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Your vacation one stop shop Why Big Apple?
Just look at any map showing the cities on the eastern side of the United States. New York City is extremely well placed for the discovery of many surrounding states and famous cities, such as Philadelphia, Newport (Rhode Island), Boston, Baltimore and Washington DC. And that's just on New York's doorstep. What about Florida, the Virginias and Maine? All of these and as many as you can think of are accesible by train, from New York. So, why not consider investigating the train systems as one of the best ways to get about? New York City is served by two main stations, both in Mid-town : Grand Central (on Park Avenue at 42nd Street) and Penn Station (which can be found easily from the junction of Seventh Avenue and 31st Street).

GRAND CENTRAL TERMINUS is one of the most famous and imposing in the world. The main concourse is magnificent, from the newly restored ceiling right down to the floor. For more about the station itself, see our GRAND CENTRAL page. The station's main role is to provide a link between Manhattan and adjoining Connecticut, as well as uptown areas of New York, by way of the Metro-North railroad. Timetable and route information can be found in the middle of the central concourse below the famous four-faced clock, from which you'll be able to see the enormous electronic display board. There are about one hundred platforms, or tracks, but far from being a complete maze, the station is very well laid out. It should be easy to find your train in good time.

PENN STATION does not have the magnificent architecture or sense of history that Grand Central does; it is purely functional. From here, you can get trains to nearby New Jersey, Long Island and destinations much, much further away! As if to make your travelling experience as simple as possible, the first two services are conveniently named: Long Island Railroad (LIRR) and New Jersey Transit.

If New York is the base from which you want to explore the rest of the US by train, then Penn Station is the place to start, for your connection to AMTRAK, the national and international rail service. AMTRAK connects with train routes in Canada and numerous local services across the country. ''New York to Toronto by train please?". "No problem at all, sir/madam, simply take the Maple Leaf service". It would be difficult to give you a comprehensive rundown of every service across the country, suffice to say that if you want to ''train it'' to Chicago, Charlottesville, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Miami, St Louis or wherever you can think of, Penn Station will be where you'll need to start from.

Aboard the long distance trains, you can exist comfortably for days and days. In fact, some of the facilities are luxurious and quite a novelty. Private rooms with sofas, armchairs, beds, private showers and private toilets are all available - at a price!

In the cheapest class, 'Coach', there are no beds, but the reclining seats are wide and comfortable. Whilst pillows are provided, you'll have to bring along your own blanket! Families and less-able bodied passngers are also well catered for aboard AMTRAK.

If you're taking AMTRAK into Canada or entering the country using any connecting service from the US, be prepared for a few delays while customs inspections are carried out. Be sure, above all, that you carry the correct documentation, such as your passport, and do check the requirements if you're unsure.

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