On my return trip from Boston to New York, I booked a ticket on the Northeast Regional. On my outbound trip, I was on the “high-speed” Acela Express, which I reviewed here.
The time difference between the Acela and Northeast Regional can vary depending on factors such as the specific schedules, stops, and delays. Generally, the Acela can save about 30 minutes in travel time compared to the Northeast Regional for the little over 200-mile New York Penn to Boston South Station route. For example, our Acela Express outbound train was scheduled for 3 hours and 51 minutes, while our return trip was scheduled for 4 hours and 12 minutes. So, in these examples, only a 21-minute difference.
BOOKING AND PRICING:
Amtrak prices do get a lot more expensive last minute. Thankfully, for this Northeast Regional train that I booked about 2 months in advance, I was able to get a ticket for $31 for the lowest-priced ticket. The day before departure it was $200.
The Northeast Regional has Coach and Business Class cabins. The coach cabin on the Northeast Regional is comparable to the “business Class” on Acela, with the only perk on Acela is being able to reserve your seat.
Amtrak has a program called BidUp where you can place a bid to upgrade your reservation to a higher cabin. On the Northeast Regional, the upgrade would be to business class, which offers additional legroom and complimentary non-alcoholic drinks. The lowest bid I could enter was $40 to have a chance to upgrade my coach seat to business class. Since it was more than my actual ticket price, I passed.
ROUTE + STOPS:
- Boston, MA – South Station (BOS)
- Boston, MA – Back Bay Station (BBY)
- Route 128, MA (RTE)
- Providence, RI – Amtrak/MBTA Station (PVD)
- Kingston, RI (KIN)
- Mystic, CT (MYS)
- New London, CT – Union Station (NLC)
- Old Saybrook, CT (OSB)
- New Haven, CT – Union Station (NHV)
- Bridgeport, CT (BRP)
- Stamford, CT (STM)
- New Rochelle, NY (NRO)
- New York, NY – Moynihan Train Hall (NYP)
We left from Boston South Station, which was the originating station for the train route, and the final destination was Washington D.C.
There’s not too much to do at Boston South Station, but there is a large CVS Pharmacy, McDonalds, Au Bon Pain, and a few other food options. It’s a bit limited and not the nicest station, so I’d recommend you do what I did and walk about 5 minutes to the High Street Food Hall for some more food options.
They released the track number about 15 minutes before our scheduled departure, then we all headed to board the train. In checking the Amtrak App before our departure, it said our train was 80% full, so we wanted to board as early as possible to choose desirable seats. We ended up leaving right on time.
Takeoff Tip: If the train is starting at Boston South Station and you want a better choice of seating I’d suggest you board here rather than the Back Bay Station if the train is crowded. When we got to Back Bay, a lot of the seats were already taken and some people had to split up/hunt for seats across other cars.
We chose a car closer to the front of the train (which was furthest from the train station entrance). Seats are in a 2-2 configuration, and there were only a few number of seats that faced each other at the ends of each car.
Since we were a group of 3, we ended up choosing one of the seats of 4 that faced one another to be able to chat with each other. The seats were pretty comfortable and they had a recline function. Also, there were power plugs located along the windows for each seat pair. Free Wi-Fi was also offered but was quite spotty at the beginning of the ride.
The Northeast Regional has a Cafe Car in the center of the train. The menu was the same as the one on my Acela ride, but the cafe car on this train offered more seating like booths that could fit 4. It opened about 1 hour after our departure and closed 1 hour before arriving in New York. They announced that it would reopen after leaving New York City.
I visited the lavatory halfway through our journey, and it was spacious and better than I thought it would be. It could have been cleaner, but I was just happy there was soap and paper towels.
ARRIVAL + AVOIDED A MAJOR DELAY!
We pulled into New York Penn Station about 20 minutes late, which I didn’t mind too much about because at least it was better than my August Northeast Regional journey which were were stuck on the train for 2 hours on our way to New York Penn. Sadly for the passengers continuing to Washington D.C., I got text notifications that due to overhead power issues, they would be delayed. The train ended up being stuck at New York Penn from 11 pm to 3 am. Passengers on this train were scheduled to arrive in Washington D.C. at 2:30 am but instead arrived at 6:11 am. Yikes!
This makes me question how reliable the Northeast Regional is…which is a bit concerning.
Overall, I had a solid experience aboard the Northeast Regional from Boston to New York, and would definitely take it again. The seats were comfortable, but I do wish the Wi-Fi worked a bit better and the significant delay after I got off the train is a bit concerning. I’m hoping one day these trains can go faster, and that the infrastructure is improved.
Have you been aboard Amtrak’s Northeast Regional before? How was your experience? Comment below!
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