Catching the train from NYC to DC

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After our initial stay in New York City, our plan was always to catch the train from there to Washington DC.


In the months and weeks leading up to our departure, I had chatted to several people about this train journey and had only received positive reviews.  Everyone said that it was brilliant and super interesting.


This inspired us further to make catching the train from NYC to Washington DC a big part of our trip.  And we weren’t disappointed, it was awesome!


Why choose to take the train?

A couple of years ago, we took the girls to Edinburgh.  From our house in Norwich, Google Maps says that by car this journey would take us 7.5 hours.  This was about 5 hours more than my kids could handle in the car.


Therefore, we were inspired to look at the train.  Luckily, the trip took over an hour less and was relatively cheap.  Even better was that we discovered a love of train travel.


When travelling with young children, trains offer a great deal more flexibility.  You can take toilet breaks at your leisure, picnics are welcome, games can be played and you can take little walks.


AND you get some really amazing views from the window if you are lucky.  We had all of this in mind when we booked our train tickets from NYC to Washington DC.


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How much does it cost?

Now, I kind of messed up here.  When I first looked at tickets I swear that the entire journey cost about $50 per adult.  (Children under 5 years old ride free.)


However, I did not book them when I saw them at this price.  Over the weeks in between the seats filled up and the cost of the tickets increased.  In the end, we ended up paying about £200 for the trip.


Despite the price increase, I still think that this is a reasonable deal.  When looking at flights for the same trip I couldn’t get them for less than that.  And driving has its costs too.


Who did we travel with?

Amtrak and I cannot fault them.  The train leaves from Penn Station in NYC and they have a good lounge area for their customers.


On top of this, they have support for customers with disabilities and those carrying with children and will aid you boarding the train.


The whole service was very efficient with clear and regular updates about our journey.  They helped us, and other, find seats together and helped people with their luggage.


We were particularly impressed with how they treated us as a family.  They gave us priority boarding and made sure that we had great seats together.  This was much better than the service we had received on the plane.

How long does it take?

The trip for us was about 3.5 hours but this included some delayed.  I believe that there are some services that make this trip faster but for us this was fine.


The route included a few stops along the way which slows the trip down and there were some small delays due to maintenance on the track.


Where do you travel through?

Travelling out of New York and straight into New Jersey feels like you are suddenly somewhere very different.


The high rise building of New York falling quickly away and New Jersey feels much more homely by comparison.  As someone who had only ever visited New York, I was fascinated to see these different sides of the USA.


Passing out of New Jersey, you find yourself heading through Pennsylvania towards Philadelphia.  You get some great views of Philly from the window, so make sure you have your camera ready.


Leaving Pennsylvania, you take a quick dip into Delaware before reaching Maryland.  The route takes you long the water’s edge before reaching Baltimore.


Baltimore is the last major city before you reach Washington.  The whole route provides snapshots into normal life for the residents of these states.  It is completely fascinating!


Where to take the train to next?

I would love to include some more train travel on our trip.  Do you have a favourite route?  Is there a journey that is not to be missed?  Let us know!

We caught the train from New York City to Washington DC with two kids. This is what we thought.

Disclaimer:  Remember the information you read here does not represent advice.  Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you.  Read the full disclaimer here.

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  • Andrew Young
    October 14, 2019 at 4:40 pm

    Great article! Would love to take the train from NY to Washington. Whilst I’ve heard mixed to negative reviews about train travel in most of the US, the Northeast Corridor is the place to do it. Currently, it’s one of the few routes in the US you can experience high speed rail travel too

    • charlottejessop
      October 15, 2019 at 1:29 am

      Well, it gets good reviews here and I’d definitely consider using the train in other parts of US based on this experience. Maybe that’s foolish though.



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