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1. Posted by Buffalo (Full Member 120 posts) 8y

Has anyone used the Amtrak service to travel across America...if so, is it a good way to travel America? I'd have about 6weeks and wud try to travel as much as possible but wud like to spend the majority of that time seeing the west coast. Any info. wud help, thanx

2. Posted by Wonkerer (Respected Member 592 posts) 8y

Haven't done it myself, but from everything I've heard this is what I think. Don't take it between the East Coast and Chicago, but do take it between Chicago and the West Coast. That trip I've heard, and would imagine anyway, is pretty great as far as the views. You could also use Amtrak to work your way down the West Coast and this would be nice scenery as well. (On the other hand it might be easier/cheaper if you're going to do the second half of the trip, to just do the whole thing - in that case I just wouldn't expect a whole lot out of the first half.) Hope that's helpful.
-K

3. Posted by hey_monkee (Respected Member 430 posts) 8y

I used Amtrak from Albequrque NM, to Seattle WA - basically a full 2 day/1 night trip. Maybe it was just this area, but the scenery was pretty unimpressive most of the way, when I'd heard train travel was a great way to see the States. Also when I travelled, a tunnel had been burnt through in Oregon which meant we had to hop onto a bus for part of the trip, then back onto a train.......and we also arrived in LA 40mins late, missing our connecting train, and had to wait around for a bus to take us 2hrs to a train. It was a bit of a messy trip all in all, but I'm sure this isn't the norm. And having said that, I would consider travelling with them again, just in a different part of the States!!

4. Posted by Cool Paul (Travel Guru 611 posts) 8y

not too familiar with amtrak going across country. but I do know this...their pricing between cities on the east coast is astronomically high. it's really crazy. it's more for business people in hurry. you can take greyhound busses for like a quarter of the price. I was stuck in new york before looking for a train back home to philly they wanted like $66...it's only an hour and a half car ride away! no way was I paying $66. I took grey hound it ended up being $21 after tax.

It might be different between cities in the midwest though

5. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1989 posts) 8y

Also, consider taking the train across Canada and in particular, the Canadian Rockies.

I don't know if this train still runs--but if it does it, it is spectacular. ]

My father rode hundreds of trains all around the world--and in his opinion, this was the single best train journey he ever took.

6. Posted by Buffalo (Full Member 120 posts) 8y

Thanks a million for the replies, will continue to research...it's a tough life being a teacher - can never decide what to do every summer!!!

7. Posted by Ham Radio (Respected Member 284 posts) 8y

Quoting Buffalo

Has anyone used the Amtrak service to travel across America...if so, is it a good way to travel America? I'd have about 6weeks and wud try to travel as much as possible but wud like to spend the majority of that time seeing the west coast. Any info. wud help, thanx

As a visitor from Ireland, note that Amtrak will sell you a 15 or 30 day USA Rail Pass that USA and Canadian residents cannot purchase.

Options are regional, such as West (cheaper) or National, covering all routes.

Since you are spending the majority of your time on the West Coast, the West option may be all you need. Its pass boundaries run from San Diego, north to Seattle, East to Chicago, south to New Orleans then back to the West Coast. It includes all overland routes between those points. It is a very large regional pass area.

For more detailed information and pricing, visit
http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=Amtrak/am2Copy/Simple_Copy_Page&c=am2Copy&cid=1081442673945&ssid=296

We ride Amtrak extensively, send a private message if you have questions or require aditional information resources.

8. Posted by Traingirl2 (First Time Poster 1 posts) 8y

Hi,

Amtrak is a great way to see the country as trains often go through scenic places that are difficult to see any other way. Some of the best trains to travel are the Coast Starlight between Seattle and Los Angeles, the California Zephyr between Chicago and San Francisco, and the Crescent between New York and New Orleans. Trains are much more comfortable than the bus, especially over long distances, and not expensive when you factor in the overnight sleep that saves you paying for hotel accommodation.

The Bradt book, USA by Rail, is a very useful guide and more information can be found on the website at http://www.usa-by-rail.com

Happy travelling.

9. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 1993 posts) 8y

I live within shouting distance of the train station here in Portland, Oregon. Train travel in the USA is nothing what you're used to in Europe. The equipment is old and in mediocre condition - in other words, it's second class all the way! It is possible to see this country by train, and I understand Amtrak has passes available to foreigners that are a pretty good deal. The system on the W. Coast is rather limited - you should study their map. Yes, you can get from Chicago to LA by train, but then it would put you in downtown LA (a place you would not wish on your worst enemy!) Major problem with Amtrak is the schedules - they are simply not kept. I went from Oregon to S. California last year and my train was 11 hours late in arriving.

In certain regions train service is actually pretty good (Boston-Washington, New York-Chicago, and Portland-Seattle-Vancouver, BC).

If you do go by train, I advise everyone to bring a cooler with their own food - the stuff on the train is way overpriced, sells out quickly, and in general you can eat much better on your own. If you have a portable DVD, bring it as you will need something to fill up the empty hours waiting, and waiting, and waiting yet again!

10. Posted by rob_harvs (Budding Member 20 posts) 8y

if you haven't already check out seat61.com its got just about everything you need to know about trains all over the world. big section on USA and Canada!