East Coast Train Rides
Travel by train is a comfortable and convenient way to see the East Coast. Passenger rails run up and down the Eastern Seaboard, with some routes being served by high-speed trains equipped for business travel. Excursion lines crisscross scenic areas from Maine to Florida, and you can even take your car with you on a specially equipped auto train.
Amtrak passenger trains service the East Coast, running north into Canada and south down to Florida. The Adirondack goes from New York to Montreal, and the Maple Leaf has a New York to Toronto run. The Downeaster links Boston with Maine, while the Northeast Regional runs from Boston down to Virginia Beach. Southern routes include the Carolinian/Piedmont, linking New York to Charlotte, North Carolina, and the Silver Service/Palmetto, which connects New York with Miami with stops in Washington, D.C., and Savannah, Georgia.
High Speed Rail
The Acela Express is a special high-speed Amtrak service that runs from Boston to Washington, D.C., stopping in New Haven, Connecticut, New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore. It runs at 150 miles an hour and makes fewer stops than the regular passenger trains. Amenities specially designed for business travelers include electrical outlets at each seat, conference tables and adjustable lighting. Amtrak has plans to improve high-speed rail service along the Northeast corridor, with trains operating at speeds up to 220 miles an hour and more than triple the present number of daily departures by the time the line is fully built out in 2040. A privately owned company called Northeast Maglev is exploring the idea of building a high-speed magnetic levitation rail line that would allow you to travel from Washington, D.C., to New York in just 60 minutes, at speeds up to 311 miles per hour.
If you'd just like to take a pleasure trip on a train, the East Coast offers a number of excursion rail lines offering scenic round trips, entertainment and dining. The Belfast and Moosehead Lake Railroad has hour-long trips departing from the City Point Central Railroad Museum in Belfast, Maine, from Memorial Day weekend through through mid-October; the Essex Steam Train and Riverboat in Essex, Connecticut, allows you to combine a train ride with a riverboat cruise down the Connecticut River. The Cape Cod Central Railroad offers a narrated scenic train ride departing from Hyannis, Massachusetts, as well as special events such as a murder mystery dinner, gourmet brunch and lunch rides, a Thanksgiving dinner ride and a special train ride to "Christmas Town" complete with a visit from Santa. In Fort Meyers, Florida, you can step aboard the Seminole Gulf Railway for a five-course dinner complete with a comical murder mystery show.
Take your car from the D.C. area down to Disney World without having to drive the whole way by booking passage on Amtrak's special Auto Train. You can save 900 miles of driving, expensive gas, and wear and tear on your vehicle, while still making sure you have access to your own transportation once you reach journey's end. This train departs daily from the Amtrak station in Lorton, Virginia, and arrives less than 18 hours later at a station in Sanford, Florida, just outside Orlando. Passage on the Auto Train includes accommodations in a sleeper car as well as dinner and breakfast in the dining car.