Trains hold a fascination; their nostalgic nature reminds us of a simpler time. With the arrival of the first steam engine in 1753, trains are one of the oldest modes of transportation in the United States.
Travelling coast-to-coast in the United States offers an experience unlike any other. Read below to find out how to travel from New York to San Francsisco by train, as well ticket costs and seating options…
Amtrak is the only cross-country train service provided in the United States. One of the most popular options in rail travel in the United States is a coast to coast experience. The most scenic option available is aboard the Lake Shore Limited and California Zephyr. This trip is a little less than 3,400 miles, extending over three days aboard two different trains.
Beginning in New York from Penn Station, you climb aboard the Lake Shore Limited headed for Chicago. Along the route, you will see scenic views of the Hudson River.
On day two, you will switch trains in Chicago and board the famous California Zephyr. For day two and day three, you will capture images of the beautiful expanse of the “Wild West”.
The snow-capped Rockies and Colorado Canyons paint a beautiful canvas just outside your window. After three days of travel and magnificent views, you will pull into San Francisco, the last stop on your cross-country tour.
Amtrak also offers coast-to-coast trains leaving from Boston and Washington DC, in addition to New York. All of the cross-country routes stop in Chicago. From Chicago, you can climb aboard and complete your journey either to Los Angeles, San Francisco or Seattle.
Peak travel time is from April to September. During non-peak times, you can secure a reclining seat for $200 each way. A child’s ticket is about $100 each way. During peak season it can cost significantly more, up to $400 each way for an adult. Amtrak.com allows you to browse various dates and destinations.
There are five different coast-to-coast tours offered, with the Lake Shore Limited/California Zephyr being the most popular. Most routes offer free route guides, highlighting the scenery and sights from your window.
Amtrak offers more than 30 train routes, encompassing 500 destinations in 46 states. To choose a route that will best serve your needs, you can search the Amtrak website, selecting your desired destination and dates of travel.
You can also choose a multi-city pass, allowing you to design your trip within a certain range of time, stopping in several cities.
Amtrak offers coach, business and first class seating accommodations. If you are travelling across the country, sleeper cars are available as well. In addition, meal and snack cars are available for service throughout your trip.
Train travel in the US is not only more eco-friendly than flying but more beautiful, with gorgeous scenery rolling past your window day-by-day. Unlike airlines, Amtrak offers different prices for children and adults as well as discounts for seniors.
Whether you choose to take a day trip between cities or wish to travel coast-to-coast, train travel is a fantastic option. Pack a camera and capture this memorable experience. Experience the United States in its entirety as you travel along the rails.
Want more ideas for incredible train travel? See our Seven Amazing Train Routes to Ride Instead of Flying
About the author: Brittany Sozak is a contributor at America By Rail. America By Rail offers exciting train tours across North America.