train journey across america or fly?

Travel Forums North America train journey across america or fly?

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1. Posted by thisguy (First Time Poster 1 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

im thinking of travelling across the us by amtrak train first by this route from washingotn to chicago...

then from chicago to los angeles by this route....

is this gonig to be a great picturesque trip? or would i be better just flying from washington to las vegas for a couple of days in the grand canyon (and the slots) then flying to los angeles?

i really want to "travel" and i feel by flying im going to miss out on a lot, but at the same time if the train journeys not worth it i wouldnt want to give up the opportunity to visit las vegas and do the canyon

Does anyone know of any other train journeys out there i could do to give me a taste of north america?

what do you gusy think? many thanks if you can help, its much appreciated

2. Posted by Calcruzer (Travel Guru 2004 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

The train route from Washington to Chicago cuts south down to Charlottesville, VA then west to Cincinnati, then north through Indianapolis to Chicago. Nice trip, but generally not too scenic except for the first two hours and, unfortunately, about half the trip will be at night when you won't see anything anyway. I'd suggest the plane for this reason.

The train trip from Chicago to LA is another story. This route goes through constantly changing landscapes--midwestern prairies followed by rugged mountains, followed by a Great Basin of half mountains-half valleys, then a giant desert and then the pacific coast. I'd say definitely take the train for this route.


3. Posted by Calcruzer (Travel Guru 2004 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

P.S. The Chicago to LA train route I believe still goes through Las Vegas--so you could probably get a stop off as part of your ticket. If not, they still run cheap airfare from LA to Las Vegas on Southwest if you can book early and don't care about which days you go. I'm guessing a RT ticket from LA to Las Vegas would cost no more than $130 or so if you booked at least 21 days in advance and didn't go on a weekend.

4. Posted by hey_monkee (Respected Member 430 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

I travelled on amtrak for a journey from Alberquerque, NM to Seattle, WA, so not the routes your looking at, but thought I'd let you know my experience anyway. There were several long delays, one resulting in a missed connection in LA, then we had to take part of the trip by bus due to difficulties on the track up ahead. I'm not sure whether these inconveniences are indicative of amtrak serives in general, but something you might like to consider anyway!!

5. Posted by walkitwils (Budding Member 52 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!


I agree with 'Calcruzer'. I travelled san francisco to washington and the chicago to washington leg was interesting enough but not like the san francisco to washington. San francisco to denver is stunning, desert, cliffs, blue lakes, winding cliff tracks, awww man it was the just stunning. I would fly to to Chicago then take the amtrak from there or even fly to denver and amtrak from there. Please dont miss the west rail line, you will kick yourself!

6. Posted by kezin (Budding Member 107 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

- ditto to posts 2 thru 5. Hope you have a great trip by rail ! :)