Amtrak long-distance trains can be a fun adventure, especially if you have the right tools. This page will help you get basic information 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 they distributed these guides in their trains and stations. These route guides have been out of print for a while, so they are hard to find. But I found copies of the last time Amtrak printed them. Amtrak used to have them on their site but no longer do. Even though they are over a decade old, they still offer the history of the communities the train services during your adventure.
Information about each route
The white buttons take you to the posts I wrote about each train, while the blue buttons direct you to the Amtrak page for that train. Over the next few months, all the blue buttons will turn white. My post often answers the questions new Amtrak riders are looking for in their research with a few of my tips based on my experience with these trains, including route-specific tips if I have any.
Although this article says Amtrak’s long-distance trains are running daily, currently they are not. All but two are returning to daily service by the first week of June. To find out when each train returns to daily service, check out this page. Once the new timetables come out, I link them to this page. This page is still a work in progress.
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. 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, and accessible rooms. Some trains offer a family room as well, primarily trains traveling West and South of Chicago.
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.
Amtrak’s Auto train photo courtesy of Amtrak
California Zephyr #5 & #6
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.
This runs daily train with major stops at Chicago. Omaha, Denver, Salt Lake City, and Emeryville (San Francisco)
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.
This train runs daily train 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 these major cities of Seattle, Portland, Oakland, Sacramento, Los Angeles, and bus service to San Franscisco.
Crescent #19 & #20
The Crescent takes passengers between the Big Apple and the Big Easy. Along the way, giving them 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 and then wanders through the northernmost states as it heads 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 bussling 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 business class. 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.
This train runs daily with major stops at New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Raleigh, Savannah, Jacksonville, Orlando. Tampa / Miami.
Southwest Cheif #3 & #4
The Southwest Cheif offers stunning views of the Southwest as it takes passengers to their destinations.
This train 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 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.