Train across USA?

Travel Forums North America Train across USA?

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1. Posted by saankiip (Budding Member 4 posts) 17y Star this if you like it!

I am travelling across the USA (from Seattle to NY) in October and was going to do it by train (Amtrak). Is this a good idea? Has anyone here done this before?

I will probably be stopping off every so often to have a look around, so it won't be one long continous trip (I have time). Amtrack runs along the very north of the USA. Is this a scenic route?

There is a map of the route here:

Click on the "View Route Map".

It runs through Montana, Nth Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio. Is this nice country? Is there Much to see? Or do?

Thanks for any help.


2. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 17y Star this if you like it!

Hey Saankiip!

I have not done that trip via Amtrak, but have done it all, and portions of it more than once, by car. I know from others who have done that train version of that trip that it is more scenic by train than by car - and by car was pretty awesome.

I have not checked your link yet (I will!!), but personally, I would jump at the chance to do that train trip. Montana is a wonder for it's "wide open spaces", North Dakota and Minnesota are very pretty (I grew up in Minnesota and my mother's family lives in N. Dakota), Wisconsin is also a treat, especially if the train comes through the northern portion and then cuts down around the lakes to Indiana. (We live in Illinois, just south of the Wisconsin border.) Indiana will be a short trip through and not that exciting, but Ohio and the Ohio Valley is suppose to be just sa scenic as Minnesota.

Again, I haven't checked the train map, and haven't done that train trip - but my experiences throughout the region - I say do it!!!

3. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 17y Star this if you like it!

I forgot to say - I will give you some ideas of things to see in the midwest. Yes, there is quite a bit - believe it or not!!!

4. Posted by ukmassage (Inactive 1052 posts) 17y Star this if you like it!

if you are after trains and would like to travel on budget this article can be for you

5. Posted by Boyd (Budding Member 2 posts) 17y Star this if you like it!

I did Denver to South Carolina once, and I have to say, I didn't love the train, but only because I didn't have a sleeper department so I had to sleep in my chair for three nights. I didn't sleep well at all on the train, and got into a kind of haze eventually where I wasn't enjoying myself all too well. I'm one of those people, I guess, who needs his sleep, tho - so you may be different.
Anyway, if you had a sleeper car it would be pretty cool, you get to know people on the train and get to see the country.

6. Posted by silvercann (Budding Member 38 posts) 17y Star this if you like it!

Amtrak across america is a fabulous trip! I had a job several years ago where it was my job to take people on vacation - one of the trips was an Amtrak trip like this. It was great. I've also done the trip by car. If you do it by car you always have to think about things like traffic, refueling, watching the road instead of the scenery, etc. and about half way across you are so tired of sitting in that one spot in the car that your single focus becomes getting to the end. Amtrak is much more beautiful, comfortable and relaxing.

7. Posted by vagabond (Full Member 104 posts) 17y Star this if you like it!

It will be great fun, trust me! I love trains. I did seattle to New York last year.. but by a different route. The one you say is definitely a great route that (from seattle to Chicago) and "California Zephyr" San Francisco to Chicago.. are supposed to be the most beautiful routes... and given that you are travelling in Fall, you may be able to catch some great fall colors!

Other options (probably longer) is what I did.. I was doing it in february so I chose the less cold route.. Seattle - LA(Coastal Starlight)- stopping at San Jose region, Monterey, LA. LA - Houston (Sunset Limited) - stopping at Tuscon and Houston. Houston to New Orleans (Sunset Limited) - stopping at New Orleans. New Orleans to New York(the crescent), stopping at DC, Baltimore..

But be prepared for these things..

- Looong rides (my longest was 52 hours)
- Major Delays . as against any other place I know, USA has the lowest priority for Amtrak trains, so you let freight train go ahead. My longest delay was 12 hours.
- All other issues with long train journeys. Long hours of sitting, same food over and over, not so clean rest room.

But I loved it and if I get a chance I'll do it again on the route you mentioned.