More Than One Way to Skin an Amtrak Schedule

Here’s how a veteran Amtrak traveler figured out how to turn an awkward train schedule into a relaxed and enjoyable rail journey.
He’s traveling by train from Buffalo, New York, west to Chicago. Unfortunately, the schedule is not ideal. The one Chicago train a day, the Lake Shore Limited, doesn’t depart from Buffalo until midnight. Because he’ll have to check out of his hotel at noon, that means he’ll be at loose ends for a full 12 hours. And he won’t be getting to sleep in his roomette until well after midnight.

Instead, he books Amtrak’s eastbound Maple Leaf, which departs Buffalo at 1:30 in the afternoon, and gets to Utica, New York, at 5:15 p.m. There are several very good restaurants close to the station there and he will enjoy a leisurely dinner in one of them.
Then, returning to the Utica station, he’ll catch the westboundLake Shore Limited at 8:45, settle into his roomette, and be peacefully asleep by the time the train gets to Buffalo at midnight.
Yes, this diversion will cost more than traveling direct from Buffalo to Chicago, but – to me, anyway – it’s a lot better than sitting in the Buffalo train station for 10-12 hours.
Besides, it’s another train ride!