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In Response to TRAIN TRAVEL COSTS 2012 by nyadrn
I've taken AMTRAK from Chicago to DC a few times. Just recently, I returned from a trip to DC to spend 2 weeks with my daughter and her husband to take care of my 2 year old grandson while they needed a babysitter.
This time, I took a "roommette" which is nothing more than a tiny compartment with a window and door and 2 seats that can be made into a bed with a mattress. It cost about $330 but also included 2 meals. I loved the privacy of it. Returning from DC, I had coach but on the lower level which cost $96. Most of the seats were vacant, so I had 2 seats for myself. It doesn't include meals, but the bathrooms are on the same level. I brought 2 sandwiches and only went to the snack bar to get coffee in the morning. It sure beats the upper coach where it's crowded and less private and I have to walk down a spiral staircase to get to the bathrooms.
For those who don't want a room, the lower level is the best because it's great for seniors who don't want to climb stairs. Just bring along a jacket or blanket, even in summer, because it gets very chilly at night.