Miami: Taking the Auto Train

So last week we went to Miami for SG Night to receive his Gold Gold for the Readers’ Favorite Award. For those of you that don’t know SG Night is my younger brother and he wrote a book called Attrition. If you haven’t checked the book out yet, you really should!

Originally we were going to drive down to Miami but at the lat minute we decided to take the train. I had a pretty good experience the last time I took the train, in my post The Midnight Train to Georgia, so I was pretty excited about taking the train overnight again.  This time we decided to take the auto train. The train didn’t leave until 4:30 pm but we had to be there before 2:30 pm to check the car onto the train. We arrived at 2, where they gave us a number for the car and we were able to board the train. We had booked 4 deluxe sleeper seats, which meant we all had beds. I was so excited we were going to be able to sleep in beds instead of in the car on the road.

We left the station at about 4:15, so we thought we would be able to get to Florida on time. The train soon started stopping. We were stopped for a least an hour. Then we got moving again but the train kept stopping!  It didn’t seem like there was anyway we would get there in time. We found out later that even though the auto train carries more passengers than a lot of other trains, it does not get priority on the train tracks. This continued throughout the evening and into the night. We were originally scheduled to eat during the 9 pm dinner (not something I was thrilled about), but we were able to squeeze into the 7 pm seating.

We were scheduled to arrive in Sanford, FL at 9:30 am. It was clear when we woke up and went to breakfast the next morning that we were not going to reach Sanford on time. For us, that was cutting into our time in Miami. We were going to have to drive 3 1/2 hours from Sanford to Miami and make it to a meet and greet by 5 pm.

We made it to Sanford at 11;30 am. Once we got off the train, we followed the rest of the people from the train to wait for our cars to be unloaded. We were told that it could take up to 90 minutes to unload the train. There is no system (that is made public) to how they unload the cars on the train. It has nothing to do with the number they give you when you check your car in. So we waited. Luckily for us, it only took one hour for our car to come off the train. So we grabbed our luggage, threw it in the car and got on the road to Miami.

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