As Americans we all know vacationing is in our blood, childhood memories of packing up the car and heading interstate or jumping on a jumbo jet across the nation to experience all this country has to offer. But an emerging trend is beginning to rise as more and more people are opting for the patient, yet spectacular views offered by America’s best train routes.
Not only does it allow full immersion into the nations changing landscapes but a very affordable and effective method, keeping us safe from vehicle accidents and far less stressful then airport queues and delays. No stopping for gas, no questioning the maps, no driver fatigue, less arguments – Sign me up!
So What Are Americas Best Train Routes?
1. The California Zephyr
The California Zephyr is a passenger train that operates between Chicago and the San Francisco Bay Area. It is Amtrak’s first long-haul route of this kind outside the Northeast, and its first routes to use Talgo equipment. Named for the zephyrs, or westward breezes, of California’s Great Plains and for the Gold Rush it connects in both directions with Chicago Union Station in downtown Chicago on Lake Michigan. It passes through the states of Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah and Nevada. The cost of train tickets vary depending on carriage upgrades or total trip length, but one way costs about $55 a person.
2. The Rocky Mountain Hiawatha
The Rocky Mountain Hiawatha is a passenger train that operates between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest. It is part of Amtrak’s “swoosh network”, an intercity passenger railway that connects with high-speed rail services operated by other railroads in the United States. It passes through the states of Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and Washington. The Rocky Mountain Hiawatha is known for its scenic views and include the historic Empire Builder route through Cheyenne, Billings and Spokane. It currently operates three premier trains: Empire Builder, Pacific Heritage and Rocky Mountain Chief. Each train has a maximum capacity of 400 passengers each.
3. The Empire Builder
The Empire Builder is an Amtrak passenger train named for North West Company fur trader and explorer Paul Kane’s 1847 trek exploring the Pacific Northwest region and establishing trade routes that opened up the area to British commerce. Its route was from Chicago to Seattle via Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Spokane. It was called the Empire Builder due to the potential of the North West’s economy after completion of the railroad. The Empire Builder was suspended in late 2005, and Amtrak re-routed remaining service via Milwaukee, St. Paul, Minnesota and Fargo, North Dakota, returning it to its original route. In late 2007 Amtrak restored service over a more southern alternate route; this was discontinued in 2011.
4. The Coast Starlight
The Coast Starlight is an Amtrak passenger train that travels from Los Angeles to San Francisco. This is the second busiest Amtrak route in the country. The Coast Starlight connects with San Francisco’s Caltrain at Emeryville and serves sixteen stations in California and Oregon, as well as stops in Nevada and Washington state. One-way tickets cost around $60 for adults, children under two ride free. It has spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, the Channel Islands and Cape Mendocino.
5. The Southwest Chief
The Southwest Chief is an Amtrak passenger train that travels from Chicago to Los Angeles. It’s part of the “swoosh” network, and it connects with Caltrain in Emeryville, California and operated by BNSF Railway (which owns tracks used by Amtrak). One way from Chicago to Los Angeles costs around $95 for adults; child fares are about half as much. It passes through scenery like the Rocky Mountains and great farmland. The Southwest Chief is also known for the Frontierland Station that was added to it in 1986.
6. The Capitol Limited
The Capitol Limited is an Amtrak intercity train that runs along the eastern seaboard of the United States, connecting New York City with Washington, D.C.. Unlike most long-distance trains, the Capitol Limited does not stop at every city. It serves only sixteen states and D.C. It offers a different experience for tourists than the Northeast Corridor. Passengers are able to experience Washington’s historic sights in between stops in Pittsburgh and Cleveland, and Baltimore.
7. The Texas Eagle
The Texas Eagle is a Kansas State-sponsored passenger train operated by Amtrak through the heart of the Texas Panhandle, a region with abundant but isolated communities. It connects San Antonio with Amarillo via Lubbock, Wichita Falls and Abilene. Its cars are named after U.S. governors, and are often used as state cars for visiting dignitaries in the Lone Star State. The Texas Eagle’s headliner is Lyndon B. Wichita Falls is its longest-serving permanent station, opened in 1982.
8. The Sunset Limited
The Sunset Limited is an Amtrak train that travels through the western United States from New Orleans to Los Angeles. It passes through West Texas, through New Mexico and Arizona, and on to California before reaching its destination. It offers two classes of seating: a standard three-coach train and a deluxe four-coach train, or “coupe. Its best known for the Sunset Dinner featuring a western-cuisine themed dinner served in the dining car, traditionally at sunset. The Sunset Limited has been featured in films such as “Pulp Fiction”, “The Last Samurai”, and other movies.
Find The Best Train Routes At Affordable Pricing
If you fancy a vacation of the different sort and want to begin planning a scenic tour of Americas landscapes via the train network an online search will be beneficial. Finding timetables, cross state tickets, luxury cabin discounts and hot offers for Summer then being your search here: