This past week our family took Amtrak back home for a Christmas visit and ahead of this trip I heard so many times that people had always wanted to take the train, or wondered how it worked or how it was with kids – that this week we’re sharing a part of our journey with you. But before we get to that…a little background on Amtrak and the options you have…
The Southwest Chief stops in Newton, KS and connects travelers to stops along the way between Kansas City and Chicago to the east and connects you to Albuquerque all the way to Los Angeles to the west. There’s been a longtime discussion of adding a Wichita stop to what’s called the Heartland Flyer route. That currently connects Forth Worth, Texas to Oklahoma City…so adding a Wichita and or Kansas City stop to the route would open a lot of options for rail travelers, but a feasibility study announced in January, to be done in October of this year has since been delayed so KS rail travelers are still only left with east or west options on the Southwest chief. There are a few bus options that can connect you to cities to our south – but we haven’t given those a try. On our particular trip we caught the Southwest Chief in Newton and took it up to our hometown area near the stops of Fort Madison, Iowa and Galesburg, IL. One of the tricky parts of train travel is a limited schedule. In Newton, your train either leaves between 2 and 3 AM or arrives between 2 and 3 AM. Once you’re on the train it’s a pretty confortable ride for a snooze, so if you can tolerate the momentary wake-up call….it can work in your favor. We hauled our 3 and almost 2 year old boys on the trip and they took it like champs..
Looking back now, in our experience…the perks of train travel: it’s cheaper than flying, it can be faster than drive depending on who you’re riding with. With two under 4, the train ride for sure saves you time. When you arrive – you’re not as tired as when you drive…and you can use your travel time to accomplish other tasks.
The cons: once you get where you’re going, you don’t have a mode of transportation so you’re either renting a car, Ubering or in our case having family tow you around. And there’s the train schedule…especially when you’re considering a route that gets you home at 2:30 in the morning.
If you have other questions about our trip or train travel….just leave them in a comment on this post or on our Brevity Facebook or YouTube page.