Monday, March 31, 2008

Train travel for dummies

Getting the ticket

Go to the nearest station. Not sure which station is closest to your location - just google it. You can also use google transit to plan your trip.

There will be a ticket vending machine or a ticket office in the station.

Case 1 : Ticket vending machine

Instructions will be there on the screen. You have to enter the station number in the vending machine. The station numbers will be usually printed just above the vending machine. Once you have selected the station, then you have to enter the mode of payment -credit card/debit card/cash. In case you are using cash, there will be instructions on the machine on how to insert the currency note. Suppose you inserted $10 and your ticket is only worth $3, the machine will print the ticket and it will also return $7.

Case 2 : Ticket office

The ticket office will be usually located near the entrance. Wait in the queue, when your turn arrives, say the station and whether you need a return ticket or one way ticket.

Tip: If you have any questions regarding train timing and track, feel free to ask the person in the ticket booth.

You can also take a ticket from the train itself. But you have to pay additional money. In most trains you have to pay additional $5.

Tip : If you are planning to come back to the same station within 6 months, buy a return ticket. It will be much cheaper than two 2 way tickets!

Finding your way around

When in doubt ask someone! They will be happy to help you.

Usually in all stations there will be signs showing directions. In large stations there will be sign boards showing train time, train number and the track in which it arrives. Usually the board will also display the first two stops. There will be video terminals displaying train number, track and time, near the tracks.

In some stations before you get on to the track, you have to pass through a gate. When you reach the gate insert your ticket. The gate will open and the ticket will pop out in the other side. Take your ticket and proceed to the track.

In the train

The ticket inspector will come and collect your ticket. Then he will place a punched ticket in front of your seat. If you are moving to another seat, take this ticket with you.

In the train there will be announcements through the public address system. Before you reach a station there will be an announcement like this “Trenton next” or “You have reached Trenton”.

If you watch through the window, you can see the name of the station displayed on a board. In some trains there are electronic display systems which will display the next station.

Getting out of the train

The train door will be opened automatically as soon as it reaches the station. Watch your step while you get out of the train!

Tip : Always put a smile on your face, it will carry you through!

A sample train ticket - from Rutherford to secaucus station

Useful Links:

To travel local in tristate area on train or bus - NJTransit

To travel interstate on train - Amtrak

Plan your trip, to get a site map - Google tranist

Have more questions about train travel , post your question in forum

City by city train operators websites