Amtrak - 22 Reviews - Train Stations - 250 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX

Amtrak - 22 Reviews - Train Stations - 250 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX
7/19/2016

Really enjoyed my trip on Amtrak between and Ft. Worth.   Didn't have to fight traffic, get tired, and since I wasn't driving I could nap. Highly recommend purchasing a sleeper compartment.

6/19/2016

I love taking the train, but you might not, and taking the line that services Austin (the Texas Eagle from Chicago to San Antonio) has a number of pros and cons. Pro: the station is centrally located on N, Lamar and near Whole Foods and 24, places to grab a bite or drink when your train is inevitably late, which it will be, because...Con: Amtrak is legendarily poor at staying on schedule, because the trains, essentially still using the rail technologies of the 1960s, can't safely go over eighty to make up time when they fall behind, which they will because they share tracks with freight companies, making the posted schedule on any given day little more than a glorified wish list. But you might not care, because...Pro: Amtrak is incredibly comfortable, with coach seats bigger than airline first class that you can also recline without crushing the person behind you. You can bring your own food aboard (and, if you're willing to be discrete, your own booze--it's pretty much DADT). There are snacks and drinks for sale and a crappy restaurant that doesn't serve good food, but that does group seating to introduce you to other travellers. The meals are all free for two if you get a roomette (also, roomettes get you access to showers). This is advisable because...Con: Amtrak will assign shared seats in order to create room for travellers down the line even if a train is presently not full, meaning that you will be seated next to total strangers who may snore and who will have intimate access to all of your stuff if you get up and wander to the observation deck, which you will, because...Pro: watching the country roll by from Austin to Chicago or Austin to LA from the observation deck is one of the coolest experiences you can ever have travelling in the United States. Watching the entire American West roll by from East Texas to the California coast in particular is so awe-inspiring that you momentarily forget you're using the G20's slowest and most poorly funded rail service.Short version: great for seeing things, but fly if you're in a hurry.

2/18/2015

Pros: Most comfortable ride I've had in the 21st century. First (memorable) Amtrak ride, and wow damn it felt like being lulled to sleep like a baby panda.Cons: Extremely inefficient passenger train schedule. I think Amtrak & UP (Union Pacific) share the rail line so the listed times are more like guidelines than realistic schedules. At first it wasn't too bad (+1-2hr wait) but the lack of good times kept rolling well into the evening (+2-3hr) and then some. The capstone of disappointment was that it took longer to travel from Austin to San Antonio by train than it does driving (SanAnt.-Austin traffic is infamously bad during rush hr.)Nitty-Gritty: If you're not in a rush and looking for a comfortable way to travel it may be worth a trip (heard longer trips are better). The staff was informative, helpful, and likely had nothing to do with the late arrival, but overall it was 2.5 star experience as I didn't get to SA until 12-1am (originally scheduled for ~8pm arrival).

10/24/2015

This is a review of the Austin Amtrak Station (AUS), not Amtrak itself. I love trains, and my first trip was very pleasant. But the Austin station is nothing to write home about. The staff were all helpful, but it's a tiny little place with one track going by it. Not even much room to sit. The good news is that, as my home station, it's incredibly quick to get in and out of.

8/10/2016

Took the Amtrak from Ft.Worth to Austin and back, we were an hour and half late to Austin but that wasn't the worst the seats are cloth and they were very stained and dirty the papers on back of seats where you put your head hadn't been changed in a long time . The bathrooms were very nasty so were the floors all thru the train they look like they have never seen a mop and the stairs were just filthy , don't know who is suppose to keep things clean but most of the trip the crew was sitting in the dining car talking , The floor of the dining car also had food and trash under the tables our server in the dining car was rude I wanted to sit across from my grandson and was told no I had to sit next to him we were rushed to order , these people know nothing about customer service most of the time the servers were sitting down instead of waiting on customers, not one person came thru just to check on passengers, basically they are being paid for doing very little, what i have said above goes for the train coming back .

4/26/2015

This review is only of my experience from the San Antonio, TX station to the Austin station.We left the San Antonio station 10mins behind schedule which somehow turned into us rolling into Austin at 9:30am, 30mins after our scheduled arrival time.The train ride is supposed to be 2hrs and we left San Antonio just after 7pm. I had been on the train for almost 20hrs at this point and the last meal I had on the train was at 6pm the previous day, so needless to say I was hungry and ready for the included breakfast. So we went to go and see if the dining car was open, when we were barked at by Lucius, the "Lead Dining Car Server" that it wasn't open yet, but he didn't give us a timeframe as to when the dining car would open, just that there would be an announcement. There was an announcement that the Cafe car was open, but that is a different car and the food it serves is not part of the included meal plan.When 7:45 am rolled around and they still hadn't opened the dining car, we peeked into the dining car to see Lucius and the other waitress sitting down eating. I understand that employees have to eat, but for us with a short window to have our included breakfast (which has now dwindled down to almost an hour) before our final destination of Austin and the fact that 45mins since we LEFT the station had already passed, I was just at a loss for words that they chose that particular moment to sit down for their meals?  Finally, just before 8am, Lucius, who now had a full blown crowd on his hands, opens the dining car, but when we head to a table, he's like "You don't seat yourselves!"...seriously? We were literally the first people in the car, so it honestly should not have mattered where we sat. So he barks at us which table to sit at (on the previous legs of my 23.5hr train ride from Tucson to Austin that required dining room car seating, the server allowed us to choose where to sit and then would fill the table accordingly) and starts directing some other people to sit with us, when the two lovely ladies we met in the Lounge car say they'd like to sit with us and I inform Lucius (because he made a remark "You don't sit yourself at a restaurant do you?") that he may take it upon himself to dictate where we sit to make himself feel more important, but he was not going to dictate who we sat with. We were the first table sat, but sat there for quite awhile before the waitress ever came up to us as Lucius decided he wasn't going to wait our table and proceeded to wait several other ones around us. Finally, our waitress shows up w/a look on her face and attitude like we were bothering her. I believe her name was Polly, but could not be sure as her name tag was hard to read. We fill out of meal forms for our sleeper car and sit there as she goes and passes them out to everyone else as well. Then she comes back and takes our drink and food orders. I am not joking when I say we waiting almost 10mins for our coffees and several other tables had theirs from Lucius before we did. Our waitress was literally nowhere to be seen before she finally showed up with a tray of drinks and turns to the table across from us to give them their drinks (they ordered well after us) before turning around, again with attitude, to give us our drinks. Almost 15mins later, we were still waiting for food when we see our waitress sitting down at a table at the end of the dining car...eating again!?! Our food finally comes out and we start to chow down because at this point we had just pulled into the San Marcos station and were told that there is only about 20-30mins before Austin. I could not believe the level of service (or lack thereof) by both servers and their attitudes were honestly appalling, especially Lucius. When we had told him why we were upset about having to wait almost an hr for the dining car to open, he said "I'm in the dining car, I don't go by the train's schedule"...are you kidding me?!Needless to say, I don't think I will ever be taking Amtrak from San Antonio to Austin again because if those two are staples on that route, I will save my money and avoid the arrogance and rudeness that seem to be acceptable on this route.

6/8/2011

First ride on Amtrak with our destination being Fort Worth for a weekend anniversary trip. Didn't know what to expect about any aspect of the ride; but now I am a bit more versed and highlight what we could have done better. The train ride is roughly four hours. We got our tickets, checked in the luggage, and boarded the train. We take off and I think, well I'm not driving lets go the snack bar and get a beer! Domestic cans were $5; Foreign beers like the Corona I got was $6. $18 later I could have bought a case of beer the grocery store. Then I noticed a couple sitting behind us pop open a beer that wasn't in the snack bar. BYOB? GENIUS! I visited with them and found they had left San Antonio two stops before us and would be on the rail for 50+ hours heading back to Virginia. They brought a case of beer in a soft sided cooler, a gallon size bag of candy, cookies, granola bars, and sandwich stuff. Ol' Rooster will be prepared next time. The experience was cool, the train's A/C worked wonderfully to and from Fort Worth. The staff was friendly except for two female associates at the Fort Worth station on our return visit. The called boarding for our trip so the wife and I went out and boarded the train. I realized then the staffers were late and I had to dash back down and hand over our tickets. I apologized to the employees and explained we had boarded since they were absent. The two were not amused and made me wait all the way thru the line, then snarked at me "now you can get in line". Grow up woman, it wasn't my fault you weren't where you were supposed to be. A three star experience thanks to the strong black woman attitude.

Look, a $6 Corona! Look, a $6 Corona! 10/15/2013

Rail travel is often overlooked as a way to get in and out of Austin.  Unfortunately, the US has its addiction to cars and instant gratification, so traditionally we hop on the car or plane to get where we're going, and commonly forget the 3rd option: Trains.But when you're not in a big hurry, and want to take a relaxing trip, you have the option of Amtrak.  This little Amtrak depot is nestled a few blocks away from Whole Foods in the heart of Austin.You can ride the Texas Eagle Southbound (21) to San Antonio which leaves every day around 6pm and takes about 3 hours at $14.  The 22 Northbound leaves daily around 9:30am and goes all the way to Chicago's Union Station, or it's 4 or 5 hours to Fort Worth and Dallas ($28), respectively.  NOTE: these prices are as of October 2013.If going all the way to Chicago, it takes about 29 hours priced at $133 (coach class) to complete the journey. I'd highly recommend you get a first class room which is about $338 (or $538 for two people) and has a bunk bed, includes meals, and a shower.Most of the trains, oddly, do not have Wi-Fi. But there is an electrical outlet for every 2 seats. Load up your laptop or iPad with movies or bring a good book to read along your journey.  The lounge car of the train has a snack bar on the lower level which serves food, beverages, beer, wine, and liquor. The diner car serves 3 meals a day but it's a bit pricey.The seats recline better than a plane, and there is tons of legroom.  Be sure to bring a blanket and a pillow, because these trains are air conditioned like a meat locker.  If you're tall like me (6'3), it will be hard, but not impossible, for you to sleep on the journey to Chicago. Assuming you don't have a person sitting next to you, getting creative with the foot rests and recline, you can get enough space to curl into the fetal position and get some Zzz's. For me, it's impossible to sleep in the sitting position.There are no TSA or security screening goons whatsoever.  Unlike airports, you can bring pretty much whatever you can carry onto the train. There is also a place on the lower level to store extra suitcases or baggage.  You can bring your own beverages, liquor, or food, but they will not allow you to use their microwaves due to FDA regulations.Traveling by train is a good experience if you're not in any hurry. If you enjoy scenery, you should try it if you hate airports or don't want to drive. Who knows how much longer Amtrak will be around, so enjoy it while you still can, and write your legislators to fund railroad improvements so that maybe one day, we can travel by train to Chicago in less than 24 hours. Wouldn't it be nice to get to Dallas in less than2 hours without having to drive or go to the airport?

4/15/2012

My daughter and I take the train to see family in Ft. Worth.  It takes about an hour longer than driving, but it is sooo worth it.  To my daughter it is a big adventure, to me it means I can read a book, take a nap, watch a movie, and even have lunch and/or drink a beer instead of driving!  If you are not on a strict time table, this is a great way to travel.  Also, it is cheaper than what you would spend on gas.

4/29/2012

I didn't get off at this station, but I know it's right next to Whole foods and has a view of Town Lake.  How can it not be great?!

San Antonio to Austin. Massive leg room! San Antonio to Austin. Massive leg room! 5/11/2013

I just came home after watching  a set of trains celebrating National Train Day really cool it is like these guys are old enough to be your grandpa they had elaborate trains set along with houses buildings and trees if you get a chance go by there and get a  goody bag for the kiddos ,or better yet take the kids to this free eventI give this place five stars but my computer only gives two help me guys WTF

6/6/2013

If you see the YMCA you are in the right place.  The Amtrak station is behind the YMCA so keep going straight.  At night you can't see the sign.  I hope that Amtrak's facilities personnel would find some time to add some lighting to the signage so that people don't think they are lost.

5/5/2013

Austin Amtrak is a cute  little station in need of work. The door to the platform is broken, the sidewalks need power washing, cigarette butts are EVERYWHERE, the parking lot needs repaving and so on. It is a station in a nice area that needs some TLC. The people who work here are nice, though.

3/24/2009

There once was a time when Amtrak was actually more expensive than the prison train, I mean Greyhound.  However, that times seems to have passed as Amtrak is now considerably cheaper than Greyhound.  I recently took the Amtrak from Benson, AZ out to Austin for SXSW and was very pleased with the overall trip.PROS:*You can get up and walk around*They have pretty nice restrooms (unlike Greyhound)*The food is actually pretty decent*The people are less crazy than those on Greyhound*Much less likely to be stabbed, decapitated and eaten (like on Greyhound)CONS:*Food is damn expensive*Nobody told me we had a NINE hour layover in San Antonio, only 70 miles from my destination!*Smokers might hate life, not as many stops as Greyhound and the ones they have are pretty shortOverall, it was a good trip, pretty long, 30 hours, but much better than Greyhound and cheaper than flying.  Amtrak is a solid choice for the budget conscious traveller and for those with extra time who are really looking to see more of America.  Also a great choice for families and the handicapped as the trains and facilities are much easier to use than Greyhound, and much safer.

10/24/2008

I took Amtrak from Austin, TX to Marshall, Tx this week.  It was $42.00 each way and took about ten hours going and longer back. I am not an Amtrak neophyte. In California, I used to make the roughly 2 hour Amtrak trip from the Bay area to Sacramento back and forth about 3 times a week. Those trains are fully equipped with tables, electrical receptacles and even wi-fi.   These trains aren't like that.  These are considerably older and dirtier.  Although some cars had electrical receptacles, they herded anyone from or to Austin into the nastiest oldest cars in the train - and you can't move seats. How maddening is it that they stick you in a shitty dirty car and then you go up one and there is a nice shiny car half empty with electrical receptacles at each seat and they won't let you move?  So much for bringing my pda, cellphone and laptop ready for a day of work. I didn't even bother charging anything up before I left, thinking that all Amtraks let you plug in.  Relaxing?  Well, sort of. The seats are pretty comfortable, they recline, and there is a lot of legroom. I think it's pretty typical to get both seats to yourself.  The view is pretty interesting. You go through a lot of little towns that look identically mired in 1943 and through neighborhoods whose poor is uniformly relegated to the blocks bordering the train tracks.  Barred windows, postage stamp sized yards, garbage and the occasional aged above-ground pool tells you when you go through a community. Other than that, you see trees and slowly rolling landscape.  This was a little forced relaxation for me.  Read.  Look out the window. Sleep.  Eat junk food. (Repeat).There is a dining car that takes reservations for lunch and dinner.  There is also a lounge car where you can buy wine and beer and microwaveable snacks and sandwiches.  You should probably skip the dining car, unless you crave some company.You see humanity on a cross-country Amtrak.  There are 1000 stories in the heart of the Texas and you get to overhear more than a few.  Lots of talk about looking for work at the end of the line; the kind of work where people dig holes, move heavy things and operate machinery.  Not much carefree traveling on my train.  You could probably write a pretty good book from the stories heard on an Amtrak train.   It sure beat driving, too.

12/28/2006

Train travelers are a dying breed in America.  So go do it while you still can.  I mean, say you want to go see the Marfa lights in West Texas?  There is no airport within reasonable distance.  You could drive your own car out there, but think of the possibility of becoming catatonic behind the wheel, or getting stranded in the middle of nowhere with no cell service.  Take the Amtrak Texas Eagle to San Antonio (don't stay on it or you'll end up in Illinois), then the Sunset Limited westward to Alpine, from where you can take a special bus to several locations in West Texas.  About $60 each way, but if you can finagle it, name your price as low as you desire.  (Things don't seem very standardized with Amtrak.)  You can sleep, walk around, and even play your guitar while on the train.  You can't do that while driving. If you're the adventurous type, go Amtrak.p.s. The only pro to driving is that it's about twice as fast.  And don't go walking the neighborhood around the San Antonio train station - you will likely get mugged or beaten up.

12/28/2006

i took the Amtrak 2.5 days in a regular car to New York City. Yes, I did. Ask me anything you want to know. While I expected some random mid train lover boy or something exciting to happen, it was really an exercise in extreme patience. I read alot, ate alot of crappy food, watched a lot of windows. When I got off the train I felt like I was still moving for days. If you are good on long car trips and not a plane flyer like me-- I highly recommend Amtrak. One problem, delays will always get you. Some of the stations are nasty ( but some are lovely.) Layovers, layovers.Yes, I am the Amtrak expert, feel free to ask away...

6/18/2010

Austin's only Amtrak Station and it's nothing but cute and we mean nothing with lots of parking.

11/9/2009

I got on the Eagle in Little Rock, Arkansas, headed for Los Angeles. The train was about two hours late, meaning instead of arriving around 3:00 AM it came after 5:00. With bleary eyes I found my roomette and promptly bed down for a nap before breakfast. The region had seen recent heavy rain. By about 7:00 AM it was announced over the intercom that high water further south had triggered inspection orders for several rail bridges. We had to get off the train. It wasn't going anywhere.A moderately chaotic scene unfolded on the platform as we were assigned buses depending on our destinations. The bus I was assigned made about three stops in Texas. With no GPS aboard the driver relied on passengers to navigate over the rolling country roads to reach destinations away from the major highways, where the train stations were.It turned into a bright, sunny day as we finally, around 4:00 PM rolled into a sharp-looking Fort Worth passenger rail terminal. Lo and behold, a surrogate train (maybe the one we left? I do not know) gleamed in the light awaiting us. I got my old room back. The train was then about six hours off-schedule, leaving Fort Worth by 6:00 PM, after the final bus from Arkansas rolled in. I thought for sure the schedule was blown. My steak was undercooked at dinner. I sent it back. In reasonable time it returned in perfect  fettle. After three long distance rides on Amtrak I must point out that someone in the braintrust seems to know and care about wine. There were always small selections of sensibly priced half bottles, and a few by the glass. The producers may be bigger, corporate names, but the choices were all the same clever and interesting.All my food was included in my ticket since I had a sleeper. In each sleeper car there is a relatively modern miniature samovar the car attendant keeps topped with the best mainstream, corporate brand coffee I have ever tasted. It is a rich, dark roast with beautiful balance.Hard to overstate the value of tasty, fresh coffee a few feet down the hall 24/7.My bed was sufficiently comfortable (the wine must have helped) that I slept through the overnight shuffling of rail cars as the Eagle is hitched to the Sunset Limited, on its way west from New Orleans. I woke briefly at 5:40 AM as the train lurched forward-leaving San Antonio on-time. I drifted off in contentment.At about 7:50AM I awoke, drew some coffee and headed toward the rear of the train for breakfast. There had been a change. Instead of exiting my car at the rear I found the door locked, with the Texas countryside in a torrent of light and space under the morning sun outside the window.My sleeper car was now the caboose. That rear door window became my private observation deck. I visited often. At breakfast both mornings I ordered the same, hand-sold special item, known as the Broccoli Strada. It was a subtly cheesy, savory egg and broccoli bread pudding served with four slices of fresh tomato.Someone in the kitchen had skill, and freedom, within reason.I love deserts so the scenery suited me. Lunches had the mainstream menu with one special, a thai chicken curry over rice which I did not order. The lady next to me said hers was too spicy. I stuck to salads, but took her comment as a positive sign.The next night's dinner special was a meaty, completely boned  whole trout with a respectable butter sauce on the side. I had an off-dry American riesling, at $5 a glass. The plastic plates, and friendly but too informal and minimally trained waitstaff bring you back to earth.One of the guys at my table was fixated on having some woman in Arizona do reconstructive surgery on his moth-eaten shirts. He made gratuitous controversy over the tea selection. Trains attract all kinds.We arrived in Los Angeles 25 minutes early. On this trip I redeemed a refund voucher Amtrak gave me for a fiasco aboard an east coast train the foregoing winter. If I have the time, Amtrak is my favorite.

3/25/2007

I like this Amtrak station.  There's one station agent who is super nice.  The bathroom is clean.  There's a TV, which is a lifesaver because delays are not uncommon and this TV will be your last connection to the fast-paced 21st Century world until your train arrives at your destination.  Also, it's walking distance to Whole Foods, which means you can stock up on healthy food for the train ride.  Unless, that is, you're into the culinary sweatlodge experience of eating frozen pizza or cup o noodles from the snack car for two days because you're not spendy enough to eat a real meal on the dining car.  If you have your train ticket already, you can show that and an ID and they will hold your luggage in the office so you can poke around until just before the train's scheduled arrival time.If you're traveling on the Texas Eagle, beware that there is an all-night layover in San Antonio, two stops after (or before if traveling eastward) Austin.  If you don't want to sleep on a train that's just sitting around, then find another way to San Antonio and board the train in the morning.  These layovers are annoying, but they're supposed to absorb any delays so the train can start on time the next day.

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