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Amtrak's Ethan Allen Express, between NYC and Vermont
Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Brian Geltner

Amtrak is selling late-night fares for as low as $5

Night Owl service makes a case for taking the midnight train

Erika Mailman
Written by
Erika Mailman

You might be a small-town person, livin’ in a lonely world and ready to take the midnight train goin’ anywhere. If that’s the case, Amtrak has got the deal for you. Their Night Owl trains offer new “extra low” fares on late-night departures: for some routes, as low as $5. Baby!

These rates are for coach seats on trains departing anytime after 7 pm (and up until 5 am) out of New York City and stops in between.

You’re thinking (we are, too) that $5 can only apply to some ridiculous route that no one ever rides. Nope! It applies to two functional and well-traveled legs: from New York City to Newark/Newark Liberty International Airport, and from Philadelphia to Baltimore. That’s not a deal to shake off; a quick look at Amtrak’s fare schedule, plugging in various dates and times, means that the $5 route from NYC to Newark could run as high as $63!

A $10 fare connects you from NYC to Philadelphia or Wilmington, DE, and from Philadelphia to Washington, DC, and Washington, DC to Wilmington. Pay a little more and there are $15 and $20 routes as well.

So what does it mean to ride the train late at night? You’ll have plenty of legroom to stretch out, and the coach seats are ample enough to let you curl up. There are no middle seats so there'll be no squabbling over whose territory the armrest is. You’ll have free Wi-Fi and power outlets to recharge all your falling-asleep music. There’s even a Quiet Car if you want to make sure no one’s rehashing the night’s depravities in a loud voice while you’re trying to drift off.

In terms of luggage, bring along two bags and two personal items per person. It’s basically enough to change your life, right? Bring it all on board and don’t stop believin’ in streetlights and people.

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