Read Time 5 Minutes
There is something exciting about trains. The monotonous clickity clack. The alarmingly loud, yet inviting, bellow of the whistle. A conductor that hollers out, “All aboard the…” Wait. Birmingham has a passenger train? The answer to this question is yes, the Magic City does have a passenger train, and it’s called the Crescent.
Birmingham, a city once known for its large steel production, also had a large fleet of trains that crisscrossed the countryside, whistling their way to somewhere else. But today, that fleet has narrowed down to just one daily route that takes passengers southbound to New Orleans and northbound to Atlanta and New York City.
But for all you NOLA fans out there, here’s what you should know before hopping aboard the Crescent to the Big Easy!
What is it like?
If you’re expecting a lavish train station that resembles what you usually see in a movie, try not to get your hopes up quite so high. The truth is, Birmingham’s train station isn’t the most luxurious. But that’s okay because the whole point is to ride the train, right? The train is also pretty comfy with seats that are roomy for full-sized adults, plus plenty of legroom, which is a definite plus. We all know airplanes aren’t known for their abundant legroom. Also, since the train isn’t as popular as it once was, there’s a good chance the seat next to you will be vacant, and you know what that means – an extra seat to stretch out in!
What does it cost?
One of the top reasons to consider riding the rails is that it is relatively cheap. With a round-trip ticket typically costing under $100, this is much cheaper than taking a flight, and you won’t have to stand in long lines and endure that oh-so annoying shoe-removal and pat-down routine that is often required. It is also cheaper than catching a bus, which also takes much longer.
To ride the train from Birmingham to New Orleans, here’s a price breakdown:
- 1 Coach Seat with a Saver ticket – $38
- 1 Coach Seat with a Value ticket – $47
- 1 Coach Seat with a Flexible ticket – $91
- 1 Business Class Seat – $63
- 1 Viewliner Roomette ticket – $181
If you’re traveling with a child (age 2-12), tickets are half that of an adult. Children under 2 ride free. Click here for more info.
Seniors also get a discount of 15% off the lowest available rail fare.
Seeking a business class seat? Then be sure to book your ticket at least a month or more in advance because these seats tend to go quickly.
Tickets for a Viewliner Roomette go ever faster (there are only three available on the train!), so be sure to plan and book ahead to snatch these tickets before they’re gone.
If you ride the train frequently, you can also put any Amtrak points you have saved up toward a ticket. Here’s the point breakdown:
- 1 Reserved Coach seat – 1,622 points
- 1 Business Class seat – 2,174 points
- 1 Viewliner Roomette – 6,245 points
Check out more discounts.
How do I purchase ticket(s)?
Train tickets are purchased through the Amtrak website. There you will find a list of all of the train stations that Amtrak services across the country. Just use the drop-down menu and select Birmingham, Alabama, then venture to the next drop-down menu and pick your destination. Finally, choose your travel dates from the calendar available and click ‘submit’. You’ll be taken to a page with available tickets, and you can then follow the steps to purchase.
If you would rather speak to someone, you can also contact the train station to check ticket pricing, find out train times, purchase tickets and more. Just dial 800-872-7245.
How long is the ride from Birmingham to New Orleans?
So how long does it take to get from Birmingham to New Orleans via train? With no major delays or problems, you’re looking at 7 hours and 24 minutes.
Where is Birmingham Station located?
Birmingham Station is located at 1 19th Street North, Birmingham, AL 35203. This makes it adjacent to the popular Railroad Park, and also within close proximity to the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).
When it is open?
Birmingham Station has an easy schedule to remember. It’s open every day of the week from 9:00a.m. – 5:00p.m.
Can I park my car at the station?
Yes, there are spaces available for passengers who need to park overnight (long-term). Parking fees may apply.
What do I do with my bags?
Just like any other means of public transportation, Birmingham Station expects baggage and will handle it in a number of ways. All baggage will be checked and stored. There are also:
- Baggage carts available (with fee)
- Bag storage (with fee)
- Bike boxes for sale
- Shipping boxes for sale
Baggage assistance is also provided by station staff and train crew.
What type of accessibility is offered?
Birmingham Station provides an accessible waiting room for you to hang out in until your train is ready for boarding. It also features an accessible platform that is a barrier-free path from the drop-off area outside the station to the station platform. Wheelchairs are available if needed, as well as a wheelchair lift, which will help load passengers from low platforms onto trains that are not equipped with onboard ramps.
How far in advance should I arrive?
If checking baggage or if you will require assistance, it is suggest that you arrive 60 minutes prior to departure. No baggage or assistance – arrive 30 minutes before departure.
Is there food available?
Most long-distance trains include a full-service Dining Car. Here you’ll find hot meals prepared onboard by trained chefs for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Hours of operation for food service cars vary depending on train operation. Credits cards (MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Discover) are accepted for payment in Dining Cars.
Wondering what kind of food is available? Check out the menu.
Can I bring my pet?
Do you have a dog or a cat that you’d like to ride the rails with you? Then you may be in luck. For $25, dogs and cats up to 20 pounds are welcome on Amtrak trains for trips lasting up to seven hours. A reservation is required for your four-legged friend, so visit Amtrak.com, call 1-800-US-RAIL or visit or call Birmingham Station.
For everything you need to know about traveling via train with your pet, click here.
Have you been to Birmingham Station or traveled via Amtrak’s Crescent? What was your experience like?