Rail Travel in the United States

When to travel: Prime time for US rail companies is mostly during the summer month; usually between April to September which can be seen in the higher rates for rail passes during these months. If you are planning to travel the US by train, then the best months for you are in spring or at the beginning of autumn when you can clearly see the splendid landscape from your windows. During National Holidays, travelers fill up the train quickly.

Timetables  Timetables with information about routes, timings and on board amenities are available on the websites of primary US rail services.  Nevertheless it is recommended that you plan your rail travel by the help of a brochure and timetable. Services like Amtrak provides sufficient info in a single brochure regarding everything you need to know. You can have free access to these by subscribing free online delivery.

On Board The most common services like Amtrak tickets or rail passes do not indicate a specific seat number or location but only that you have a reserved seat on the coach. Once on board, attendants will guide you where to sit in the carriage. You can also save a lot of time by hearing the announcements which will direct you to the right train and carriage.

Dining on board

Short distance journeys are accommodated with trolley service with snacks and refreshments aboard. On principal journeys a café lounge compartment with a wide range of assortments including a variety of cold and hot refreshments. If you are taking a long journey, Amtrak can offer you a luxury dining car with services for dinner, lunch and breakfast. Food menus having a complete description about the food offered and rates and availability timings are distributed among the passengers. Food is usually served in paper glasses and plates. If you compare the rates, breakfast will be cheaper and the most expensive will be dinner. Alcohol is not permitted on board and can be only enjoyed by passengers with reserved sleepers.

Coach class

Economy or coach class is available on most of the trains excluding Acela Express travelling through Washington DC, New York City or Boston. In this class your carriage may include 40-60 seats arranged in pairs along the aisle and can also be arranged in sets of four. Spaces for larger luggage and luggage racks are provided at the end of the coach near the toilets. You have comfortable leg room, resting seats and armrests on both sides of the seat. You will find your seats softer and reclining on a longer trip.

Business class

Usually business class facilities are offered on trains where a sleeper is not available and seating arrangement consists of pairs attached to the opposite aisle. Business class has wider space and an attendant on duty to provide you some refreshments and newspaper. Train which travel over nightly and cover long distances offer sleeper accommodation.

Delays

You have to be prepared and keep silent for unusual or unexpected delays whether you are travelling by air, bus or train. Even services like Amtrak have unusual delays on a long distance journey. The private railroad owns all the tracks of Amtrak and they ideally prefer freight trains than passenger ones. Amtrak is trying to ensure since 2008 that train arrival and departures are on time.