12 Things You Don’t Know About Amtrak

If you’re a GypsyNester regular, you KNOW what a train nut David is!

Due to his train nutliness, we’ve been on some of the most spectacular rail rides in the world – and some of them are right here in the good ole U.S. of A.

The full service kitchen on Amtrak's Empire Builder
The full service kitchen on Amtrak’s Empire Builder. Elevators are used to send the
entrees up to the dining room so every dish is fresh and piping hot.

12) Amtrak serves full, cooked-to-order meals served on real dishes aboard all long-haul routes.

These always include a vegetarian selection and often feature regional specialties.

No airplane food zapped in a microwave in their dining cars.

12 things you don't know about Amtrak!

11) The Empire Builder and Coast Starlight host wine and cheese tastings for sleeping car passengers. The samplings are always from farms and vineyards along the route.

10) Snacks, quick meals and beverages are also available in the cafe car… or if your timing is just right, we have seen a pizza get delivered to the train while we were stopped at a station.

The sleeping car lounge for train passengers for Amtrak at Chicago's Union Station
The sleeping car lounge in Chicago’s Union Station.

9) There are really nice passenger lounges in most larger city stations with comfy chairs and couches, wifi, drinks, TV, and priority boarding for sleeper, first class, and top rewards club passengers.

Feel like a VIP.

8) Coach seating is WAY more comfortable than other modes of transportation. More legroom, bigger seats, and usually a power outlet for every passenger. Wifi is showing up on many routes. Some trains have quiet cars where no cell phones are allowed and music or games must use headphones. Shhhhh!

7) There are different types of private rooms in the sleeper cars. Roomettes, provide for up to two passengers, while the Family Bedroom allows room for the kiddies. Some configurations have private bathroom and showers and features for passengers with disabilities are available. The ingenious designs make for both riding and sleeping comfort.

6) For those in the sleeper car without a private bath, there are showers.

5) You are not stuck sleeping on the train station floor if you miss a connection. We asked
a wonderful lady — traveling with a group of Red Hatters —
what happened when she was five hours late getting into Chicago.

Veronica is served breakfast in bed on Amtrak!

4) You can get breakfast in bed.

All meals are included (even the ones brought to your room!) in the sleeper car and Auto Train fares.

Be nice and tip your attendants!

3) Many of the routes that pass through National Parks feature guides holding talks as a part of Trails & Rails Partnership Program with the National Park Service.

2) Bikes are welcome. Bring your bike aboard on several routes or check it as baggage on others. Unfortunately, no riding in the aisles or between cars is allowed.

1) Amtrak is environmentally friendly. Train travel is the most energy efficient mode of long distance transportation, 14 percent more efficient than domestic airline travel and 31 percent more efficient than auto travel on a per-passenger-mile basis. Plus, Amtrak recycles.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

Want to see some of our Amtrak Adventures? Click here!
Click here for ALL of our train travels!

YOUR TURN: Are you a big train fan like we are? What do you like about train travel? Did we inspire you to see the U.S.A. by train?

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45 thoughts on “12 Things You Don’t Know About Amtrak”

  1. I’m a retired Wisconsin guy wanting to visit my California sister now in hospice care. On SS, I have a tight budget and abhor air travel with TSA indignities. Your blog has opened my eyes to more affordable and hassle-free Amtrak travel. There’s a Madison to Sacramento route that comes within 20 miles of my sister. I think we can make this happen. Much thanks.

  2. If flying gets any more inconvenient and uncomfortable, I’m going to start looking into Amtrak routes as an alternative. As Philly natives, we ride the trains in the Northeast Corridor for trips to Washington DC and New York City. Driving is not pleasant in either city and the train either brings you right to where you need to go or the train station has the local public transportation connections you need to get around.

    1. Arriving right in the center of town is one of the things we really like about taking the train. Also, especially for shorter trips, it is more convenient and often quicker when you factor in all of the time spent getting to the airport and going through all of the lines.

  3. Thanks for sharing this! I’ve traveled Amtrak a few times and enjoyed each trip. If you’re not in a hurry or have a little more time, Amtrak can be a great adventure for families with nests or without! Even with our missed connection (1 out of 2), I would still recommend it for the average traveller.

    A lot of folks don’t know that the California Zephyr is timed so that you can see the Colorado Rocky Mountains by day! In the 40s, three separate railroads put together one of the first dome trains to see the Rockies in all their beauty. Even buying a coach ticket will let you grab a popular seat in the Sightseer Lounge above the cafe. I could probably come up with my own top 10 things you don’t know about the California Zephyr alone!

  4. Inspiring post! I enjoyed taking Amtrak from Montreal to New York on the Adirondack route but didn’t know about the regional cuisine and Trails and Rails program. Would love to do a long haul in a sleeper with room service.

  5. Wondering how quiet it is when sleeping in the roomette or bedroom. Do you hear the train wheels or much other noise from the train, or are the rooms fairly quiet?

  6. Never seen a train so great. In kenya been stuck with the old age train even people have forgotten what its like travelling on one. Keep up the great service amtrak

  7. Wonderful. This was already high on my bucket list, even if it had been less comfortable! Now it moved up some more!

  8. Our family have traveled by train since the honeymoon in 1957, including several cross-country familial trips. There is NO better way to travel. Comfort, pampering, beautiful scenery, America at its best and worst, good company, great food and on and on. There is no downside.

  9. Amtrak also has a “frequent rider” program similar to the airlines if you chose to make rail your preferred mode of travel.

  10. Whoo whooooo. Amtrak’s making it pretty hard to say “no” to train travel! Thanks for sharing, D & V!

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