"Neither of us likes driving anymore, and both of us are tired of flying," I said. "Why not make traveling an adventure, like it used to be?"
"Why not see something besides clouds out the window?" Mom replied. "OK. Let's do it!"
I called Amtrak reservations as soon as we got to the hotel. I explained my concern about Mom's safety getting around on a moving train, especially to and from the restrooms and Dining car. The agent told me about Amtrak's extensive services for people with disabilities.
In coach class, there is reserved space for passengers traveling in their own wheelchairs, as well as reserved seating and storage for passengers with folding wheelchairs. For passengers who need wheelchair service from station to train, Amtrak provides both equipment and assistance to those traveling with or without companions. In addition, Red Caps are available to handle baggage.
Reserved coach seating for passengers with disabilities and their companions is near restrooms, and meals can be ordered from a trainman and delivered to the passengers' seats as a courtesy.
For passengers traveling with equipment other than wheelchairs, and for those with special needs, Amtrak can help. The service menu for passengers with disabilities is impressive.
Since the trip from Boston to Atlanta includes an 18-hour leg on the Crescent (formerly the Southern Crescent), I asked about sleeping accommodations. Amtrak has a limited number of bedrooms designed especially for passengers who are mobility impaired, but not on all trains. I booked first leg of our trip, on the Northeast Regional, in Reserved Coach class; and the second leg, on the Crescent, in a Viewliner Accessible Bedroom. The price of this upgraded accommodation includes the cost of meals as well as meal delivery to the bedroom.
Amtrak offers a 15% discount on the rail portion of the fare for the passenger with a disability and one companion, and a 15% discount on the upgrade to a Viewliner Accessible Bedroom. The cost of traveling by rail from Boston to Atlanta, as described here, is comparable to airfare plus a one-night stay in a hotel with meals. But, it promises so much more fun.