Reasons to Travel by Rail

Why Take the Train?

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

Convenience

  • Most passenger trains arrive and depart from the center of the city, not an airport far from anyone.
  • Trains provide service in many small communities with no air service – and often with no good highways either.
  • While on board a long-distance train, there is no need to worry about finding a hotel for the night or the next restroom.
  • There’s no need to arrive so early for your travels.

On-Board Amenities

  • Many long-distance trains provide two on-board dining options: a dining car with sit-down dining similar to a nice restaurant, and a lounge car with cheaper fast food fare.
    • You can choose a sleeping car for your trip, which provides you with a private room that can accommodate up to 2 or 4 people. Some rooms include a private shower and restroom facility as well. You can sleep like in a hotel, while the train continues to make progress on your journey.
    • Cheaper coach accommodations feature seats with far more room that even first class on an airplane and recline.

Speed: Faster Than Air?

Yes. It might be surprising, but it’s true. In some areas, especially the northeastern USA, you can get from city to city faster on Amtrak than with an airplane.

In the northeast:

  • The Acela Express trains reach speeds up to 150MPH.
  • Amtrak Stations tend to be downtown, rather than far out in the suburbs, meaning travel time to and from airports is often greatly reduced.
  • Amtrak has three times as many stations as the largest American airline does, so the nearest station may be a lot closer than the nearest airport.
  • You can usually walk right up to your departure gate or train – no need to go through security checkpoints (usually). You don’t need to arrive as early.
  • Trains can get up to speed almost immediately. Especially in the northeast, electric trains can accelerate quickly.

In the rest of the country, travel by rail is generally slower than travel by air, but is usually still faster than travel by car. Trains go up to 150MPH in the northeast, and up to 79MPH elsewhere. Not only that, but they keep moving while you sleep, use the restroom, and eat.

Environment and Quality of Life Impact

Compared to interstates, rail infrastructure requires less land and has a less negative impact on people near it.

Next Steps

Read about what it’s like on a train.


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.

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.

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.

Generally, I have found train travel to be competitive with iir, bus, or car travel. Of course, the specifics will vary depending on where you are going, when, and on what train. Check out the How to Travel by Amtrak page for information on getting fares online or by phone. Also, there are lots of discounts available.