Brian Cooper: Train travel not so great

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Lum3n/via Pexels Lum3n/via Pexels

Published: 01-05-2024 9:05 PM

My eyes rolled a bit when I read about how wonderful and convenient it is that we can take an Amtrak train between Northampton and New York City (More Aboard!” Gazette, Dec. 27). It certainly is convenient for the city dweller without a family car, but for those who do have a car, not so much.

To go into the city for a long weekend, leaving Northampton on Friday morning and departing NYC on Sunday afternoon, the cost on Amtrak for my wife, our young son and me is $475. The train trip can cost as “little” as $360, but with midday departures on each end for that price, we’d be wasting those days, unable to spend them in the city.

On the train, the trip takes 4-½ hours each way. I can drive from Northampton into Manhattan in three hours flat if I avoid rush hour. It costs $50 in gas round-trip, and I can park in midtown Manhattan for $75 per day including overnight.

Therefore, a 2-night stay in Manhattan using the car saves 1.5 hours each way, and is $275 cheaper than the train. Even with the cheapest train tickets at the most inconvenient times, it’s $160 cheaper to drive.

My family makes this trip once or twice a year to enjoy a long weekend in the city. We’ve never taken the choo-choo train, and unless there are major changes to the status quo, we never will.

Brian Cooper

Sunderland

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