Train Travel in the United States
There is no other form of transportation that evokes the feelings of majesty and nostalgia that train travel across the USA does. Trains have a history as grand as that of the country. Trains helped build the country as it linked the west together with the eastern portions of it. Trains today serve more modern functions and recently have become more popular. Trains are used for commuter travel but also for vacation travel. The world has become more environmentally conscientious. Travel by automobile is not. As a result more people are turning back to public transit and trains in particular. This has resulted in a revival of the train.
As you travel through the American countryside your accommodations are going to be important. Comfort is key. Amtrak is currently the main train company serving passenger travel across the United States. It’s responsible for the long range trips though it does also have several commuter lines running in high traffic areas like New York to Washington D.C. But the most impressive train trips are trans continental.
While the trains used on various routes are different, they generally all have the same major features.
- Dining Car: The dining car serves to allow people to eat properly while moving long distances. The dining car will have distinct mealtimes. An employee will come through and you can make your reservations at one of the tables at one of the times. That being said there are limits. All tables have 4 seats so if you’re planning on a quiet meal alone that’s not an option. Alternatively it’s a great chance to meet some people while you are travelling. The food served is of surprisingly great quality. While air travel may struggle to maintain their food standards, train travel does a great job of providing excellent food at surprisingly reasonable prices. A high quality dinner entree runs from 15 to 20 dollars, and drinks are reasonably priced as well.
- Lounge Car: More trains are being equipped with lounge cars. These cars are usually double decker cars. One level will be equipped with viewing chairs. These chairs face comfortably outward through large panoramic windows. These chairs allow you to enjoy the countryside and all of the sites. The other level is for intermingling.
- Sleeper Cars: Sleeper cars allow just that. These cars provide people the ability to sleep at night. Generally the cars will be changed from day mode to night mode during your dinner reservation, so it’s a pretty nice system. There are usually two levels of sleeper rooms available. The first is a sleeper roomette. It’s not large enough to qualify as a room really. It will have upper and lower bunks that are close to a single bed. The bedroom rooms are where sleeper cars shine. The top area will convert into a bunk but the bottom will convert into almost a double bed. Additionally bedroom rooms have small toilets and sinks to allow for proper hygiene. It should be noted that sleeper rooms are expensive and are booked as rooms regardless of the number of passengers. And the sleeper bedrooms are usually twice as much as the roomettes.