Amtrak long-distance trains can be a fun adventure, especially if you have the right tools.
This page will direct you to the information you need about each of Amtrak’s long-distance trains. To help make your Amtrak adventure more fun, I have links to Amtrak route guides and, eventually, timetables.
About Amtrak route guides
Amtrak wrote route guides circa 2010/2014 and distributed them in their trains and stations. These travel guides have been out of print for a while, so they are hard to find.
I found copies of the last time Amtrak printed them, and they are available for you to print out or store on a device. Even though they are over a decade old, they still offer plenty of history of the communities the train services during your adventure.
Information about each route
The white buttons direct you to posts I wrote about each train, while the blue buttons direct you to the Amtrak page for that train.
The goal is over the next year, or so all the blue buttons will turn white. My post often answers the questions new Amtrak riders are looking for, often based on questions I had when I started. So these articles are based on my experience with these trains, including route-specific tips if I have any.
Amtrak Long-distance train basics
There are a few things that all long-distance trains have in common; all of them offer coach class and sleeping accommodations, but for the Palmetto, which is not an overnight train. All of the long-distance trains have a café car and complimentary dining for sleeping car passengers.
Rooms on the train include roomettes, small rooms for one to two people, deluxe bedrooms that give passengers more space. Accessible rooms are for those travelers with mobility issues and their travel companions. Family rooms are great for two adults and two little ones, and only Superliner trains have family rooms.
Amtrak route guides and more
Auto Train #52 & #53
The Auto Train runs from the greater Washington DC and Orlando areas, and this train allows you to bring your car along with you on the train.
There is no Amtrak route guide for the Auto train. The train does run on the Silver Meteor route, so that is the guide below.
The California Zephyr daily with significant stops at Chicago. Omaha, Denver, Salt Lake City, and Emeryville (San Francisco)
The California Zephyr will whisk you from the busy Chicago skyline through the farm field and rural scenes of Illinois and Iowa, stunning views of the Rockies and High Sierras.
Capitol Limited #29 & #30
The Capitol Limited is an overnight train connecting the US Capitol to the Midwest. This train will take you through the Potomac Valley, Harpers Ferry, and the Allegheny Mountains.
The Capitol Limited runs daily serving these major cities, Washington DC, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Chicago.
One of Amtrak’s Sightseer Lounge on the Capitol Limited
Cardinal #50 & #51
The Cardinal is a hidden gem of the Amtrak system. The Cardinal offers stunning views of the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains, the Shenandoah Valley, and the wild white-water rivers of West Virginia.
Amtrak’s Cardinal runs three days a week, serving these major cities, New York, Washington, Charlottesville, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Chicago.
City of New Orleans #58 & #59
The City of New Orleans can take you from the Third Coast to the Big Easy. The train offers views of Southern agriculture and communities.
The City of New Orleans runs daily, serving these major cities, Chicago, Memphis, Jackson, and New Orleans.
The City of New Orleans at Jackson, MS
Coast Starlight #11 & #14
The Coast Starlight takes passengers from the heart of LA to Seattle. Along the way, the train offers can give stunning views of the ocean, especially north of LA.
The Coast Starlight runs daily, serving Seattle, Portland, Oakland, Sacramento, Los Angeles, and bus service to San Francisco, plus intermediate destinations.
Crescent #19 & #20
The Crescent takes passengers between the Big Apple and the Big Easy. Along the way, passengers see views of the old South.
The Crescent runs daily, serving New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Atlanta, plus more.
Empire Builder #7, #8, #27, & #28
The Empire Builder runs from Chicago up through Wisconsin before it wanders through the northernmost states heading to the pacific northwest.
The Empire Builder runs daily, serving Chicago, St. Paul/Minneapolis, Spokane, Portland/Seattle, plus more.
Lake Shore Limited #48, #49, #448, & #449
The Lake Shore Limited takes passengers from the bustling Eastcoast to the Midwest, passing many Great Lakes and waterways.
The Lake Shore Limited is a daily train stopping at New York/Boston, Albany, Chicago, and more.
Palmetto #89 & #90
The Palmetto is the only long-distance train without sleepers, but it does have a business class car. This train takes you between New York to the heart of the South.
The Palmetto runs daily, serving New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Charleston, and Atlanta.
Silver Meteor #97 & #98
The Silver Meteor takes passengers up and down the Eastcoast from New York to Miami.
The Silver Meteor runs daily, stopping at New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Charleston, Savannah, Jacksonville, Orlando, Kissimmee, Miami, and more.
Silver Star #91 & #92
Like the Silver Meteor, this train takes passengers from New York to Miami but with a slight detour to serve a few inland North and South Carolina communities.
The Silver Star runs daily with significant stops at New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Raleigh, Savannah, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, and Miami.
Southwest Cheif #3 & #4
The Southwest Cheif offers stunning views of the Southwest as it takes passengers to their destinations.
The Southwest Chief runs daily, stopping at Chicago, Kansas City (MO), Albuquerque. Flagstaff, Los Angeles, and more.
The Southwest Chief at Galesburg, IL
Sunset Limited #1 & #2
The Sunset Limited takes passengers between New Orleans and LA and at times giving passengers views of Mexico.
The Sunset Limited runs three times a week, stopping in New Orleans, Houston, San Antonio, El Paso, Tucson, Palm Springs, Los Angeles, and more.
The Sunset Limited in Alpine, TX
Texas Eagle #21, #22, #421, & #422
The Texas Eagle gives passengers views of the famous St. Louis Arch plus urban to rural views of Texas and Illinois (Arkansas is overnight). Three days a week car from this train couples onto the Sunset Limited reaching more communities.
The Texas Eagle runs daily with stops at Chicago, St. Louis, Little Rock, Dallas, San Antonio, and more, and three days a week ads cities like Tucson and Los Angeles.
I hope this page helps, and the information adds to your research and can add to your next Amtrak adventure. The route guides are printable or downloadable to your smart devices. If you have other questions, please reach out to me, and I will do my best to answer them.