Apr 232014
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I recently started to take the train to work instead of having to deal with a one hour commute in traffic. I have to say that I’ve put down my foot and decided that from now on I will only take a job that is a 15 minute walk or less from the train station.

I LOVE taking the train because I love to read. I am now reading 2-3 books a month and relaxing on the train ride while all those other people are stuck in traffic


That being said, I have some tips on things that I have learned since I became a trainy (not tranny – get your mind out of the gutter).

The first tip is that when you have to pay for parking, putting your dollar bills in the meter can be difficult.  At the commuter rail station, it costs $4 per day to park your car in the lot.  So if you fold your dollar bills 4 times and put them in your back pants pocket, they will get nice and flat on your drive to the station and will fit into the meter easily.

The second tip is to sit in the first car and more specifically, the third seat from the door. Why the third seat you ask?  Because if you are sitting in the two seats closest to the door, that is also the standing room where you might feel obligated to give your seat up to the elderly or a parent holding an infant (notice I did not say pregnant lady, but that is another blog post).  So if you seat at least 3 seats away you are far enough away to avoid the obligation to give your seat up.

The third tip is that once the train passes the second to last station before your stop, make your way to the door.  This will save you at least 12 minutes in waiting to get off the train – but make sure don’t go to early or to late because you could end up in line or standing for that extra time.

Now, on your return trip you have to make sure to watch the board at the station to see what track your train will be on. Some of the old timers go right to the track. I DON’T for two reasons.   First, if I got on the wrong train Masshole Mommy would be pissed.  Second, 31% of the time the track changes to the other side of the station.

But you have to be fast and ruthless on the train home because the seats fill up fast and I want a seat to read.   So you have to be ready to go once the track number flashes on the screen and you have to speed walk over to your train.  Like the train into  work in the morning, on the train home you want to be at the door at the stop before your stop, because once the train doors open it is an all out sprint to get to your car and get out of the parking lot.  If you make a mistake by staying in your seat to long or walking to your car you just added 15 minutes to your commute because you’ll be stuck in traffic to get out of the parking lot. Fortunately for me, my beautiful wife picks me up and parks in a strategic location where I can run off the train, jump in the car and we are off.  I am proud to say I am in the top 5 cars out of the parking lot every day and on a good day I am number 1.

About Christian Rue

Christian is married to Masshole Mommy. A Massachusetts native, he's happy to still be living here, but he also enjoyed living in several states & two other countries during his 20 years in the Air Force. These days, in addition to being a retired Air Force firefighter, he works for our fine government as an accountant. Chris loves movies, reading, comedy and spending time with his family.

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  99 Responses to “All Aboard – Tips on Taking the Train To and From Work”

  1. I used to go to school in NYC and take the train in daily for this for my graduate work. I always read on the train and agree about where to sit that you wouldn’t be bothered while reading.

  2. I think it’d be more relaxing to take the train than having to drive in and home everyday, especially if traffic is bad in your area. The perk of reading makes it even more appealing.

  3. so glad i don’t have to ride the train! it certainly sounds like a good option some days in atl trafiic though.

  4. How fun! We don’t have those around here.

  5. I have ridden the NY subways and those people can be really ruthless. I always try to give my seat to older women.

  6. I wish we had better public transportation here in the Cincinnati area. That would really save families some money and hassel.

  7. These are great tips! We live in between Baltimore and Philly. I know a lot of people around here take the train to either of those.

  8. When I worked in NYC it was crazy. You had to run to get in line as soon as the track was announced so that you could actually find a seat!

  9. I take the train all the time– love it instead of sitting in traffic!

  10. Oh, this is a good post. Now, my hubby is about 5 minutes from his office, and I’m about 20 minutes from mine, so we both drive. However, there’s been a proposal for a rail system from Tampa to Orlando here in Florida that we’re both very interested in! We would definitely use that, if it ever happens!

  11. They really are excellent tips. When I lived in San Francisco and New York, I actually loved my train time. I read so much back then. He’s right though about the subtle balance of when to stand and where to sit.

  12. I have never commuted on the train, but I have taken it in and out of the city for things like Red Sox games, etc. it’s easier than driving for sure.

  13. SOunds like Chris has got his commute nailed.

  14. Your a pro at taking the train. Cool tips. Especially about getting that seat! When I lived in CT I use to take the train into the city. It was hard at first but then I got use to having that 1 hour to myself to do anything I want. Mainly sleep : )

  15. Bwahaha! Love the trainy not tranny comment! We use to do the train from NJ to Philly when Donnie would have a doc appointment. I love train rides. It is definitely something I miss being back in Florida.

  16. You know what….I’ve never rode a train before. I actually want to someday but not for work though, more like when I go on vacation and not want to do a road trip. Thanks for the tips!

  17. I have never ridden on a train but these sound like awesome tips I need to hang on to!

  18. I am in the suburbs so we don’t have a train option. However, this sounds like a great way to save money and avoid the hassle of traffic in larger cities.

  19. I don’t have a train near me. However, love when hubby drives because I can get things done while we travel!

  20. Fantastic tips – I used to love getting the train across the country, though I had a habit of falling asleep on one lol x

  21. I remember this post from the first time – it was just as enjoyable reading the second time around 🙂 Sounds like some great tips for train commuters!

  22. Trains are very different here. Our parking has to paid with a credit card depending on where you park. 🙂

  23. I think it would be nice to take the train instead of driving!

  24. we don’t live in a big city, so we have never been able to take a train anywhere. But, I would LOVE to try one day! I think it would be so much fun for me and the kids!

  25. We live in the country. We have only ridden the MARTA when we visit Atlanta. Seems like a very economical way to travel. BTW, great tips, love the guest post.

  26. We took a train from the cruise ship to the airport in Florida last year. It was quite an experience!

  27. These Are All Great Tips When I Come To Boston I Will Keep In Mind!!

  28. Those are good tips. I love trains.

  29. I remember this post! I think it would be relaxing to take the train, however, I am always leery of taking our public bus system around my town. Too many weirdo hop on!

  30. We don’t have a good train system here, but I wish we did, because my hubby could take advantage of it. Now…I’m wondering about the pregnant lady comment….did he get in trouble thinking somebody was pregnant when they weren’t?

  31. Public transportation is the worst in NYC. I was blessed to not have to use it once I learned how to drive. I haven’t used public transportation in a very long time.

  32. Great tips. I used to take the train when I commuted to work and then switched to the Subway when I moved to Toronto and now I take the bus!

  33. I’m so glad you found the post! That must have been great to be able to put back in!

  34. I have been on a train ride a few times, what a nice time to sit back and enjoy the scenery!

  35. We don’t live in a big city so we don’t have a train transportation system. I’ve never really been on a real train ride. Unless you count meeting Thomas the Tank Engine. 🙂

  36. Sadly I live far away from a train but I used to train it into NYC sometimes and yes, I loved sitting on the train, There is something so soothing about the train!

  37. What an informative article! I have never been on a train (my city does not have one). We did ride the subway once while in Berlin on vacation, but that was it. I will pass this article on to my 21 yr old daughter who travels all over! Thanks 🙂

  38. There are no trains to commute on in my area, but when my daughter went to college in St. Louis she got used to riding the MetroLink light train to wherever she wanted to go.

  39. OH how I wish we had a train system! We used it all the time when we lived in Germany. Here in Idaho; we don’t even have crummy public bus system. 🙁
    But if we had a train; you can bet the husband would use it to get to and from work!
    Amber E.

  40. I wish we had a train. They don’t even have one in Kansas City. I miss it. When I lived in Atlanta, GA that’s what I took everywhere.

  41. I can’t believe how down to a science he has this. Love that third seat tip.

  42. Great tips! I love riding the train, too. That’s how I get from DC to NYC and Philly.

  43. Those are wonderful tips! I have never taken public transportation to work! In fact I have only been on a train twice – from London to Paris and back

  44. I spent a summer in NYC and loved taking the train to work. Extra time to read a few times a day? Yes, please!

  45. Great tips, I live about 40 min. out of Chicago but I’ve never taken the train. I’m sure it would be much more relaxing than driving.

  46. I am so glad Cris agreed to share this again! I would much rather take the train than drive. It’s a great chance to do some reading.

  47. Great tips! I wish we had a train more accessible here,

  48. My dad works in Boston too and has to take the T a lot to certain jobs. He mainly works in the Copley street area,

  49. I’ve only taken the train into the city. It sounds like he’s got that right down to a science!

  50. Ugh being stuck in traffic stinks! It’s great he can relax and read now!

  51. I used to take the city transit – we don’t have trains in the city I had to commute to – but it was about 40 minutes to an hour depending on traffic. I read soooo many books during that time. Like 2 a week sometimes. But it was awful when I was pregnant the two times because I would start to feel sick if I read while moving. bummer. An hour of staring into space.

  52. I love the train and wish I could take it more often. It’s so much more relaxing than flying, plus I can use wi-fi and get food. Win-win!

  53. I used to take a metro; kind of like a train when I was working with Ubisoft. It’s a fast and easy way to travel; I liked it a lot. Though it was super crowded.

  54. I try to take the express bus into the city and avoid the train, but if I can’t avoid the train, those are definitely good tips. But sadly I always end up giving up my seat. People do it for my mom so I always feel the need to pay it forward. 🙂

  55. I have never had to take a train to work. I have never had to commute. But I do have a great story that happened to my dad. Do you want to hear it? We’re from Denver. We were in NJ for my brother’s wedding. The father of the bride and his friends were talking about their commute into Manhattan to go to work. They were complaining about how long it takes (they used a train or a bus) to travel across the George Washington Bridge, and how much longer it takes if they miss one, or miss the station, or whatever. The average commute was 90 minutes. Finally one of the men asked my dad how long it takes him to get to work. Now, my dad has a great sense of humor. He had the undivided attention of these lawyers, jewelers, doctors, architects, engineers. He’s also a CPA. He raised his hands and counted on his fingers: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8…my office is 8 blocks from my home so I can walk it in about 5 minutes. SILENCE!! I’ll never forget the look on their faces!!

  56. I have only taken the train places a few times. But not to work. It was a much nicer way to travel though

  57. This brings me back to the days when I would commute to NYC on the train for work. It was nice to have that time to read or sleep but I hated it. I eventually moved to the city!

  58. I would love to have daily time dedicated to napping or reading! I am envious of you!

  59. Giggling about the third seat. Don’t want to be crowded with standers 🙂

  60. I have only been on a train once in my life and it was on a Girl Scout trip to Georgia. I remember the train actually crashing into a car that ran the red light at the stop and we were stuck for hours. I haven’t been on one since!

  61. These are great tips. We did several of these while traveling on trains through Europe. This is definitely applicable to traveling as well.

  62. I have never lived in an area where there were trains for transportation. We had buses back home and I worked with the drivers (worked for the county government), they all warned that you never ride the county buses, especially if you were female. I decided to listen to them and stick to the safety of my own car. I am glad you get to relax and read though instead of driving!

  63. I’ve always disliked taking the train but that may be because I had to travel over an hour coming and going on public transportation for years when I was in school.

  64. I used to dream of taking the train to my dream job in NYC. Instead I ended up at my dream job in Los Angeles and drive EVERY WHERE! LOL!

  65. Trains are so much fun! I have been on one a couple times and it’s always fun. Something about it just says awesome 🙂

  66. Brilliant! Ruthless is a perfect word for describing train commuting. Kind of makes me want to jump on tomorrow’s rush hour train for no reason 🙂

  67. Great tips! Nick wants to take the train into work so bad cause HE HATES the pike in the afternoons, but he has to be at work for PT at the butt crack of dawn before the trains are even running. super lame!

  68. My small town does not have any type of public transport, maybe taxis, but we are going NY next month so I’ll keep them in mind!

  69. There are no trains where we live (Indiana) for the public (EXCEPT during the state fair! Then you can ride one from the suburbs, where we live, downtown to the fair. Odd that they only do it once a year!). I’m sure if there were my son would be in heaven!

  70. I love your specific seat tip! I’ll have to pass that on to my husband.

  71. These are some great tips for taking a train to and from work. Unfortunately we do not have a train that would be able to do this for my husband – we do plan on taking a train ride from Cincinnati to Chicago and back for a day trip. I can’t wait!

  72. I live in Houston so we have buses, but downtown Houston has the metro lightrail its a train!

  73. I used to ride the train on the way to school every day. Way better than being stuck in traffic!

  74. These are great tips! It does seem like riding a train to and from work would be much better than sitting in traffic for hours. (And I love his “trainy”-“tranny” comment. Too funny!)

  75. These are all spot on tips that I learned while taking the train to and from work for a year 😉 I liked it because I got a lot of reading done in that downtime every day!

  76. I love taking trains. They’re so convenient. Even more so than the bus sometimes. Busses stop for food though. Greedy me!

  77. I take a train daily to and from work. It’s where I catch up on all of my reading and it’s also a time for me to either get into a work mindset or decompress after a long day!

  78. This type of transportation is not available in Michigan but I would love it. Not only is good for the planet, it’s the perfect preperation/decompression time between work and home.

  79. I can’t imagine commuting into Boston by train or car! YUCK. So glad my hubby doesn’t have to deal with it anymore! Great tips here though!

  80. Taking the train sounds like you are walking into battle. The only public transportation I’ve taken is the bus.

  81. How awesome that you get to ride the train to work! We have one train station and the only passenger train that comes through is an Amtrak at midnight haha

  82. If I lived in the suburbs of Boston, I too would totally take the train! We don’t have a very good mass transit system here in Florida, so I’m always envious of those cities that do!

  83. I actually went on a train for the first time last week and it was so cool!

  84. We don’t have the option to take the train where I live but if I did I would love it! Just think…more time to read or blog!

  85. I’m so far north that we don’t have trains for passengers. I have taken the subway in Boston a few times though!

  86. It’s been ages since I had to take the train. I miss having time to read on my way to a destination.

  87. It sounds like getting on the right train at the right time is a cut throat business!! I’ve never been on a train.. I don’t know if I could hash it!

  88. You know, I haven’t ridden many trains at all in my life. We don’t have many of them around here.

  89. I remember this post from last year. Riding the train and reading books is the perfect alternative to sitting in traffic. That’s awesome.

  90. Whenever I need to get to an event in NYC I take the train. It is much more enjoyable to just sit back on the train for an hour instead of trying to claw my eyes out to get into NYC… and than find parking.

    Love the tip about the money to make it flatter!

  91. Great tips! i used to take the train into Chicago for work and I loved it.

  92. The train is the best transportation next to a Segway.

  93. I love to read on the train too. Such great down time with no interruptions!

  94. I love the train but sadly there aren’t any near me 🙁 These are great tips though!

  95. I love the tips. I remember taking the train all the time growing up. It really is the little things that can make the trip easy.

  96. I wouldn’t mind taking the train sometime. Sounds so relaxing. 🙂