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I'll be in Boston with a vehicle, but want to visit New York City for a weekend. What are the pros and cons of driving from Boston to a NYC suburb (e.g. New Rochelle), parking at the commuter rail station, then taking the train to Manhattan? I would then avoid hunting for parking in NYC, while having a more flexible schedule compared to taking a plane, train, or bus.

If this makes sense, which commuter rail station would be best? Should I get close to NYC (e.g. New Rochelle) or just drive to somewhere in Connecticut (e.g. New Haven)?

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    Your plan seems excellent. A car is a liability in NYC. Jul 17, 2022 at 15:13
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    Probably depends on where in Boston you would depart from, but your plan doesn’t make sense to me. There are hourly departures from Penn Station to Boston, so you can just sit in a train and actually make use of the time rather than have to drive for hours.
    – jcaron
    Jul 17, 2022 at 15:19
  • @DJClayworth +1 for "A car is a liability in NYC." Jul 17, 2022 at 23:10

2 Answers 2

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Why drive at all? The Amtrak Northeast Regional will take you all the way from Boston South/Back Bay to New York Penn Station in about four and a half hours, not terribly different from the estimated driving time given to me by Google Maps. There are nine departures daily throughout the day, and coach class tickets are available from $31 if you book a couple months in advance.

If you want a faster train, the Amtrak Acela will also take you from Boston South/Back Bay to New York Penn in approximately three hours and forty-five minutes, with nine departures throughout the day on weekdays and three departures in the morning on weekends. However, the Acela does not have coach class; business class tickets start from $58.

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    If you will have a vehicle and want to drive to the train station, then depending where in the Boston area you are coming from, you could also consider the Route 128 station in Westwood. I believe all Northeast Regional trains stop there, and parking should be much easier and cheaper. Or park at some other suburban MTBA station and take a commuter train to South Station / Back Bay / Route 128 to catch your Amtrak train. Jul 27, 2022 at 18:32
  • @NateEldredge Amtrak also goes to Providence, so depending on where you are on the CR network, that could also be the best choice. But since OP said they were in Boston, I went with Back Bay and South Station as the most likely choices.
    – A. R.
    Jul 28, 2022 at 13:14
  • as a side note, there seem to be only about 350km between Boston and New York, which any reasonable train should be able to cover in less than 2 hours. 3h45 makes less than 100km/h! (less than 60mph!)
    – njzk2
    Oct 23 at 19:45
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    @njzk2 Certainly room for improvement. You will appreciate of course that straightening a century-old rail alignment along a densely populated coastline is not the easiest thing to do. And as I said, the drive is not any faster due to traffic.
    – A. R.
    Oct 24 at 17:29
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When taking the Metro-North Railroad, there are pros and cons to each of the New Haven Line stations. (Note that this answer is specifically for Metro-North; Amtrak Northeast Regional is a different situation.) According to the New Haven Line schedule, the station with the most frequent stops is Stamford, so if you cannot time your arrival exactly due to traffic, this is a good option. In particular, there are express (non-stop) trains that go from Stamford to Harlem & Grand Central that skip past stations like New Rochelle. And Stamford is the terminus for the local (frequent-stop) trains, which you would not have access to if you drove to (say) Bridgeport.

Finally, another thing to keep in mind is the parking situation. There are large parking lots at major stops like New Haven, Stamford, and New Rochelle, but the parking situation is tricky at Milford.

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