The Amtrak network is vast, covering over 20,000 miles of rail track in the United States; connecting many major cities and sweeping across the continent under wide open skies and through ever-changing terrain.
It is possible to traverse the entire USA with just one change of train, or explore intermittently as you go – with over 300 trains running every day, the opportunities are countless!
Here are a few highlights – all routes are available in reverse, and there are many other routes, so please give me a call and we can talk you through how to get the best from your USA rail odyssey.
Coast Starlight: Seattle to San Francisco
Winding your way down the West Coast as the train hugs the Californian coastline for miles, affording some fantastic views right out to sea, and the rugged beaches that dot the shoreline. Stop offs on this route include Portland (OR), San Francisco and connecting services to Santa Cruz and Los Angeles.
California Zephyr: San Francisco to Chicago
Head cross-country and towards Chicago, the main hub of rail travel in the USA, with most non-coastal services feeding into the windy city, Chicago. Travelling via Reno, Salt Lake City, Grand Junction and Denver, with views of Lake Tahoe, Great Salt Lake, Sacramento and offers up some incredible views as you snake through the mountains of Colorado and the Sierra Nevada, as well as the ruby vistas of Utah.
San Francisco is reached via short connecting coach service which is included in the ticket cost.
Southwest Chief: Los Angeles to Chicago (via Flagstaff/Grand Canyon)
You’ll travel over the Great Plains, through Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. Alight this route in Flagstaff to visit the Grand Canyon (not accessible by train, coach transfer) and stay for a couple of nights to take in one of the USA’s most impressive destinations. We will help you arrange accommodation and navigate how to get there.
City of New Orleans: Chicago to New Orleans
Make your way to the home of some of the greatest musical tracks, via the railway tracks. Journeying from Chicago down through the states of Tennessee and Mississippi, via Memphis (connections to Nashville via Greyhound bus) arriving into Louisiana’s state capital New Orleans, in the heart of the deep south.
Lake Shore Limited: Chicago to New York (or Boston)
A relatively short overnight journey will deliver you directly into the brand new expansion of New York’s Penn Station, home to Amtrak services. The route does travel along lake shores, as the name would suggest, although much of this is done in darkness, this service is more for convenience than scenery. This route also stops at Buffalo, for connecting services to Niagara Falls (also see: link to Maple Leaf Train for direct NYC to Niagara cross-border train)
Maple Leaf: New York to Toronto (via Niagara Falls)
A daytime train, travelling between the USA and Canada – a short disembarkation is required for border formalities – operated by Amtrak on the USA side and Via Rail on the Canadian side. The routes travels along the banks of the Hudson River and across the Niagara River into Canada.
Note: the Falls are not visible from the train but you can alight for stay on the Falls and we can arrange accommodation with Falls-View rooms.
Silver Star / Silver Meteor: New York to Miami
A 30-hour journey between two of the most-visited destinations in the United States, the route passes through the states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North & South Carolina, Georgia and Florida – and with coach services connecting the coastal towns, exploring the East Coast of the USA is straightforward and accessible.
Sunset Limited: Los Angeles – New Orleans
There are some great vistas from the Sunset Limited – one of the longer routes of the network, traversing the southern states from California to Louisiana – via Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and through beautiful bayou country.