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USA by Rail

Amtrak train travel in the USA

Amtrak trainAmtrak trains will take you to most big cities in the United States as well as to Disney World, Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon. American trains have always had a strong hold on the popular imagination, inspiring countless railroad stories, songs, films and legends. A rugged charm sets a train apart from more mundane means of transport and ecological soundness means that USA train travel is again in vogue. Amtrak trains pollute less, rarely suffer from weather delays and won’t give you jet lag. On a rail holiday you can choose your companions, read a book, snooze and sleep horizontally, enjoying the comforts of home while on vacation. One reason for travelling the USA by rail is especially compelling - it’s much more fun.

Amtrak coaches have generous reclining seats, observation domes, air-conditioning and snug bunks. A train may not be the fastest way to travel but the pace is perfect for sightseeing. If the scenery palls you can go for a stroll, enjoy a meal in the dining car, make Amtrak trainsfriends in the bar or watch a movie. At night, a gentle rocking and the steady rhythm of the wheels are sure to lull you to sleep. Not many people would mourn buses if they became obsolete, and fewer entertain fond thoughts about airports, but children still count freight cars and wave when a train goes by. Instead of leaving you exhausted and surly, trains create a sense of adventure and romance. No wonder people still find the plaintive sound of a locomotive horn at midnight a sure sign that it’s time to move on. As the bell clangs and the conductor calls out ‘All aboard!’ you soon discover why Amtrak train travel remains so beguiling. Pampered by helpful attendants, you can travel by rail from coast to coast, explore the Rocky Mountains and ride directly alongside two oceans. You cross rivers, lakes and deserts and see places that can only be visited by train. Less expensive than flying, more comfortable than the bus, rail travel keeps you relaxed and in touch with an ever-changing landscape. See some of Amtrak’s best routes.

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USA by RailThe USA by Rail guide book has all you need for train travel with Amtrak, VIA Rail and tourist railroads in North America. This definitive rail touring guide includes details of all Amtrak train routes in the US and VIA trains in Canada, as well as steam railroads, railway museums and links to train travel websites in the United States, Canada and around the world. The latest Eighth Edition of USA by Rail also has information about rail passes and cities and attractions across the US and Canada, plus advice for visitors from overseas, so whether you are planning a holiday vacation or a round the world trip, this is the complete guidebook for seeing North America by train. find out more

‘I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.’ - Oscar Wilde.

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Best Amtrak trains in the USA

Many great long-distance trains operate in the United States, often travelling through wild, spectacular scenery not easily accessible any other way. Ideal for a holiday or as part of your round the world journey. Maps and complete guides on how to travel by train can be found in USA by Rail where the following are among the most highly recommended routes.

The Coast Starlight

This is one of Amtrak’s most scenic trips for travel by train and a particular favourite with young people. A party atmosphere frequently develops, starting in the lounge car and spreading throughout the train as it journeys between Seattle and Los Angeles. You see snow-covered mountains, forest valleys and long stretches of the Pacific shoreline.

The California Zephyr

One of the world’s great journeys, taking two days and nights to travel by train between Chicago and San Francisco, crossing farmland, prairie, deserts, rivers and the Rocky Mountains. Western pioneers came this way, as did gold prospectors, the Pony Express and the first telegraph line. The Zephyr follows America's earliest transcontinental rail route for much of its 2,420-mile journey.

The Texas Eagle

From Lake Michigan to the Alamo, the Texas Eagle makes a journey of more than a thousand miles down the centre of America, travelling from Chicago through Lincoln land then crossing the Mississippi before continuing through the Ozarks to Arkansas and Texas. Pine forest and lakes north of Dallas give way to cattle country as you approach San Antonio, where through coaches to Los Angeles join the Sunset Limited.

The Empire Builder

America’s northern plains were mostly wilderness until the freewheeling tycoon James J Hill built his Great Northern Railway between St Paul, Minnesota, and Seattle. Amtrak’s Empire Builder takes its name from the train called after him, which ran on this route during the heyday of rail travel, and it crosses the Mississippi River then travels more than 2,200 miles past wheat fields, cattle ranges, forests, mountains and spectacular glacial lakes.

The Southwest Chief

Amtrak’s fastest rail journey from Chicago to the Pacific is along part of the Santa Fe Trail first used by Native Americans then by Spanish conquistadors, mule caravans, wagon trains and stage-coaches. You travel 2,230 miles through eight states, passing wheat fields, ranches, missions, pueblos, mountains and deserts. Sometimes the canyons you go through are only a few feet wider than the train.

The Sunset Limited

The only way to travel from coast to coast on a single train. After going north from Orlando to Jacksonville in Florida the train heads west into two sunsets. You see the swamps of bayou country and flirt with the Mexican border before crossing Texas ranges to the mountains, deserts and orange groves of California.


Contact: information @ usa-by-rail.com

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Amtrak News

Dome car returns to the Adirondack

Amtrak’s ‘Great Dome’ car is a two-level passenger car with a bubble-like glass covering on the upper level that provides expanded views of the surrounding scenery. It will return to the Adirondack service between the Capital Region and Montreal on 25 September for a six-week run through to 4 November, operating northbound on Thursdays, Saturdays and Mondays, and southbound on Fridays, Sundays and Tuesdays.

Amtrak’s dome car was built in 1955 by the Budd Company and operated on the Empire Builder between Chicago and Seattle. It saw service on the Amtrak Auto Train through 1994, and since a refurbishment in 1999 has operated on various Amtrak services and other charters and excursions.

The Adirondack travels along the west shore of Lake Champlain on its way to and from Montreal.

 

 

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