Last weekend I decided to try the train from Washington, DC to Williamsburg, Virginia instead of driving. The trip was a relatively quick four hours (compared to three hours by car). The base fare was $42. For an extra $21, I upgraded to business class. Quite reasonable. Business class gives you more legroom and complimentary non-alcoholic drinks in the cafe car.
I arrived at Union Station in DC 20 minutes before the scheduled departure time. Knowing how great Amtrak’s Red Cap service is, I checked in with the Red Cap desk to enjoy free pre-boarding. The train originated in New York City so many seats were already taken when I boarded. Luckily, I grabbed the only remaining forward-facing window seat in the business class car. If I hadn’t used Red Cap and boarded early, I would have had slim pickings for seats.
The business class cabin was somewhat dated in appearance and not very clean. The passenger before me had so nicely left her dirty pink socks and paper food tray. Fortunately, the seats had lots of legroom and were fairly comfortable. Amtrak offers free wifi, which works well, and there are outlets available at every seat.
The ride from DC to Williamsburg was pretty smooth and uneventful. I ventured twice to the cafe car three cars back for my complimentary coffee and soft drinks (they don’t offer seat service). One negative, the bathrooms in business class were in desperate need of cleaning.
Overall, the service by the Amtrak crew was very good with friendly staff. Despite a questionably clean interior, my trek to Williamsburg was quite enjoyable. For $63, it was a pretty great bargain, too. I will definitely take it again.