Amtrak – a good ride! Megabus – a newcomer!

AMTRAK – a good ride!

The Sunset Limited pulls into Alpine station

Alpine is served three times weekly by Amtrak’s  Sunset Limited train. I recently took the train to and from Houston, an on-time and comfortable journey with a low ticket price. Changes to the schedule now means that you leave Alpine on Monday, Thursday and Saturday at 8.45 p.m., arriving Houston 11.10 a.m. the next morning. On the return trip. the train leaves Houston on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday at 6.55 p.m., arriving in Alpine at 10.38 a.m. At this time of year (January), the Sunset Limited is not even half full, so you can get two seats to yourself. The seats recline and a footrest swings up, so effectively you have a small bed to recline on. With a pillow supplied by Amtrak, you’re all set for a snooze, even a sleep. I never take a sleeper “roomette”, which is priced at $499 (for one person) round trip. A  coach seat costs $130 round trip which, for a 1,192-mile trip, is surely a bargain.

In 2012 Alpine got a new station platform!

The restaurant car provides a reasonable hot breakfast from $7.50, and there are snacks and drinks available from the bar below the observation car, which remains open until 11.00 p.m. The Amtrak cars are 35-years old but clean enough and comfortable. The ticket prices on this route are subsidized, so Alpine residents can count themselves lucky, while this service lasts. In 2012 I rode the train to New Orleans, and back from Los Angeles-– both good trips. Since the decline in freight trains following the economic slow-down, the Sunset Limited is generally on-time. You can book and print your ticket on-line at www.amtrak.com.

The observation car 

Megabus – A Newcomer!

A new inter-city bus company, Megabus, has started service between selected cities in Texas. Megabus, a British company which operates in the U.K. and Europe, arrived on the East Coast in 2008. Using large, blue double-decker buses, and offering promotional fares as low as $1, Megabus soon expanded to the mid-West. In June 2012, they arrived in Texas, using Dallas as a hub.

Fort Stockton and Midland are the two cities closest to Alpine served by Megabus. Fares east from Midland to Dallas, range from $7-$18; and the same going going west to El Paso. Early morning and late evening were the cheapest rates; and booking early on all routes is the way to get those low fares.

A reservation from Dallas to New York is April would cost $94 for the 38-hour trip; in March a ticket Dallas to Midland was selling for $1.(For $1 fares, you need to use Megabus promo code IHeartTexas). This is clearly a promotional fare, and the company’s policy is to market aggressively to build up passenger revenue. On a recent Megabus trip from San Antonio to Fort Stockton, there were only 7 passengers. Clearly number will need to improve or the route will be dropped.Still, these people seem to know their business and seem determined to expand.

For fares information and to book trains: http://www.amtrak.com

To more information and to book Megabus: http://us.megabus.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jim Glendinning About Jim Glendinning

I am a Footloose Scot who has traveled to 136 countries. "I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move." Robert Louis Stevenson
Read about Jim Glendinning and his book Footloose Scot: Travels In A Time Of Change

Comments

  1. Hi Jim and thanks for the travel info. I don’t understand the reference to $1 in your train ticket heading? Is is $130 or $1?

    My book signing will be at Front Street in Alpine on Thursday, Feb 7, 6pm. I’d really appreciate your appearance. I’ll be nervous. My best to you, Marie

    • Jim Glendinning Jim Glendinning says:

      Marie, hi!

      The bus paragraph follows immediately after the Amtrak piece. Megabus fares run from $1, depending when you book. My specific train fare Alpine to Houston by Amtrak was $130.

      You’re on my calendar for the 7th. I’m looking forward to it. Focus on a friendly face and you’ll be fine!!

      cheers,

      Jim

  2. The Megabus promo code for $1 fares in Texas “IHeartTX”

  3. Dorothy Zelazny Angrist says:

    Jim…….I always enjoy reading about your various travels…..especially via Amtrak.
    I continue to consider an interesting journey myself via Amtrak later this year (2013) in which I’ll visit my Son Rich & his wife in their soon-to-be built new home in New Jersey. Oh, what fun! Dorothy

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