Amtrak Empire Service to NYC

I love travel via the train. The Husband and I traveled by train on our honeymoon and my family did all of Canada by rail. I consider myself an unofficial expert (read my tips for train travel).

Anytime we go to NY we start in NYC and take the train to western New York, but this trip we did vice versa. We started in Rochester, NY for my middle brother’s wedding. We stayed an extra week, did a ton of touristy things in Buffalo, then headed on the Amtrak Empire Service to NYC, for yet another wedding.

We boarded the train at the Rochester station, which is not nice at all. It’s dingy, the bathrooms are disgusting and seats look dirty. Luckily the staff is super nice every time, and that makes up for the station.

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Not the nicest, but not the worst I’ve been in.

We always book business class when we take the train. It’s only $30-ish extra and includes bigger seats, quieter area, free soda, water, coffee, juice, and a newspaper. You also get on at the back of the train with the few people in business, instead of the front of the train with everyone else.

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Wouldn’t you rather get on in the back than walk all the way to the front?

We (meaning the Husband) hauled our luggage on the train, wheeled through the snack cart, back to the business class section. Yes, another perk is that you are the closest to the snack car.

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The snack car. Nothing fancy, but it has all the necessities, including wine, craft beer, and microwave pizza.

We headed to the back to drop our luggage off and pick our seats.

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There is even an area to hang your garment bag.

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The business class car. I’m standing where there is space for your luggage.

We picked the seats in the rest row, since I like to look out the back of the train.


The view as we approached Penn Station.

We settled in our seats. The Husband always has plenty of leg room on the train. The seats and the area between them are very spacious.

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A single window seat.

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So much leg room!

I got out our snacks and prepared for the 8ish hour ride.

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Must always have healthy snacks when traveling.

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Cheers! Thanks Hazlitt for the mini wine bottles.

And if you don’t remember your own snacks, you can get a variety of sandwiches, snacks, or microwaved stuff.

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It’s become customary to get microwaved pizza on our trips. And no, I did not arranged the pepperonis that way!

The bathroom is in front of the snack car. Sometimes there is a sign designating it for business class passengers only and sometimes there isn’t. This time there wasn’t but it stayed pretty clean. And it’s a pretty good sized bathroom.

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I ventured in to coach, just to take a photo quick. It was pretty loud and looked crowded, so I got out of there fast.

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Coach class.

If you are in coach (or even business) you can sit at some tables by the snack bar, as long as you get there first. There aren’t too many.

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Dining car.

The best part about the whole trip is the view. You spend a lot of time going along rivers, first the Mohawk then the Hudson.

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And at the end you go through a tunnel, and voila! You’re in Manhattan.

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I’m home!

If you ever get the chance to take the train across NY, DO IT! It’s so relaxing and it really is a pretty ride. Seems like a long time to be on a train, but trust me, it goes by fast.



2 thoughts on “Amtrak Empire Service to NYC”

  1. Hi! I’m glad to have found your site because I’m considering going on Amtrak from Rochester almost all the way across to NYC. As far as Coach vs Business, will the coach cars be as well-kept/clean? I haven’t ridden Amtrak in 30 years, so I don’t know what it’s like! Is the atmosphere even in coach pretty courteous among riders? Just debating if I should spend the extra money for Business if I’m fine bringing my own food and don’t really need the extra leg room. Thank you in advance for replying if you see this!

    1. Hi! Thanks for reading!
      Business class is definitely worth the money. It’s usually not that much to upgrade but it’s quieter, generally no crying kids, and often times it has a separate bathroom just for business class passengers.

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