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Since the Otakon 2023 theme is trains, let's have a discussion thread all about trains!

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2023's theme for Otakon is trains, since I haven't seen a discussion thread set up for trains, let me start one if that's OK with everyone!


A pretty recent development regarding trains in the US is there is a group known as the Northeast Maglev that is working with the Central Japan Railroad Company on an attempt to bring Central Japan Railroad's SCMAGLEV (SuperConducting MAgnetic LEVitation) train technology to the NEC (the NorthEastern Corridor).

This high-speed passenger rail train line is proposed to go between Washington D.C. and New York City with an approximate one-way travel time between D.C. and NYC of 1 hour with an estimated operating speed of 311 MPH: Northeast Maglev - DC to NYC in One Hour

Here's the page about the technology that Northeast Maglev is going to use for this high-speed passenger rail line: Superconducting Maglev - Technology - The Northeast Maglev

Currently, a section of the proposed Maglev line is undergoing environmental review by the Federal Railroad Administration as required by the National Environmental Policy Act. This section that is undergoing environmental review would have the SCMAGLEV train traveling between D.C. and Baltimore (from what I've read, the estimated one-way travel time between D.C. and Baltimore would be 15 minutes). The environmental review process has recently released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (or DEIS) and currently being worked on is a Final Environmental Impact Statement (or EIS) which according to the timeline site is supposed to be released sometime in early 2023: See the Project Timeline and Status - The Northeast Maglev The completion of the environmental review is the release of a Record of Decision (or ROD) which the FRA will state whether or not they will approve or not approve the proposed construction of the SCMAGLEV line between D.C. and Baltimore.


There is a SCMAGLEV line currently under construction in Japan, the Chuo Shinkansen. This Shinkansen line is expected to "connect Tokyo and Nagoya in 40 minutes, and eventually Tokyo and Osaka in 67 minutes": Chūō Shinkansen - Wikipedia

What amazes me about SCMAGLEV trains is one seven-car train currently holds a world record for fastest rail vehicle at a recorded speed of 603 km/h (375 mph): L0 Series - Wikipedia This record is still not broken: Railway speed record - Wikipedia

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  • 8 months later...
On 9/6/2022 at 5:33 PM, Daniel Perales said:

Speaking of trains, I just made my Amtrak train reservations for next years Otakon. Only cost me $62 round trip (New York to Washington D.C. and back).


My partner and I waited too long to book our Amtrak tickets - $200 each round trip. Fares never used to fluctuate so wildly!

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On 5/26/2023 at 9:46 PM, Zeeba Neighba said:

I made my Amtrak reservation this past February.  I've taken Amtrak to Otakon almost every time I've attended, except for a couple of years where I took Megabus.

I used to drive to Otakon most of the time when it was in Baltimore. I started to take Megabus once it moved to Washington DC at first but then decided on Amtrak because it was quicker and more convenient, and not much more expensive.

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My brother and I drove down to Baltimore every year. (I used to love taking Route 1 back to the Philadelphia area on Sunday afternoon - it was a great drive on a sunny summer day.) The day I heard Otakon was moving to DC, I immediately decided 'We're taking the train down.' Yes, we're dependent on SEPTA and Amtrak*, but it's so much nicer not having to sit in traffic. (I can't stand 'Stop and Stop traffic'.) Factor in the price of parking at the hotel (What is it for the Marriott? $70 a night?), and it's pretty much better to take the train, even when I get business class tickets. (My brother prefers the legroom, and assigned seats let us sit together, unlike coach.) Sure it's more expensive, but Ota is normally my big vacation for the year.


* Case in point 1 - in 2017 there was an accident (a death, to my understanding) on the line between NY and Philly, so that delayed the train about 2 hours. The biggest downside was that by the time we got there, we just missed being able to hit the breakfast buffet and the Hampton.

Case in point 2 - last year, Amtrak ran late, so instead of having 20-25 minutes before the SEPTA regional rail left 30th Street, we had maybe 10. And with SEPTA tickets not valid after 3 days, I couldn't get them on Thursday for use on Sunday. Cue my brother & I 'sprinting' up the ramp to a ticket machine, trying to get tickets for the current train instead of having to wait another 2 hours for the next one.

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