A few years ago I spoke at Columbia University in a lecture and spent a few days in New York. The university let me stay on campus in an apartment for a few days so I took the opportunity and visited a few of my favourite spots in New York. I also had a conference to attend in Washington, DC and decided to take the train.
The train left from Penn Station at 9.06 am. Surprisingly the train was clean with comfortable seats and space for my luggage. We travelled through a tunnel under the city and the first station we went through is Secaucus and then Harrison an industrial wasteland. Eventually we stop at Newark Penn Station. The scenery gets a little less industrial with more tree’s and a forest before we arrive at Trenton around 10 am. After we leave Trenton we pass through Bristol and through a graffiti corridor and a rundown suburb before arriving in Philadelphia with its imposing skyline of buildings around 10.25 am. So far I have counted 40 USA flags. My impression on the train was that Philadelphia was a rundown city although 10 minutes later on the train the environs improved. Then it was mile after mile of industry with refineries as we went through Delaware. The train then goes through forest with some lovely countryside. We arrive at Baltimore around 11.35 am and then we go through lots of forests before arriving at Union Station in Washington DC. We arrive on time at 12.20 pm after 3 hours and 15 minutes.
All in all if you have the time I would highly recommend the trip. The website below has information about costs and time of the train as well as all the stations the train stops. On the day it will cost a minimum of US$84 but if you book it early it can cost a lot less at $49. I took the fast train and there are slower ones.