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What’s New in Overnight Train Travel in the U.S.

by Staff

Auto Train, Amtrak

Route: Nonstop between Sanford, Florida, and Lorton, Virginia 

If you’re not familiar with the Auto Train, this Amtrak option is unique because you take your vehicle with you. Cars, trucks and motorcycles are loaded into train cars specially designed to transport vehicles — and these cars are then connected to the passenger cars. 

The coach cars on the Auto Train recently got a refresh including new seating cushions, upholstery, carpeting and window curtains. Or you can choose from private accommodations including a roomette or bedroom with upgraded bedding, pillows, towels and linens.

Cost: Prices start at $95 for coach seating with a complimentary continental breakfast, plus the cost of your vehicle: starting at $285 for a standard vehicle, $325 for extended vehicle and $155 for a motorcycle. 

Amtrak’s Silver Service and Palmetto trains departs from New York City

Passengers can enjoy refreshed cars on Amtrak’s Silver Service and Palmetto trains departing from New York City.

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Silver Service and Palmetto, Amtrak

Route: New York City to Miami

This New York-to-Miami route is serviced by three trains: the Palmetto (NY to Savannah), plus the Silver Meteor and Silver Star (a pair of trains together known as the Silver Service). Going from the metropolitan cities of the Northeast, the trains wind down along the East Coast through the Southeast, where you enjoy views of cities such as Charleston, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia. The Silver Meteor and Silver Star continue service to the warm beaches of southern Florida, before eventually ending up in Miami. If you want to hop on and off to explore the destination along the way in the Southeast or around the country, you’ll need to buy a USA Rail Pass for coach travel ($499) or purchase tickets with individual stops.

As part of Amtrak’s multiyear project to update its long-distance routes, totally refreshed coach and café cars — featuring upgraded curtains, seating/cushions, carpeting and reading lights — have been incorporated into the fleet for these lines. In addition, the company has refreshed sleeping cars on the Silver Service route and modernized interiors of four types of bilevel cars used in long-distance routes.

Cost: Cost varies depending on timing and whether you’re making the complete trip or only going to one of the locations along the way. Check the Amtrak website for deals and promotions. Amtrak offers a 10 percent discount for people 65 and older.

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