“Where should I sit?”: Every Amtrak traveler’s quest

On all of Amtrak's Northeast Regional trains, the Business Class car is the very first car of the train. Here, HHP-8 electric engine #655 in charge of train #135 bound for Washington DC.
On all of Amtrak’s Northeast Regional trains, the Business Class car is the very first car of the train. Here, Northeast Regional train #135 is stopped at Newark Penn Station. HHP-8 electric engine #655 is at the head end.

Traveling by train is the most exciting experience anyone could have. Who needs to deal with being tied up in traffic jams every step of the journey? Who needs to find a road stop when someone in your party has to “go”? Who needs to juggle all of those rest stop refreshments in the car, while driving along at sixty-five miles per hour? Last but not least, who needs to deal with the road rage of other drivers? They are all inconveniences that certainly make any simple journey the longest. The kids in the back seat are getting restless, yelling “Are we there yet?” more than fifty times in a two-minute conversation and getting hungry at the same time. Who needs that? That is where an Amtrak train comes to the rescue. All of these unnecessary matters are put to rest. Climbing aboard any Amtrak train anywhere in the country makes any vacation more than half the fun. It’s where the fun is!

One can see how relaxing the Business Class car can be. Notice that author, David Kriso, is already in vacation mode.
One can see how relaxing the Business Class car can be. Notice that author, David Kriso, is already in vacation mode.

Cutting to the chase, there is a huge question which friends, family, and coworkers ask me time and again. The question they often ask is “Where is the best place to sit?”. It’s not that simple to answer. Being a sophisticated traveler myself, I have certain preferences of where to sit on board. Needless to say, there are also places not to sit. Here’s a list of my preferred places to sit on an Amtrak train.

1. Business Class: In the Business Class car, the seats recline a bit further than the seats in Coach Class. Passengers are allowed one free non-alcoholic beverage from the cafe car menu. Passengers must present their Business Class ticket to the cafe car attendant before ordering. Even better, passengers are provided with a complimentary newspaper.

The  Business Class car is the most comfortable car on the train. From reclining seats, to foot rests, to curtains on the windows, it's the place to be.
The Business Class car is the most comfortable car on the train. From reclining seats, to foot rests, to curtains on the windows, it’s the place to be.

2. Quiet Car: The Quiet Car is one of my favorite cars on board an Amtrak train. The Quiet Car is designated by the signage on board, not on the outside of the car. There is no additional charge for traveling in the Quiet Car. While riding in the Quiet Car, passengers must keep their voices down. Passengers must also keep their conversations short. For the consideration of other passengers, it is paramount that cell phones are set on “vibrate” or “silent”.

There are also places on board an Amtrak train which passengers should not sit. These are places which would make you wish you bought a Business Class ticket, or wish you thought of sitting in the Quiet Car. Here are some places NOT TO SIT. Permission granted to laugh at some of them.

1) DO NOT sit next to the guy snorting his brains out.

2) NEVER sit next to a business traveler who brought along every electronic gadget known to man, meanwhile hogging every electrical outlet.

3) REFRAIN from sitting near the family with not one, but seven children, with no imaginable way of controlling them.

4) AVOID sitting next to any passenger who purchased every item on the cafe car menu.

5) FORGO sitting next to the passenger drinking coffee with ten packets of sugar.

6) AVERT sitting next to any passenger who inconsiderately makes a living room out of the face-to-face seats.

7) AT NO TIME should you want to sit near anyone who has a small child asking passengers what their names are, or announcing that it’s their potty time.

Whether it's for business or for pleasure, traveling on board any Amtrak train is an experience every traveler will everlastingly appreciate.
Whether it’s for business or for pleasure, traveling on board any Amtrak train is an experience every traveler will everlastingly appreciate.

Traveling by train, without a doubt, is an experience which everyone looks forward to. It could be that trip to Kissimmee, FL (Disney World), that trip to Boston for your friend’s wedding, that long awaited ski trip to Vermont, or even that weekend getaway to Washington DC. Whatever the occasion, Amtrak makes all passengers feel at home. Whether in Business Class or in the Quiet Car, every passenger enjoys his/her journey in both directions. However, passengers should be aware of the those situated around them. That one annoying passenger with the unsightly habits, those families with free-roaming children, and business travelers who think the train is their personal castle, are people you need to be conscious of. They can make turn any pleasant journey into the longest journey. Peace, tranquility, and comfort are not easy to come by nowadays. That awaited Amtrak train ride is a well-deserved break from the stresses of the outside world. It is legitimately your right to keep it that way.

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