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Amtrak to Baltimore: A star spangled journey to the Charm City

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Traveling by train on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor is one of the most thrilling experiences. Many well-known cities are connected by this railroad line which serves as the umbilical of the northeastern seaboard. There's Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC. Of all of the great destinations on the Amtrak system, Baltimore is the jewel of them all. Baltimore and the Chesapeake Bay area is home to more than just the famous Blue Crabs. It's home to history, two professional teams, and home to endless family fun. How convenient is Amtrak when traveling to Baltimore? There are plenty of reasons. Here are five reasons why.

5. On board Service: Amtrak provides its passengers with remarkable passenger service. Visitors can travel to Baltimore on Amtrak's Northeast Regional and Acela Express. Amtrak's long distance trains including the Crescent, Silver Star, and Silver Meteor stop in Baltimore. The Northeast Regional trains consist of Business Class and Coach Class. Business Class cost approximately thirty dollars per passenger. Business Class passengers get a complimentary newspaper and one free non-alcoholic beverage from the cafe car. Passengers must present their Business Class ticket at the cafe car. Amtrak's Acela Express features Business Class and First Class. First Class passengers are treated to a menu with a variety of hot and cold entrees.

Aboard the Northeast Regional trains, Coach Class includes a quiet car. There is no additional charge for the quiet car. Passengers traveling in the quiet car must keep their voices down, their conversations to a minimum, and must set their cell phones to either silent or vibrate. Amtrak's newest ticket service is the E-ticket. Passengers can print out their tickets using their home computer. On the ticket is a QR code. Passenger must carry the E-ticket printout in both directions. While on board, a crew member scans the QR code on the printout. It is that simple.

4. A user-friendly train station: Baltimore's Penn Station is located on North Charles Street. While the train slips away for New Carollton and Washington, DC, passengers can head upstairs to the station concourse. Penn Station has plenty of little eateries and coffee shops for the weary traveler. Taxis are at their service outside, while light rail connections are just a quick walk downstairs. The MTA light rail train is also available at Mount Royal Station, three blocks away. In addition, the Charm City Circulator bus is at passengers' service. The Charm City Circulator is a free bus service. Various transfer points are located within the heart of the downtown area.

3. Light rail connections: The MTA light rail is located at both Baltimore Penn Station and at Mount Royal Station. The light rail train has trains arriving and departing Penn Station every twenty minutes. If a train isn't available, Mount Royal Station is three blocks away. Mount Royal Station is a former Baltimore & Ohio station. It no longer serves passenger trains, but the tracks are used by CSX. For avid rail fans' information, more than forty freight trains pass through Mount Royal station and the Howard Street Tunnel. Amongst the smorgasbord of freight traffic is the famous Tropicana "juice train". So, it's highly recommended that passengers keep their eyes "peeled".

2. Well-known attractions: As mentioned before, Baltimore is home to more than just delicious seafood. It's home to history, science, and filled with family fun. Baltimore's famous Inner Harbor is the center of it all. On Light Street, is the Maryland Science Center, including an IMAX Theater. There is never a day without an extraordinary exhibit for visitors to experience. On South Ann Street is the Ann Street pier, home to the sailing ship "Fearless". "Fearless" is home to the Urban Pirates Adventure...an experience for families and kids to enjoy together. Visitors can also take an elevator ride to the observation deck of Baltimore's World Trade Center. It's a tan color skyscraper nestled on harbor front. Truly, it's an experience that cannot be passed up. The view at the top is nowhere short of breathtaking.

For avid sports fans, the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Sports Legends Museum is a must-see attraction. It is located ten minutes from Penn Station on the MTA light rail system. It is located at Camden Yards, directly next door to Oriole Park. M & T Bank Stadium, home to the NFL's Baltimore Ravens, is a short walking distance away. Approximately six blocks from Oriole Park is the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum. It is a must-see for all avid railroad fans. The museum is home to historic locomotives, vintage rolling stock, and train rides for family enjoyment.

The Inner Harbor is home to the Harborplace. The Harborplace has some of the best known restaurants, including Bubba Gump, Johnny Rockets, UNO Chicago Grill, and Hooters. Aside from the chains, there are other popular local eateries mixed in with the wide array of stores, including an Irish pub, Tira Nog. After a hearty meal, visitors can take a Baltimore water taxi to Fort McHenry. Fort McHenry is the most historic location in the United States. In 1814, it was the place where the Star-Spangled Banner was first written. There, visitors are invited to a short film presentation about the history of the fort, and are invited to explore the grounds and barracks. Fort McHenry is also accessible via the Charm City Circulator.

1. Hotel accommodations: Serving millions of visitors, Baltimore offers a handful of hotel choices in the downtown area. Many of them are a short walking distance from the Inner Harbor. Also, they're in close proximity to MTA light rail and Charm City Circulator routes. Hotel choices include the Mount Vernon Hotel (West Franklin Street), the Hyatt Regency Baltimore (Inner Harbor), the Wyndam Baltimore Peabody Court (Cathedral Street), and the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel (East Pratt Street). The Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel is located directly across the street from the Harborplace Mall. Baltimore hotel choices can also be viewed on Amtrak.com, upon the completion of train reservations.

Of all of the cities to explore in the Northeastern United States, Baltimore is a destination not to be passed up. If traveling by train, Amtrak gets visitors there in style. From the train's arrival at Penn Station, to the light rail ride downtown, to experiencing the excitement at the Inner Harbor, and to feeling the patriotic pride at Fort McHenry, the fun is all within reach. If wishing to stay in town, hotel accommodations are conveniently located right in the heart of all the action. It is easy to discover how vibrant and exciting Baltimore can be when traveling on Amtrak. It's the land of the fun, and the home of the train.

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