speed service refocuses national attention on rail travel. Unfortunately, we'll all be a lot older and grayer before any of the proposed new high-speed services actually leaves any station. Still, low-speed
-- Seniors (age 62 or over) get 15 percent discounts on most trains, excluding high-speed Acela Express in the Northeast and the Auto Train.
-- Children age two through 11 pay half fare when traveling with an adult. Infants under two travel at no charge.
-- Students and veterans who enroll in special programs get 15 percent discounts on many trains.
-- Rail passes covering multiple trips start at $389 for up to eight "segments" over a 15-day period.
-- Periodic promotions cut prices -- a little -- on individual routes, mainly short-haul trips.
Discounts and promotions generally apply only to coach travel. Upgrading to sleeper accommodations for overnight trips can generally more than double the cost of a trip.
Many rail fans also recommend overnight trips: Chicago to New York, Boston, or Washington, or Los Angeles to Seattle. Sitting up one night in coach isn't anywhere near as bad as overnight in an economy airline seat:
Of course, overnight trips in sleeping accommodations can make a great trip, reminiscent of the glory days of railroading. But a roomette from Chicago to Seattle would more than double the cost per person for a couple or triple the cost for a single traveler.
If you want to cost out some trips,
Until some of the proposed high-speed projects are completed,
© Ed Perkins
Vacation Travel - Seniors on the Go: Amtraking This Fall