It’s officially winter. The temperature has dipped down to frigid temperatures at all ends of the country. Whether in the northeastern states, the Midwest, the southwest, or even in the pacific region, the temperatures couldn’t have been colder. Even in Florida, travelers of all ages have been caught off guard, with temperatures in the 50s. Did someone say flip-flops and swimsuits? When it comes to unpredictable weather, getting to the airport, train station, or even the cruise terminal on time is significant. When taking Amtrak anywhere, how important is it to arrive at the station on-time? With Amtrak, arriving at the station on-time is beyond important. Arriving at any Amtrak station is necessary. It is relevant. It is imperative. Above all, it is crucial. Passengers should be on-time, all the time.

Arriving at any Amtrak station on-time is crucial. It is off-the-bat paramount. Passengers often ask, “What is the appropriate time window to be at the station?”. The answer to the question is sophisticated. Amtrak has a variety of routes across the nation. There are intercity routes, which includes the Northeast Regional service (Boston-Springfield-New York City-Washington, DC), the Keystone (New York-Harrisburg, PA), and the Empire Service (New York-Albany-Buffalo-Niagara Falls-Montreal-Toronto-Burlington, VT). The Northeast Regional service also extends to the cities of Norfolk, Newport News, and Roanoke, VA. When traveling on any of these intercity routes, passengers must be present at the station thirty minutes prior to departure. Should passengers get to the station more than thirty minutes prior to departure, they’re in even better shape; giving them extra time to stretch their legs, collect their thoughts, get a bite to eat, stock up on extra food for the journey, and also browse through the station’s shops (if applicable). That’s passengers budgeting their time and being on-time simultaneously. Having done so, the journey starts off happily on the right foot.

When it comes to the intercity routes, being on-time may sound easy. Yes it is! However, when it comes to traveling on long-distance Amtrak routes, it’s a different story. More than a different story, long-distance routes are distinctive. In contrast to the intercity routes, Amtrak urges passengers to arrive at the station one hour prior to departure for long-distance routes. This goes for both the station of origin and the return trip. Long-distance routes include but are not limited to the Pennsylvanian (New York-Pittsburgh), Carolinian (New York-Charlotte), and the Palmetto (New York-Savannah). Major long-distance routes (overnight) include the Lake Shore Limited (New York/Boston-Chicago), California Zephyr (Chicago-Emeryville, CA), Capitol Limited (Washington, DC-Chicago), and Silver Star/Meteor (New York-Miami). The Silver Star travels to Miami via Tampa, while the Silver Meteor bypasses Tampa. It’s imperative that passengers arrive at their station of origin one hour prior to departure. Why? It’s very likely that passengers will be checking in luggage. Checked luggage is loaded into the train’s baggage car. Sporadically, they’re sniffed by Amtrak Police K-9s. Amtrak takes safety and security seriously. Upon check-in, passengers are asked security questions similar to the ones asked by the airlines. Depending on the number of passengers checking in for a certain train, this process can be tedious. Once their baggage is successfully checked in, passengers can proceed to the track platform for boarding. No one likes to wait, but patience and being on-time go a long way.

Winter is a fun time to travel by train. No one likes being couped up from the cold temperatures outside. Traveling on Amtrak and seeing the snow-covered ground outside the window is an even more rewarding experience. Whether traveling intercity or long-distance, the experience is authentic. It is relaxing, it is calming, and at best-tranquil. What could be better than being inside a comfortably heated passenger car, sleeper car, or lounge car with the outside temperatures dipping as far as twenty degrees? Any journey aboard Amtrak during the winter months, or at any time of the year, is an experience like no other. Traveling from point A to point B without the inconvenience of driving, worrying about gas mileage, and trying to tune the car stereo while driving is the greatest traveling experience of all. Amtrak makes traveling to any city the experience of a lifetime. Whether thirty minutes on an intercity route or an hour prior to departure on a long-distance route, passengers should start their journey one way: on-time. Be as it may say, passengers must remember one fundamental fact-every memorable journey on the rails begins at the right place at the right time and at the right moment. That moment is being on-time, every time, all the time.

About Author

David Kriso has been a travel writer since August 2011. He is a contributing writer for both of his hometown's newspapers, The Gazette, and The Observer. His articles focus on cruise and railroad travel. David is also published online at, a cruise magazine based in Vancouver, Canada and at Amtrak's story site, David also writes for the publication On, he writes about cruise and rail travel. David is a long-time train traveler, avid cruiser, and a Disney traveler since age 4.

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