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.

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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.

Note: this page was last updated in 2008. Some of these links are dated but the information they discuss is still online and discoverable via search.

The North-East Corridor (NEC) is a section of rail running from Boston to Washington, DC. Unlike most of the rest of the country, Amtrak itself owns and operates the tracks in the NEC. The NEC is electrified, and is home to the fastest trains in the country, such as the Acela.

This information is from 2008 but should be reasonably useful still.

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.

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.

There are a lot of reasons! Let’s look at them:

Train travel is a modern, fun, and fast way to travel all across the United States and the world. Here you can learn all about it.