Riding Amtrak is not hard if you do a little research as you plan for your adventure. Your Amtrak planning will lead to some questions, and I know this because I had several as I started. After hundreds of Amtrak train trips covering thousands of miles, I went from asking questions to answering them for others. Instead of hoarding that information, I decided to share it with you.

Amtrak's Hiawatha in Milwaukee, WI
Amtrak’s Hiawatha sitting at the Milwaukee Intermodal Station

My first Amtrak adventure took place in 2012, and back then, I used the Amtrak website and an online forum to answer my questions. The Amtrak’s site answered most of my questions, but the Amtrak online forum filled in the gaps. I found experience travelers had great tips.

While forums have helpful individuals, sadly, they also have trolls who spoiled things. A few trolls had me second-guessing a trip I was planning. Luckily I didn’t listen, and I found most of the trolls’ were people with unrealistic expectations or bitterness. The same statement can apply to Facebook groups.

It would be best if you didn’t need to deal with trolls and the negativity, so I started Travels with Kev to help people like you. I hope you find this site honest and informative. If you can’t find your topic, please reach out, and I will try to help! With over 160,000 miles on the rails and over 660 trains, I have experienced most things. 

Below are the topics I currently cover, and more are coming, so come back or sign up for my email list. Some of these articles come from questions asked by people like you.

Riding Amtrak During COVID-19

Amtrak made service reductions due to COVID-19. Here is a list of regional trains with service reductions. Long-distance trains have also been hit by cuts too, here are the days you can catch those trains.

Daily service is in the process of restoration; this article will let you know when the trains return to daily service.

Riding Amtrak Topics

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

Trip Planning For Planning Amtrak

Coach Class & Sleeper Accommodations

Amtrak sleeper
Amtrak Superliner Sleeping Car Branding.
  • Coach Class 
    • The article covers the basics of coach class basics for your next regional or long-distance train adventure.
  • 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 Bedroom
    • Find out what you need to know about Amtrak’s largest sleeping accommodations, the bedroom. 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.

Other Onboard Experiences

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

Eating On Amtrak

Amtrak Meal
Amtrak Contemporary Meal: Red Wine Braised Beef – Photo Courtesy of Amtrak

Due to the pandemic, Amtrak temporarily uses flex dining on all long-distance trains except for the Auto train. Dining cars are closed to coach passengers at this time. Amtrak trains and stations are cards only at this time; you need a credit or debit card. Traditional dining IS returning to those trains that had it before the pandemic, those trains operating West of the Mississippi. Traditional dining should return around June 2021 and probably for sleeping passengers to start.

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.

Food on Amtrak Long-Distance Trains

The Auto Trains and those running West of the Mississippi River use Amtrak’s traditional dining. The remaining long-distance trains offer Amtrak’s flex dining for the sleeping car passengers. Amtrak provides a cafe car for coach passengers and sleeper passengers looking to add a little 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 any food or beverage services. For many regional trains, the cafe car is where you need to head to get your sustenance. This article covers the basics of what you need to know and menus.

Information On Train Stations

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.

Amtrak Lounges

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

What You Need To Know About Each Of Amtrak’s Long-Distance Trains

This is a new section, and I am still working on it. Currently, only the Auto Train and The City of New Orleans are done. The Cardinal is next.

Riding Amtrak: Auto Train

Amtrak Auto Train
Amtrak Auto Train Photo Courtesy of Amtrak

The Auto Train runs on the east coast as an alternative to driving I-95. This article covers the basics for you to plan a trip. This train travels from the great DC area to the great Orlando area.

There are two articles; the first covers the basics of the Auto train. The first is what you need to know, and the second gives you an idea of where your room is on Amtrak’s Auto Train.

Other Helpful Tidbits & Links

  • Why do the lights go off and on while on the train
  • Amtrak route guides
    • Years ago, Amtrak published route guides for passengers to read while traveling in the rails, but these days these guides are no longer found on most trains. Route guides add a lot to your trips, especially if you like trivia and learning. I find it fun to learn the history of many of the stops and towns you pass through along your journey.

More stories and articles are coming! Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you can learn a thing or two about riding Amtrak. If you have questions, please reach out and let me know!

Safe travels!

Kev

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