Thursday, January 15, 2015

Out of town on a rail: $46

Here's a great tweak to your winter getaway: Amtrak is offering 20 percent discounts on certain passenger train routes around the United States.

The sale offer available now through Jan. 31, for travel Feb. 2 through March 31. The catch? Reservations are required seven days in advance of travel; they're non-refundable, seats and times are limited (some blackout dates apply), they're valid only for coach seats and can't be used for accommodation upgrades...

 and they're one way.

That said, look at the prices that apply for rides between Charlotte and:

Atlanta: $46
Washington, D.C.: $66
Philadelphia: $84
New York: $89

The Atlanta trip is via Amtrak's Crescent; the others are via the Carolinian, a train sponsored by N.C. DOT that is operated by Amtrak.

Sure, it's one-way... but because the discount is valid in either direction, you could buy two one-ways for a round trip -- it's still a great deal.

Also, a one-way fare may be just your  ticket: If, say, you have a friend in Atlanta who is interested in visiting you here, just take the train to Atlanta and return to Charlotte as a passenger in your pal's car. You'll have plenty of time to talk... and the driver sure won't get lost upon reaching metro Charlotte.

Trail travel is a truly American experience that, unfortunately,  many of us don't use. In this day and age, we're too time-pressed to do anything but fly or drive.

Railroads take longer than jets to get where you're going, but you watch the changing landscapes through the windows, get up and walk around the train, and  chat with other travelers.

Take the time. Ride the rails.

Details are at -- a site you can periodically check for other travel opportunities. You can also call 800-872-7245  (800-USA-RAIL).