My wife Cathy and I left Buffalo (Depew) station at 10:00am, 4/12, on Train #286 - Business Class. The train was on time, and very clean. Depew Station was full of people and the parking lot was a maximum capacity. It was good to see so many riding trains. The only problem with this train was that either the PA was not working or station stop announcements were not being made.
Arrived New York City's Penn Station approximately 30 minutes late due to track work by CSX near Syracuse. Penn Station was very secure with Amtrak Police and I was surprised to still see military patrolling the station with Amtrak PD. The Acela first class lounge was clean and well stocked with beverages etc. Good service, very polite.
Left NYC Penn Station (on time) on Acela First Class #2171 at 7:00pm. Meals were good and hot, served at the seat. Beef Borgonoine was very good. Drinks were cold and served whenever you would like one. The train rode well, good speed, announcements and the electronic sign boards were great.
Arrived at Wilmington, DE at 8:37pm, right on time. We stayed in Wilmington for two nights.
We left Wilmington. DE, on 4/14 on Metroliner #113, at 1:35pm on time, business class. The older Metroliner was in good shape and well maintained. Arrived on time at Washington, DC, Union Station, which is now a great place with lots going on, shops, restaurants, etc. The Acela Lounge at Union Station was also in excellent shape and personnel were very pleasant.
We rode the VRE #327 to Manassas, VA, where we got off and stayed with our daughter and her family for one night. The VRE (Virginia Rail Express) train was full by the second stop out of DC. These were being operated in the push pull mode with a cab car on end. Most of the coaches were double decker, and tight seating.
On 4/15 we started our trip home. We left Manassas, VA at 6:50am on the VRE #328 and arrived at Washington, Union station on time at 8:05am. Luckily we got on at the second stop, as the train was full and people standing within the next stop. The VRE are well used and could use more cars added. The station stops were not real clear on the PA. Inspectors checked your tickets that you clip on your seat, on a regular basis. $6 per person to DC.
We left DC, 9:00am, on Acela #2158 First Class and arrived in NYC, on time at 11:48am. Excellent ride, good staff on the Acela, My wife and I had Belgium waffles which were very good for breakfast as we moved along at approximate 135 MPH. I highly recommend a first class trip on the Acelas. The cars were mostly filled and a lot of business people seemed to be using these instead of flying or driving.
At 12:45pm we left NYC Penn Station for Albany on the refurbish NY-Amtrak Turboliner #251. Seating in Business Class was OK; when we walked back to look at regular coach seating it looked crowded. You could hear the air and linkage each time the air horns were activated. Acceleration was real good. Over all it's good to see NY get these back in operation, with these nice large windows.
We arrived on-time at the new Albany Station. Nice station, very roomy and has space for more tenants. The US Post Office occupies some of the west side of the station. Interesting point: the station announcer walks out to where people go down to the trains and makes the announcements using a wireless microphone and he is actually with the people to answer questions. This is a nice touch.
Departed Albany on #49 the Lake Shore Limited a few minutes late, however arrived in Buffalo on time. We had a deluxe sleeper in which TV and shower etc. worked well. Dining Car was busy and I had a steak dinner, with ice cream for desert. My wife had a steak dinner and chocolate cake. It seemed like they could have used one more person to help in the dining car. As usual we met some nice people in the dining car that were going on to Chicago.
Over all an excellent trip and I compliment Amtrak on it's many improvements.
When arriving at Buffalo (Depew Station) all went well, but many of the parking lot lights were out and they need more parking space, as this increase in train travel continues.