Travelers take the train to avoid Thanksgiving traffic

Posted at 6:21 PM, Nov 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-21 21:21:00-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV)-- Today is the peak travel day for the Thanksgiving holiday. AAA expects more than 54 million Americans to travel more than 50 miles from home this season. While many are dreading the drive, others have chosen to take the rails.

Gary Green was visiting his friend in San Diego for the last few days. But he is making the trip back to Los Angeles on the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner. 

"The car is a painful experience. The 405 is obnoxious. The 101 is obnoxious. People are miserable, and it's the wrong time of year for that," Green said. 

While motorists are thankful that gas is about $0.25 / gallon cheaper than a month ago, lower gas prices, mean more drivers are on the roads. Jessica Windell said she is not taking any chances on missing family time. 

"Especially with all the crazy fires going on lately, there are a lot of closures. So I think the train is just kind of a straight shot," Windell said. She lives walking distance from San Diego's Santa Fe station, and the train will take her into Burbank.

According to Amtrak, last year,  Santa Fe Station saw a 57% increase in riders the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and a 55% increase the Sunday following the holiday. 

"We're actually using every available fleet possible to accommodate all of our extra passengers," Amtrak spokesperson, Olivia Irvin said. 

That means every seat, including coach class requires a reservation. Even with a strict timetable, Amtrak admits, they are not perfect. If they experience delays, the company notifies passengers on Twitter. Earlier we saw announcements ranging from 20 to 48 minutes delay. Anything more than that, they say they have a Plan B.

"We often give passengers food packs and water," Irvin said. "If it's necessary, we'll bring in bus services to accommodate passengers."

The hope is it never gets to that point. Instead, riders can sit back, relax, and begin their Thanksgiving break, feasting on the beautiful scenery.

To book your holiday travel ticket, click HERE.