From making its maiden voyage between Philadelphia and New York in 1971, Amtrak has grown hugely to the point where it now operates more than 300 trains daily across 21,000 miles of track. Providing a great way to traverse the USA, Amtrak connects 500 destinations in 46 of the 50 states.
Whether you are making a short intercity trip or a longer voyage crossing multiple states, Amtrak offers both comfort and convenience. There are many benefits to taking the train. Not only can you sit back and relax instead of concentrating on the road ahead, but it also allows you to enjoy the scenery as you travel. Many Amtrak routes access locations which can only be seen from the tracks, affording some of the best views in North America.
With an impressive fleet of modern trains, Amtrak are able to reach speeds of up to 150mph, making them a time-efficient addition to any itinerary. Most trains offer three choices of seating; Coach Class, Business Class and First Class in addition to sleeping accommodation options on many long-distance routes. Accommodations vary from single berths to bedrooms which sleep up to four adults and boast a private bathroom and shower.
It is impossible to detail every route available so we have selected some of our favourite longer journeys to whet your appetite.
Acela Express – Boston to Washington, DC
Travelling in supreme comfort, this route visits some of the biggest and most exciting cities in the USA including New York, Baltimore and Philadelphia.
7 hour journey.
California Zephyr – Chicago to San Francisco
One of the most beautiful train journeys in North America; travelling between Illinois and California, it climbs through the heart of the Rockies and the snow-capped Sierra Nevada Mountains.
52 hour journey.
Capitol Limited – Washington, DC to Chicago
On this historic line between Washington, DC and Chicago, you’ll journey through the Potomac Valley, alongside the Allegheny Mountains and across the states of Ohio and Indiana.
18 hour journey.
Carolinian – New York to Charlotte
Departing from New York, this route explores wonders of North Carolina, travelling through vibrant Charlotte and the state capital of Raleigh.
14 hour journey.
Coast Starlight – Seattle to Los Angeles
This spectacular route traverses the west coast, accompanied by lush forests, the dramatic snow-covered peaks of the Cascade Range and long stretches of Pacific Ocean shoreline.
35 hour journey.
Empire Builder – Chicago to Portland/Seattle
Experience the rugged splendour of the American West. From Chicago, cross the North Dakota plains into Montana's Big Sky country, then continue to either Portland or Seattle.
46 hour journey.
Empire Service – New York to Buffalo/Niagara Falls
From the bright lights of New York to the thunderous falls of Niagara, journeying through New York state, this route hugs the Finger Lakes region as well as the Hudson River Valley.
8 hour journey.
Pacific Surfliner – San Luis Obispo to San Diego
Traversing Southern California, this journey enjoys unique views of the ocean as it curls along the coastline, stopping at Santa Barbara and Los Angeles.
6 hour journey.
Pennsylvanian – New York to Pittsburgh
This journey takes you through Pennsylvania with scenic highlights including the Allegheny Mountains, Pennsylvania Dutch Country and Pittsburgh's Golden Triangle.
10 hour journey.
Sunset Limited – New Orleans to Los Angeles
Travelling along Amtrak’s southern-most route, views include Bayou Country, the southwestern deserts and California’s mountains.
48 hour journey.
San Joaquin – San Francisco to Bakersfield
A great way to travel through California’s Central Valley, home to Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Sequoia and Death Valley National Parks.
7 hour journey.
Texas Eagle – Chicago to San Antonio
This rail adventure takes you through the Land of Lincoln, across the Mississippi River and into the heart of Texas.
33 hour journey.
Texas Eagle also continues on to Los Angeles, taking a further 33 hours.