Riding Amtrak

Riding Amtrak is not hard if you do some research, listen, and prepare yourself for the adventure. Planning an Amtrak adventure can lead to questions; I know this can be the case because I had several as I started. Links on this page direct you to articles on this site, Amtrak’s site, or occasionally someone else’s if I do not have that information ready or if they did a better job than I can. Come learn how to ride Amtrak.

My Story: Advice From My Experience

Over the years, I went from asking others to answering questions for people like you.

My first Amtrak adventure took place in 2012, and back then, there were not many websites like this one outside of the Amtrak website, at least ones that I could find and connect with.

June 20 2021 Amtrak #5 oma
The California Zephyr #5 in Omaha, Nebraska.

At that time, I found an Amtrak forum (It still is around); albeit handy, it was also discouraging.

I did get a few questions answered, and that was great. But several trolls were more interested in complaining and being negative (apparently, welcome to the internet). A few times, the trolls had me second-guessing if I wanted to travel anymore, just like the modern-day Facebook groups.

Luckily, I didn’t listen, and I found most trolls were people with unrealistic expectations or bitterness because “what was” is now in the past. Or, my favorite, there were a few “experts” who had never been on an Amtrak train but knew it all. While they have the right to say what they want, I also have the right to move on to other resources.

Instead of hoarding that information, I want to share my experience with you on this website with a positive but honest spin on things with easy-to-read and skim articles with links for more information.

At this point, I have over 160,000 miles on the rails and over 660 trains; I have experienced most things. 

Coffee on Amtrak
Coffee tastes better on the rails, which could be better than coffee, and has stunning views.

Helpful Planning Topics For Your Next Amtrak Adventure

This section could be great if you want to plan an Amtrak Adventure but do not know where to start. Or, if you have a specific question, this section may help you find that topic faster.

Information On Amtrak Trips

Amtrak Planning Trips

What You Should Know Before Your First Amtrak Trip

  • Entertainment on Amtrak Trains
    • Amtrak offers views, but you may need to pack something else for entertainment. Find out a few of Kev’s suggestions.
  • Amtrak Service Alerts and Notifications
    • Amtrak’s office resource for service alerts, weather impacts, passenger advisories, station advisories, plus links to Amtrak service-based Twitter handles.
  • Boarding Amtrak Trains
    • You booked your tickets, packed your bags, and now it is time to board the train. Here is an article that will get you on track for your trip.
  • Amtrak Connecting and Thruway Services
    • Sometimes, Amtrak cannot take you by train to where you want to go by train.
    • These days, Amtrak charters a bus or van or books you on another transportation company as part of your reservation to get you where you need to go.

Accommodations: Coach and Sleeping Cars

Amtrak sleeper
Amtrak Superliner Sleeping Car Branding.

For comprehensive information on Amtrak sleeping accommodations, start here.

  • Coach Class 
    • The article covers coach class basics for your next regional or long-distance train adventure.
  • Overview Of Amtrak Sleeping Accommodations
    • If you are new to Amtrak Long-distance trains, this page will give you a quick overview of what you can expect and links to put you in the right direction to get the info you need.
  • Viewliner Roomette
    • The Amtrak Viewliner Roomette is a cozy accommodation in Amtrak’s single-level sleeping cars, and this article will help you with the basics and a few tips.
  • Superliner Roomettes
    • The Amtrak Superliner Roomette is a cozy accommodation in Amtrak’s bi-level sleeping cars, and this article will help you with the basics and a few tips.
  • Amtrak Bedrooms – Superline & Viewliner
    • Find out about the bedrooms, Amtrak’s largest sleeping accommodations.
    • The article covers both Veiwliner and Superliner sleeping cars.
  • General Questions on rooms (sleeper cars)
    • An overview of Amtrak rooms and the top 21 asked questions answered.

Amtrak Onboard Experiences

Amtrak Wi-Fi

You can find Amtrak Wi-Fi on many regional and long-distance trains; this article will let you know what trains plus what you can expect.

Showers on Amtrak

Sleeping cars on long-distance trains offer a few nice perks, including privacy, sleeping horizontally at night, and more, like showers! This article covers everything you need to know to stay fresh while traveling.

Eating While You Ride Amtrak

Amtrak's french toast
Amtrak’s french toast from the dining car. Photo Courtesy of Amtrak

Eating on Amtrak can be a fun experience, and knowing what to expect can help you plan what snacks you want or need to bring and how much money you need to set aside as you roll down the rails.

Eating on Amtrak Long-Distance Trains

Sleeper car passengers on the Auto Train and those trains that run for two nights use Amtrak’s traditional dining. The remaining long-distance trains offer sleeping car passengers Amtrak’s flex dining.

Amtrak provides a cafe car for coach and sleeper passengers looking to add more to their food, snack, or drink intake.

Food On Amtrak Regional Trains

Many regional trains offer food aboard the trains. Short routes like the Hiawatha do not provide food or beverage services. The cafe car is where you can find food on regional trains. This article covers the basics of what you need to know and the menus.

What You Need To Know About Stations When You Ride Amtrak

Washington (DC) Union Station
Washington (DC) Union Station

The Amtrak system contains different station types, from a platform and a sign next to a cornfield to a beautiful station leftover from rail travel’s glory days.

These articles will prepare you for whatever station starts or ends your Amtrak adventure. You could encounter different types on a trip.

No matter what station, you need to know how to board Amtrak trains, and this article will help.

Amtrak Lounges

Some of Amtrak’s stations have lounges for passengers to use. Do you qualify to go into an Amtrak lounge? Find out what stations have them, what you can expect, and who has access.

Learn How To Ride Amtrak Long-Distance Trains.

This page is an excellent start to learning more about each route. This page includes articles I wrote about each train route, or if I haven’t written about that route yet, I link to Amtrak’s page. You can also get schedules and route guides.

Amtrak’s Auto Train

Amtrak Auto Train
Amtrak Auto Train Photo Courtesy of Amtrak

The Auto Train runs on the East Coast instead of driving I-95. This train travels from the great DC area to the great Orlando area.

The Auto train allows you to ride comfortably and bring your car along. You do need a car to ride on this train.

There are two articles: the first is Auto Train basics, and the second gives an idea of where to find your room on the train.

This page is growing!

More stories and articles are coming! Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you can learn a thing or two about riding Amtrak.

Safe travels!


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