This was last updated in 2008 and may be dated.
In general, Amtrak’s policies for carry-on baggage are more permissive than airlines. In particular, while Amtrak does have a limit on the number of carry-on bags, items such as purses, briefcases, laptop bags, strollers, diaper bags, car seats, and medical equipment do not count towards the limit.
Please see Amtrak’s full baggage information & policy before you travel.
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Amtrak is the only cross-country passenger railroad in the United States. Outside a few regions, Amtrak is usually the only way to travel state-to-state by rail, and is the only regular option for cross-country travel by rail. Amtrak operates the trains, and mostly runs on tracks owned by freight railroads. Amtrak is a quasi-governmental corporation, created in 1971 when the passenger railroads at the time wanted to get out of the passenger business. For more information on the history of Amtrak, see the Wikipedia article on Amtrak.
Let’s talk about what you can expect on the train. We’ll start with the layout of the train, and go on to describe different parts of it. Scroll down for more.
This page discusses what you might want to bring with you when you travel on Amtrak.
These are generally offered on trains that travel overnight (though you can of course use them during the day as well.) Sleeping car accommodations are considered first-class service, and in addition to the room, you get several other amenities: free meals in the dining car (including everything – even desert – except alcoholic beverages), free morning paper each day, free coffee, free bottled beverages, and the ability to use Amtrak’s first-class waiting areas in major train stations. Each sleeping car has its own attendant, so you also get better personal service.
Traveling by rail can be a fun, rewarding, exciting, and inexpensive experience. There are lots of Reasons to Travel by Rail. But it’s different in many ways from air or car travel. Read on to learn all about your trip.