What is Amtrak

Railroad in the USA - Nice routes & comfort

For travelers to the USA, overland trips are a convenient way to travel. The trains are considered very comfortable: there is plenty of legroom, wide aisles and clean toilets. Open-plan cars are equipped with synthetic leather seats, carpeting and air conditioning.

Fold-out footrests, adjustable seat backs and shared pillows and blankets ensure a good night's sleep in the coach. In the sleeping car (Sleeper) there are bedrooms in different versions (for one or two people and for families) each with its own bathroom; several showers can be found in the corridor. The service is considered good, the food in the dining car is okay and the prices charged there are moderate. Leaflets provide information about the attractions along the route, and a local guide provides information on the landscape, history and sights on particularly interesting sections of the route. Amtrak operates across the country. To make reservations, contact rail travel specialists in Germany who work with Amtrak.

It is advisable to plan the train journey precisely from home, also because reservations are required on the cross-country trains (however, no specific seat is reserved) and trains do not always run several times a day, but sometimes only run several times a week. The inexpensive round trip tickets purchased in Europe (USA Rail Pass in different versions) usually include full board, all tickets are issued in the USA at the first Amtrak station. There, as in aviation, the luggage is checked in free of charge and a maximum of 24 hours in advance to the terminus, so you do not have to transport your own luggage even if you have to change trains several times! Nevertheless, there is the free option of interrupting the journey as often as you like (stop over for city hopping).

By the way: You wait for the trains in the waiting halls provided for them. You may only enter the platforms if the conductors give the go-ahead for this.
Amtrak's punctuality isn't one of their greatest virtues. Delays of several hours are not uncommon.

The most beautiful routes include the following:


Northeastern Corridor: IC between Washington D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, Princeton, New York City, New Haven, Providence and Boston.

Lake Shore Limited: New York City / Boston, Buffalo, Cleveland, Chicago.


Silver service: New York City / Washington D.C. along the east coast to Florida.

Crescent: New York City / Washington D.C. along the Apalachian Ridge through Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi to New Orleans.

City of New Orleans: Chicago along the Mississippi via St. Louis and Memphis to New Orleans.


Southwest Chief: Chicago, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Northern Arizona, Los Angeles.

California Zephyr: Chicago, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, across the Rocky Mountains, Utah, Nevada, Sacramento, San Francisco Bay.

Empire Builder: Chicago, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington State and Oregon.

West Coast

Coast Starlight: Los Angeles along the California coast to Oregon and Washington State (Seattle).

San Diegans: San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara

Across the country

Sunset Limited: from Florida (Miami, Jacksonville) following the Gulf Coast (Mobile) to New Orleans, on to Texas (Houston, San Antonio), the southwest (El Paso, Tucson) and California (Los Angeles).