I decided not to drive from New York to Baltimore, but to rely on the convenience of Amtrak. I booked a round-trip ticket with a discount code found online and saved 25% of the full fare. The train trip south was incredibly enjoyable. The train was not overly crowded and the conductor was very helpful. I was clearly looking for a seat where I wouldn’t have to disturb someone in order to sit next to them. He informed me that there were seats up farther in the food car. I ventured ahead to the car he indicated to find large pleather seats with an enormous amount of legroom. These were unlike any Amtrak train I had been on before. I chose a seat along the wall that had single seats rather than the usual double seats. Plugged in (my laptop with a movie), I was all set to go. When I got off the train, I felt relaxed and rested, unlike after most travel on public transportation.
I was all prepared for another pleasant trip back north. I arrived at the train station in Baltimore to find out that someone had been hit on the tracks, causing major delays of all the scheduled trains. In order to alleviate some of the scheduling delays, Amtrak decided to combine the passengers from two trains into my scheduled train. The result of this was that the only remaining seats on the train were in the quiet car. For those of you who, like me, were unaware that Amtrak offers quiet cars, this basically means the car is darker than most and that you are not allowed to use your cell phones (impairing one’s ability to let others know that the train’s arrival will be delayed). However, they do allow loud talking among passengers. They also allow passengers to bring smelly food into the car and eat it noisily. This seems like a bit of a contradiction to me, but I will move on.
The seats on this train were much more cramped and the power outlets did not work, at least on my car. The conductors were cranky and unhelpful, unlike on my trip down.
Overall, based on my experience, I think this is usually a reliable method of transportation. I hope that a person being hit on the tracks is a highly unusual occurrence. I would recommend traveling on the Amtrak Metroliner based on my trip to Baltimore, and chock the trip back up as not indicative of their regular service.