I recently took the Amtrak train through Florida and thought I would put my Amtrak experience here, in case someone else is planning to take the Amtrak train through Florida.
“The train is 2 hours late and almost full” says the guy behind the counter at the Amtrak station in Lakeland, Florida. That shows out not to be exactly true, as the train turns up 3 hours late and it’s not even half full, but I get on and off we go towards Miami.
Nice seats and leg space on Amtrak.
I have taken the train a few times in the US over the years, but it’s my first experience with Amtrak and apart from being 3 hours late, the ride stats pretty nice with a comfortable seat with lot’s of leg space. There is plenty of space and I have an empty seat next to me, making things more comfortable than your average business class seat on a plane.
Nice but expensive little cafe in the train.
After half an hour rest, I head up to the little train cafe, where I buy a Samuel Adams Lager. Very happy to see that they have a few decent beer brands and not just your average Budweiser, Coors, Bush, yuengling piss water. And I had my beer served by a very joyful bartender who made us all feel welcome. The cafe has a nice little group of quirky characters that you often find on public transport. I have landed in a little colony of old hippies that day and they are friendly, freaky and talkative. I love these rides in the US, mainly because of the people you meet on them. That goes for all countries for that matter, but USA just have a few more freaky types on public transport than other countries and it’s never dull in the cafe car. Only thing I am not happy about there is the price of my beer. $7,25 for a beer is a lot, even if it’s a Samuel Adams.
The train goes through some nice Florida landscape until it get’s dark and you see quite a bit more on a trip like this, compared to if you drive on the highway. The ticket conductor is a friendly and easygoing woman who is good at customer service.
Buy your Amtrak ticket in advance.
If you plan to travel the Amtrak train then try to buy your tickets at least a couple of days in advance, or it can be quite expensive. If you buy it in advance though, then you can have some really good deals at times. I decided to take the train at the very last minute, so I had to pay a relatively high price, but that was ok with me as it was a nice trip and a nice experience taking the Amtrak train through Florida. You can book and reserve tickets on the Amtrak website: Amtrak
How would I rate my Amtrak experience?
On a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 is the worst and 10 is the best, I would give it a 7. Negative things were the delay and the price of the beer at the cafe in the train. But the seat was very comfortable and the cafe had a lot of charm. The fact that the Amtrak trains are pretty old just gives them a bit of charm to me. If I had to commute on Amtrak every day, I would probably feel a little different about that, but being a tourist, I was quite happy with the old Amtrak train.