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travelling from Washington to Richmond - train or bus?

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Marbella, Spain
posts: 88
reviews: 17
travelling from Washington to Richmond - train or bus?

We are doing a house exchange in Williamsburg (from Spain) in May 2012 and have 4 or 5 days after arriving at Washington till we can take over the house. We don't want to stay in Washington and Richmond was mentioned. Can we get from Washington to Richmond, either by bus (coach) or train - rather than hire a car. Also how far is Richmond from Williamsburg?

Destination Expert
for Williamsburg
posts: 5,781
reviews: 41
1. Re: travelling from Washington to Richmond - train or bus?

Yes, you can take the train or the bus from DC to Richmond

Amtrak's website is www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer…

Greyhound's website is http://www.greyhound.com/

Will you be renting a car in Richmond? If not, there is also bus and train service from Richmond to Williamsburg. Richmond to Williamsburg is roughly 55 miles and takes about an hour by car.

Marbella, Spain
posts: 88
reviews: 17
2. Re: travelling from Washington to Richmond - train or bus?

oooh thanks Zoey1996 for your speedy reply - i've been reading some of your posts as they are very informative. We will have access to a car whilst in Williamsburg, but fancied trying another mode of transport.

posts: 1,205
reviews: 6
3. Re: travelling from Washington to Richmond - train or bus?

Greyhound has a bus station in downtown Washington with busses going to Richmond. Greyhound also has a bus station in Springfield (a suburb south of Washington) with busses going to Richmond. I don't know whether you plan to take a Taxi directly from Dulles or National Airports to a Greyhound bus, if you do, then the Springfield station might be equally or slightly more convenient from your airport, as the Washington station is. Just make sure that you have the exact directions to show your taxi driver, who will probably be unfamiliar with the small Springfield station.

Amtrak has two stations in Richmond. Most trains stop at the "Staples Mill Road" station in the northwest suburbs. A few trains, however, stop at the historic "Main Street" station downtown.

Edited: 12:34 pm, October 21, 2011
Salem, VA
posts: 303
reviews: 8
4. Re: travelling from Washington to Richmond - train or bus?

One of my former exchange students and her boyfriend visited me from Germany. Their flight arrived at Dulles on Sept. 23rd and they took a Greyhound bus to Roanoke. The bus was scheduled to arrive in Roanoke at 3:30 PM but they didn’t arrive until nearly 6 PM because the bus driver got lost twice along the way in Charlottesville and again in Lynchburg. By the time they made it to Roanoke, the bus driver was asking the passengers if they knew were the Roanoke bus station was located. I was appalled and embarrassed... Seriously, a bus with no GPS and no radio to ask for directions in today’s world? I can't say you'd have the same trouble but I wouldn't want to risk it if you have a tight schedule to keep.

On a more positive note, my friend and I went to Richmond to see a play last weekend. Her nephew, who attends a University in Fredericksburg, met us in Richmond. He took the Amtrak Northeast Regional from Fredericksburg to the Richmond Main Street station and back. No problems and no delays. This is the same train that goes from Washington, D.C. Union Station.

posts: 25
reviews: 17
5. Re: travelling from Washington to Richmond - train or bus?

Please note that public transportation in the US is nothing like you have in Europe. Washington DC does have a good "local" metro rail system. However, traveling from an airport like Dulles to RIchmond & then on to WIlliamsburg, can be quite a task. In my opinion, Amtrak is not cheap, can be unreliable at times & the stations out of the large cities are not tourist accommodating, as they are mostly used by commuters that drive to the local stations. Once you arrive at the RIchmond station, you will need transportation (taxi) to get you anywhere. By the time you spend money on the buses, train & taxi to get to Richmond you could have paid for a a few days of a car rental.

If I were you, I would look into renting a car from the airport. Car rentals in the US are fairly inexpensive & you would have it at your disposal. Remember to charge it to a credit card & don't buy the insurance. Check with your credit card company, as most include insurance from them if you use to card to book a car hire. Car rentals are always cheapest if you return the car to where you originally picked it up, so you might want to look at having it for your entire stay.

Richmond, Virginia
posts: 10
reviews: 9
6. Re: travelling from Washington to Richmond - train or bus?

I would definitely recommend taking the train from Washington D.C. to Richmond. I don't know the exact location of the Amtrak closest to the D.C. airport, but the ones in Richmond are Main Street station (heart of the city) and Staples Mill (outer edge of the city). I have taken the train many times from Richmond to Northern VA and it's safe, comfortable, and affordable. I think it is about $30/person one way (unless its a holiday). I haven't heard good things about the buses here.

Richmond is about 45 min-1 hour away from Williamsburg.

Are you planning to do a little bit of sightseeing while in Richmond? You should consider it, the city has much to offer culturally-speaking.

Marbella, Spain
posts: 88
reviews: 17
7. Re: travelling from Washington to Richmond - train or bus?

Thanks vacationistaR - we will definately consider the train - we are planning to stay 3 or 4 nights in Richmond so any thoughts on sights would be welcome!

Richmond, Virginia
posts: 10
reviews: 9
8. Re: travelling from Washington to Richmond - train or bus?

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is a must! It just underwent a huge renovation and is an absolutely beautiful museum with tons of great art. There are lots of other great museums in the area too. There are lots of spots along the James River to hang out, like Belle Isle and Brown's Island. Downtown Richmond has lots of local fine dining nestled in with historical buildings. Depending on your timing you can catch a Flying Squirrels baseball game for about $10. Check out http://www.visitrichmondva.com/ for more ideas that are suitable to your taste!

Also, if you need hotel accommodations I would suggest the Candlewood Suites Richmond South location. They are a great option with quick access to I-95 so that you can get anywhere you need (including WIlliamsburg) very quickly.

Marbella, Spain
posts: 88
reviews: 17
9. Re: travelling from Washington to Richmond - train or bus?

Thank you! All of this is going in the 'holiday' folder!

Richmond, Virginia
posts: 7
reviews: 11
10. Re: travelling from Washington to Richmond - train or bus?

Even though the bus is cheaper, there are delays on the highway due to rebuilding another lane on I95. This will be going on for a while. Amtrak is a better choice and more comfortable. Good luck to you. I transport clients to Williamsburg often from Richmond and it is about 40 to 50 minute ride on 64E.