Amtrak: Do the trains run on time?

Amtrak logof

OK, you're heading to New York for a show, a game or a meeting, but you don't want to deal with traffic and parking so you opt for Amtrak. Riding the rails from the A-Town to The Big Apple is scenic and more relaxing than driving, but will you get there on time? The trip should take about 2 hours and 25 minutes. Anyone whose taken the train knows you're sort of at the mercy of the rail gods, though. But now there's amtrakdelays.com, aims to give us a little more control (or at least the illusion of control) over when we arrive. The site keeps delay records for Amtrak lines and calculates the the average delay for each train.

So, we did a search for a bunch of trains that run from Albany to New York City. Here's what we found...

Train Scheduled Departure from ALB Avg Delay into NYP
Empire Service 230 5:10 AM 1 minute
Empire Service 232 6:20 AM 1 minute EARLY
Empire Service 250 (Sat and Sun) 6:00 AM 5 minutes
Empire Service 252 (Sat) 7:00 AM (no data)
Empire Service 236 8:10 AM 1 minute
Empire Service 280 10:00 AM 38 minutes
Empire Service 282 (Sat) 11:00 AM 60 minutes
Empire Service 290 11:00 AM 34 minutes
Empire Service 286 1:00 PM 40 minutes
Ethan Allen 292 2:00 PM 20 minutes
Empire Service 242 3:15 PM 3 minutes EARLY
Lakeshore Limited 48 4:50 PM 95 minutes
Adirondack 68 6:00 PM 39 minutes
Empire Service 64 7:15 PM 21 minutes

A few things. The site only saves info on trains people have searched for, so data for some trains is missing and it's kind of sketchy for others. The one hour average delay on the 282 11 AM train is based on two days of reporting. One day the train was 2 hours late. The next day it was on time. But there's lots of info on other trains, and it's amazing how much the actual arrival times can vary. For example, the 4:50 (48) has been anywhere from 15 minutes early to 14 hundred minutes late.

The person behind amtrakdelays.com calls Amtrak "reliably unreliable" and suggests to just include the average delay time in your plans.

(Thanks for tip, George!)

The Bottom Line

Based on the data from amtrakdelays.com, if you can leave ALB for NYP before 10 AM, your chances are much better of arriving at the scheduled time.

Comments

Who can afford Amtrak unless it is an expense account ride? A family of 4, traveling off-peak, can take the train from Poughkeepsie for less than $52 round trip. Screw Amtrak.

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