hey all, im looking at making the trip over to America next august to travel for 2 months. i have been doing as much research about amtrak as i can, i keep hearing that its not very reliable and not great but i still think its the way to go for me. I dont think i could be stuck on a bus for to long. i want to start in LA and work clockwise around the country. So
what are peoples thoughts/opinions on amtrak?
has any traveled this year or recently on amtrak?
The problem is Amtrak has very little coverage in the W. USA. From LA, long distance takes you in 3 directions only: Seattle to the north, Chicago to the east, and New Orleans to the SE. You will go right past the best parts like Colorado, Yosemite National Park, etc. Amtrak is much better in the NE since it has more riders and better track. People in the USA drive or fly. Just speaking the truth here! The track eastbound takes you across desert mostly (all of Arizona and N. Mexico) and is quite uninteresting. The northbound route out of LA is a little more interesting as the track hugs the coastline between Santa Barbara and San Luis Obisbo and last time I rode it we had a great view of the nude beach. In Oregon the scenery is quite beautiful with rivers and in winter snow. The route eastbound from Seattle or Portland is one of the better routes as it takes you right through Glacier National Park and you can stop there too. That route, the Empire Builder, continues to Chicago as well. The trains in the west are late most of the time because these tracks are owned by the freight lines and Amtrak must wait for the others to pass. If you do go, it's a good time to go on a diet because the train food is expensive and of poor quality. Also suggest you bring a portable DVD player as the boredom is intense after so much waiting.
For Amtrak information, suggest you check out this discussion board of regular riders,
I've ridden the trains in the UK. They are nothing like the trains here. Public transportation in the States leaves alot to be desired. I would say that a bus ride may be a more cost and time effective mode of transportation. You can bus just about anywhere in the States.Try Greyhound bus line. You can check prices and times. I would check if an unlimited pass is available for the 2 months you will be here. You will be free to travel anywhere at your own pace. Try this link.
I've had one experience with Amtrak and it was great. Took it from NYC to SF. It was about four days and went via Chicago. The two things I liked most about it was that is often didn't follow a road and would go through some awesome mountain passes. The other thing that I really enjoyed was the observation car. With glass all around you could see more and really made me feel like I was part of the landscape. Just my 2 cents