Even the smallest seats on an Amtrak train are far more spacious than economy-class seats in the air. Boston, Massachusetts, is well-served by trains in and out of the commonwealth's capital city, making it possible to avoid airports altogether on several well-traveled routes. A train trip lessens hassle, offers more departure times, and makes your travel time more enjoyable, with most commuter rails offering free wi-fi and other amenities. Whether traveling up or down the East Coast or coming from points in the Midwest, it's easy to ride the rails to Boston.
Train Lines Into Boston
Amtrak runs four routes for train service that brings passengers into Boston:
- Acela Express – The fastest Northeast Corridor service between Washington, D.C., and Boston, with 14 intermediate stops including Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City and New Haven.
- Lake Shore Limited – Leaves daily from Chicago, Illinois, accommodating long-distance travelers with full dining service and sleeper cars.
- Northeast Regional – Extends its reach beyond Washington, D.C., to Virginia, stopping in Richmond, Norfolk and Virginia Beach with a daily round-trip service that includes a cafe car, business class and a quiet car.
- Downeaster – Makes five round trips daily in under four hours to and from Portland, Maine.
Boston's Amtrak Train Stations
Take Amtrak into downtown Boston, where there are three train stations, all with connections to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's rapid transit system:
- Boston South Station at 700 Atlantic Avenue near Chinatown and the financial district is the city's principal train terminal and also the main station for intercity bus service. Walking distance to much of downtown Boston, South Station has parking, a waiting room, ticket sales desks, Wi-Fi and elevators.
- Back Bay Station at 145 Dartmouth Street is near Copley Square. The station has parking and elevators but does not have a waiting room or Wi-Fi.
- North Station at 135 Causeway Street is used only for Amtrak's Downeaster trains to New Hampshire and Maine.
A fourth station, called Route 128, is just off the highway at 50 University Avenue in Greater Boston's western suburb of Westwood, with an MBTA Rail Providence/Stoughton Line train connection. This Boston train station has parking, a waiting room with ticket office, an elevator and Wi-Fi.
Know Your Boston Stations
Travelers should take care when selecting a Boston station for their Amtrak journey. Be certain that anyone meeting the train knows which station to come to. Pay close attention to the conductor's announcements to avoid disembarking at the wrong station when approaching Boston, as the distance between Route 128 and South Station is 17.5 miles, so if you miss it, you’ll have more than just a short walk – you’ll need to find public transportation.
Go to Boston via Amtrak
From downtown to downtown, train travel between the nation's capital and Boston can be as short as seven hours on the Acela Express. Trains traveling up to 150 mph depart hourly during the morning and afternoon peak times, and a few trains run throughout the night. Passengers can choose from different classes of service and levels of pricing when purchasing train tickets online, with discounts that apply for seniors, children and other special classes.
Amtrak can be an economical travel choice for families; one child age 2 to 12 is eligible for a 50 percent discount off the lowest available adult fare when traveling with a paying adult. Children under 2 are free. Amenities for all classes of service include large, comfortable reclining seats with a tray table, adjustable lighting at each seat, an at-seat power outlet for charging devices, Wi-Fi and a cafe.
Know Before You Go
Amtrak is more generous than the airlines for baggage allowances in all classes of service. Two personal items plus two pieces of luggage are free of charge; fees apply for excess baggage. Quiet cars and trains for those with no checked baggage might appeal to commuters and others looking for a business-like travel experience. Pets, with the exception of service animals, are not allowed by train companies on trips over seven hours in duration.