Auto Train Schedule
Auto Train Schedule

Amtrak’s Auto Train: Lorton, VA, to Sanford, FL

Are you ready to embark on a journey where the convenience of road travel meets the comfort of train transportation? Look no further than the daily Amtrak Auto Train – your ticket to adventures along the Eastern Seaboard. In this blog post, we’ll explore the Amtrak Auto Train and its schedule, offering insights into this unique service.

This article provides a guide to traveling between Virginia and Florida by train with your car, covering accommodations, food, and the Auto train schedule/timetable.

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or embarking on your first Amtrak adventure, this blog post will serve as a guide to the Amtrak Auto Train schedule. Get ready to discover a new dimension of travel as we delve into the world of the Amtrak Auto Train.

Station Hours

The Auto Train has two stops; each station is open from 9:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. However, these hours may be subject to change in case of any delays.

The Amtrak Auto Train Stations address:

On-time performance to the Amtrak Auto Train

The Auto Train runs on CSX track but for the 16 miles owned by Florida East Coast Railway.

From June 2023 to 2024, the Auto Train’s passenger on-time performance averaged 60.7%, with an average passenger delay of 81 minutes. However, in June 2024, the average passenger on-time performance was 60.6%, with an average passenger delay of 70 minutes.

Major causes for delays:
CSX: Freight train interference and slow order delays.
FR: Slow order delays and commuter train interference.

Information from the official June 2024 Amtrak’s host railroad report.

Booking a trip on the Auto Train

If you’re planning a trip along the East Coast, consider taking Amtrak’s Auto Train to start or end your journey.

Booking the Auto Train is a breeze and can be done in three ways: visiting, stopping by either of the Auto Train Stations, or calling 1-877-SKIP-I-95, the dedicated phone number for the Auto Train.

Be sure to use this number instead of the regular Amtrak number.

Station and train schedules for the Amtrak Auto Train

This train has two schedules: one for checking in your car and the other for your time on the rails!

AutoTrain vehicle check-in times

Remember: You must get to the station early because there is a firm check-in cut-off!

Auto Train Station ScheduleTimes
Vehicle check-in start time.12:30p
Vehicle check-in closes with no exceptions.3:00p
Times are subject to change by Amtrak and CSX

Auto Train Schedule

If the Auto Train is ready early, CSX may allow the train to depart before the scheduled time.

Times are subject to change by Amtrak and CSX

The other Auto Train “stop.”

Amtrak's Auto train Auto Racks
Amtrak loads vehicles in these auto racks. These train cars are part of the Auto Train.

The Auto train makes a service stop in Florance, SC, where the locomotives get refueled, and the conductors and engineers change.

This stop is usually a chance for passengers to stretch their legs, but check with the conductors or attendants before leaving the train so you know how long you have.

If you decide to step off the train, stay nearby. The train will depart after the completion of refueling and crew change.

The engineer usually signals the departure with a horn toot, and the conductors give you the all-aboard before the train leaves. If you miss the departure, your car will travel without you, delaying your trip. You may even have to wait 24 hours for the next train and explain to Amtrak why you missed your ride. Your car could get lonely traveling without you.

Baggage on the Auto Train

The Auto Train does not offer checked bag service, as your vehicle serves as your baggage car.

Therefore, I suggest only bringing essential items on board, such as medications, a change of clothing, toiletries, chargers, an extension cord, and some snacks and beverages.

Additionally, I recommend bringing some extra cash to purchase refreshments from the cafe car and some entertainment to keep you occupied during the journey.

Coach Seating on the Amtrak Auto Train

Amtrak Superliner coach seats
Amtrak Superliner lower-level coach seating (Photo courtesy of

The coach class on the Auto Train offers a range of amenities to make your journey comfortable.

You’ll get assigned a reclining seat with ample legroom, a fold-down tray, and foot and legrests.

Additionally, there are individual reading lights, 120v grounded (three-prong) electric outlets in the seat back pockets, and luggage storage above your seat.

There are upper- and lower-level seating options. Overall, these amenities will make your journey pleasant and relaxing.

Coach passengers have access to a cafe car but not a dining car.

Amtrak Superliner Coach Car Diagram
Superliner coach car diagram: Some cars do not have lower seating but have a space for baggage.

Sleeper Car (Rooms) on the Auto Train

Amtrak’s sleeping accommodations offer more than just a place to sleep. They come with several amenities, including all meals on the train. 

NEW 2 people in a Amtrak Superliner roomette
Amtrak Superliner Roomette set up for the day (photo

Each room offers pillows, fresh linens, and towels.

When you enter your sleeping car, you meet your dedicated car attendant, who will assist you.

Each room has at least one outlet and a table between the seats. 

Most tables have a checkered board, so you can bring your chess and checkers pieces to play during the ride. 

You’ll also have access to showers, with bedrooms having them in the room. 

There are places to hang jackets and clothes, and Amtrak provides hangers for convenience.

Types of rooms offered on Amtrak’s Auto train

The following information provides details about the different types of rooms available for travelers:

Roomette: a room type that is great for solo travelers or a cozy fit for two people. It is available on both the upper and lower levels.

Bedroom: The bedroom is on the upper level and can accommodate up to two people. A suit is also available for use.

Family Bedroom: A room on the lower level can accommodate two adults and two children.

Accessible Room: A room for travelers with mobility issues and their companions. If you require an accessible room, please call to reserve it in advance.

The Auto Train is the only train that has regular and deluxe sleepers.

Amtrak Auto Train sleeper car layout

Superliner Sleeper
The layout of a Superliner Sleeper Car.

Delux sleeper on the Auto Train

Amtrak deluxe sleeper
Amtrak Deluxe Sleepers.

Accessibility on this train

If you have mobility issues, you have two options on this train.

You can do coach; there are lower-level seats, the same level as bathrooms. But if you need things from the cafe, you may need help.

Those who want a sleeper room have a few options depending on their needs. You could get a lower-level roomette or reserve the Aceesabele bedroom if you do not have a scooter. You will need to call Amtrak to reserve an accessible room, and they are limited.

When booking, make sure Amtrak knows you need assistance and make sure you review the Amtrak accessible service page.

Find out the location of your room or coach car on the Auto Train.

Couch passengers receive seat assignments on the day of travel, while those with sleeping accommodations receive their room and car number upon reservation completion.

Food on the Amtrak Auto Train

The food options available during your train journey will depend on your accommodation.

If you are a coach passenger, you can access a cafe car but not a dining car. However, you can access the cafe and dining car if you have sleeping accommodations.

Cafe Car

Food from an Amtrak Cafe Car

One of my favorite activities on a train journey is walking to the cafe car for a special treat, meal, or beverage. 

You can bring your food and drinks on board the train. However, Amtrak cannot store or heat the food your food, so please plan accordingly. 

Please note that you can only consume alcohol that you brought on board in your sleeping accommodation. If traveling in a coach, please leave the alcohol in your car.

The cafe car offers hot and cold meal options, snacks, and a variety of hot, cold, and adult beverages. Additionally, playing cards can be a fun way to pass the time on your journey.

Meals for Auto Train sleeper car passengers

Amtrak Signature Steak dinner served on the Silver Meteor

Passengers traveling in sleeping cars on Amtrak trains can enjoy traditional dining meals prepared by the chef. They can eat in the dining car or their rooms. 

The meals include non-alcoholic beverages and hot and cold breakfast options. The dinner menu comprises a main course, a roll, a salad, and a dessert. Additionally, the first adult beverage is on Amtrak.

#52 NorthboundSanford, FL – Lorton, VADinner & Breakfast
#53 SouthboundLorton, VA – Sanford, FLDinner & Breakfast

Vehicle requirements for Amtrak Auto Train

The family car will fit on the train if it is average-sized, but there are auto restrictions, and every vehicle needs a reservation.

Factory-model automobiles, vans, trucks, SUVs, and two-wheel motorcycles can ride on the Auto Train. Dual-wheel vehicles, gull wings, or scissor doors are prohibited. Unique cars are allowed with some limitations.

Special Vehicles

Each Auto Train allows for a limited number of specialized vehicles for a fee. Amtrak may accept small trailers, limousines, jet skis, trikes, and choppers.

Can-Am motorcycles, Rewaco trikes, and Polaris Slingshots are not permitted.

To book a trip with a unique vehicle, call 1-877-SKIP-I-95 (1-877-754-7495).

Does your vehicle include a rack on the roof or at the rear?

Roof-mounted racks are permitted if they are factory-installed and remain empty during the trip. Temporary luggage or bicycle racks attached to the roof are not allowed. Roof-mounted ones will count toward your vehicle’s maximum height requirements.

Bicycle racks must be attached to the back of the vehicle only. Bicycles are not allowed on board. Amtrak requires you to sign a loss or damage waiver for bicycles transported on the car’s rear. Bikes and racks count toward your vehicle’s maximum length and width requirements.

Luggage racks must be removed by you from the top of your vehicle and stored inside the car before check-in.

Tips from Amtrak For You And Your Car

Amtrak suggests a few things for you to make a better trip.

  • Give yourself enough time to arrive at the station, including traffic considerations surrounding D.C. and Orlando—there are no exceptions to the check-in times.
  • Pack a carry-on bag with your valuables, medication, and what you need for the night.
    • Leave your suitcase in the car, but bring a carry-on bag for your trip.
    • The Auto Train has no checked baggage service.
    • You will not have access to your car during the journey.
  • Deactivate the car alarm system before you drop off your car.
    • Failure to do so may result in a dead battery if your alarm goes off en route.
  • Consider Priority Offloading, ensuring your vehicle will be one of the first 30 off the train upon arrival.
    • Subject to availability,
    • Priority Offloading is available when you purchase your ticket or during check-in at the station.

Check the official Amtrak Auto Train page for the most up-to-date vehicle information.

First-time rider tips!

If this is your first time traveling on the Auto train, there are a few times to remember.

You must be early! There is a firm cut-off when loading cars on this train, and if you are not in line, you may get turned away. Also, check to make sure your vehicle meets the requirements.

Leave things in your truck.

Since this is a single-night train, you only need a small overnight bag with a change of clothing, toiletries, chargers, entertainment, and a great attitude.

Different accommodations provide different dining options. Passengers in sleeper accommodations can access traditional dining, while coach passengers must bring money for the cafe car. It’s okay for all passengers to get extra food or drinks, but only those in sleeper cars can consume alcoholic beverages in their rooms.

Auto Train quick FAQs

Why doesn’t the Auto Train have a baggage car? Passengers can keep their luggage in their vehicles, so checking bags is unnecessary.

What type of rail car does Amtrak use? Amtrak uses standard auto rack cars to transport vehicles. These cars are not climate-controlled but covered and have ventilation holes.

If you have questions about the Amtrak Auto Train

If you have questions about the schedule, I invite you to contact Amtrak’s Auto Train hotline: 1-877-SKIP-I-95 (1-877-754-7495).

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Kevin Monteith

Kev Monteith has been traveling on Amtrak since 2012. With over a decade of experience, he has been on over 800 trains, covering over 200k miles of rail. Kev enjoys helping others achieve their travel dreams by providing support and information. Outside of travel, Kev enjoys making music as an organist and outings with family.

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