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We are not strangers to Amtrak. We have taken Amtrak — and even the Acela — from Boston to New York (and back, and even once from Philadelphia) many, many times. But, the ‘Downeaster’ was a mystery — a service that I had never previously considered. Plus, it is strange, it is not something that readily comes to mind because I rarely see ‘Downeaster’ trains in action.
But, this last Sunday, heading to Boston Chinatown for the Lunar New Year celebrations I decided to give the ‘Downeaster’ a spin. It came up as an option when I was Googling bus services. Yes, I normally drive to Boston. I have no problems driving to Boston, though parking can be slightly infuriating. But, I had done a lot of driving in the past month — which had included trips to Boston, Rockland (Maine) and a number of trips to the Portsmouth area. I wanted to sit back and let someone else drive.
Given that there are three of us taking the bus, either from Dover or Concord, would have been cheaper. With the 50% discount I can get as a senior the $28 return-trip fare is definitely fair. But, when you are talking of a family of 3 or 4, even if you can get 50% off on all the tickets, it is expensive. Cheaper to drive, especially on a Sunday when you can park in Boston for ~$11.
But, I wanted to go by train. We haven’t had a proper train trip in 4-years. It was time. It was relaxing. It was nice.
It was not fast. I clocked it using GPS. Was doing around 55mph. 98 minutes from Dover to North Station. In a good day I can drive from home to Downtown Boston in 90 minutes. So, faster speed definitely is not factor.
Nice scenic route. Through tons of undeveloped land. Much more scenic than taking I-93 or I-95. That was a plus.
Good trip. Enjoyed it. I will do it again — mainly just for the love of traveling by train.