Amtrak Limits Service Following Train Derailment

May 13, 2015

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Late last night, Amtrak train 188, operating from Washington DC to New York, derailed just north of Philadelphia. 238 passengers and 5 crew members were on board, and the accident resulted in a still-unknown number of injuries and fatalities. Our thoughts go out to the passengers and their families.

Following the derailment, Amtrak service is suspended between New York and Philadelphia — all trains from Washington will terminate in Philadelphia and all trains from Boston will terminate in New York. If you’re traveling through the Northeast Corridor on Amtrak over the next few days, there’s a good chance you’ll run into cancellations or delays. It’s unclear when service will resume, so if the accident affects your travel plans, you’ll likely need to look for other options.

If you’re traveling between Boston or New York and Philadelphia and can’t drive or fly, you may use your Amtrak ticket on New Jersey Transit, connecting to a Trenton-bound train at New York Penn Station, or a Penn Station-bound train at Trenton. While not ideal, bus options are available between Trenton and Philadelphia (SEPTA service is also suspended), and you can connect to another Amtrak train in Philadelphia if you’re headed to DC or in New York to get to Boston.

Amtrak's Acela Express operates between New York and DC.
Amtrak’s Acela Express operates between New York and DC.

Of course, for travel between DC and Boston or New York, a last-minute flight booked with Avios would normally be a great option, but with limited rail service, nonstop award availability is virtually non-existent until the weekend. Direct flights between New York – LaGuardia or JFK and Washington – Reagan National Airport (DCA) are expensive, but if you’re low on cash this could be a good opportunity to use your credit card’s pay with points option. For example, if you book flights on American or US Airways through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center, you’ll get 1.6 cents per point in value, allowing you to snag a $400 one-way flight for 25,000 ThankYou points.

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