Back    Home    Forums    Chat    Search     Site map     Print this page  

Auto Train Travel Tips

by Don Weinstein

Last update April 16th, 2015

On Track On Line - Amtrak Auto Train Tips Fares and Costs

Costs and Other Things

Cost Matters

The Auto Train is not inexpensive, although it can be cost-effective when compared with the price of flying and renting a car at your destination. Coach is a pretty good deal; a sleeping compartment, while quite comfortable, runs the price up considerably. Your fare will include a charge for your automobile, a charge for you and any other members of your party, and if you've reserved a compartment, a single charge for that.

Auto Train fares are complex and highly variable, based on your travel date and direction, and when you purchase your ticket. In general, purchase your ticket early for the least expensive fare. Visit Amtrak's website and you will be able to obtain exact fares for any Auto Train trip you are planning. To give you a rough idea of typical fares, during the winter of 2015, Amtrak was quoting a round-trip price in coach of about $1024 for two adults with one child and one standard-size car. Adding a round-trip Family Bedroom raised the round-trip fare to about $1,827.

If you are willing to pay an extra $50 when you make your reservation, Amtrak guarantees that your vehicle will be one of the first to be unloaded at your destination terminal. This perk is limited to the first 25 people to reserve it for that day.And it can only be booked by phone at 1-877-SKIP-I-95 or with a ticket agent at a station; it cannot be booked online. You can still book your reservation online; just not the ‘Priority Vehicle Offloading‘ addon.

If you think you may become a regular Amtrak passenger, it's worth your while to enroll in Amtrak's Guest Rewards program, which operates similar to the airline frequent flyer programs, awarding you free trips and other incentives based on your purchases of Amtrak tickets.

The Auto Train offers a 10% discount on rail fare to members of the National Association of Railroad Passengers and to members of any American Automobile Association (AAA) auto club. Be aware that Amtrak's normal senior citizen discounts do not apply to travel on the Auto Train. Other discount fares may occasionally be available, particularly when traveling against the predominant flow of east coast traffic (for instance, traveling north in January may result in a less expensive fare). Check Amtrak's website and look under the heading "Deals" for Weekly Specials to see if any discounts are available for the period when you plan to travel

Amtrak Vacations operated by a private travel agency on Amtrak's behalf, offers complete packages that include Amtrak travel, hotels, rental cars, planes, and travel insurance. You can call Amtrak Vacations at 1-800-AMTRAK2 (1-800-268-7252) or visit them at the Amtrak Vacations Web Site. Their travel planner can be ordered on line by clicking here.

Tipping is not required, but is a nice touch. At dinner it is suggested to leave $5; at breakfast $2 should be sufficient. Your car attendant, particularly in first class, should also receive a tip. Around $10-$20 is fine for sleeper car passengers who receive good service.


Reservations for regular coach, first class, and special fares can be made by calling Amtrak at 1-877-SKIP-I95 (special Auto Train number) or 1-800-USA-RAIL (872-7245) (general Amtrak reservations), or by talking to a travel agent who understands train travel. Ask to receive the special Auto Train brochure. For a vacation package call 1-800-268-7252.

Other Things You Should Know

Auto Train passenger platform in Lorton No pets are permitted on board the Auto Train, with the sole exception of service dogs that are clearly assisting a passenger with special needs. This rule is strictly enforced. Also, do not leave a pet in your car-- the auto carriers are typically frigid in the winter and steamy hot in the summer.

Next page discusses some information for serious railfans and asks for your comments.

Amtrak does not endorse this page and other associated On Track On Line pages, nor does it sponsor this or any other On Track On Line page. Amtrak sources were used to compile or confirm some of the information here, but this does not represent official Amtrak information, nor is this information endorsed by Amtrak.

On Track On Line - Copyright for Auto Train © 2003-2018 Donald Weinstein, David Warner, Harry Sutton, & Alan Burden Back    Home    Top