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Founded in 1971, Amtrak is by far the most popular train company in the United States. Connecting 692 cities by rail with over 16,000 routes, Amtrak trains make an average of 27,007 trips per day and 378,092 trips per month. Given its expansive coverage, Amtrak's prices vary greatly; tickets start from as low as $1.34 for local train trips to as high as $932.13 for certain cross-country treks.
As the most popular train service in the United States, Amtrak has trains running across every major region in the United States, including trains connecting American cities and Canadian cities. In fact, you could get from coast to coast, or even around the entire U.S. by Amtrak train. Amtrak has an especially strong presence on both the West Coast and the East Coast, with trains from LA to Seattle and Miami to New York. It also connects the Midwest to both coasts, with train stations in major cities like Chicago.
Amtrak's luggage policy is fairly generous. Each passenger can bring two personal carry-on items, two carry-on bags, and two checked bags for free. Passengers may also check an additional two bags, for a fee of $20 each.
Here are some additional requirements to keep in mind:
Yes, Amtrak offers WiFi on their trains. Although most trips with Amtrak will have WiFi as advertised, some trains might not come equipped with WiFi and onboard WiFi can lose its connection in rural areas. We recommend you bring a book or download a movie just to play it safe. Amtrak WiFi is generally best used for surfing the web, checking emails and chatting with friends; you shouldn’t count on the WiFi to binge watch your favorite show.
Yes, there are power outlets onboard Amtrak trains. You can generally find one or two sockets per row of seats, so be a good traveller and check if your seat neighbor might want to charge up their devices as well. With the onboard power outlets, you can charge both a computer and USB devices with a USB power adapter that typically comes with most phones and tablets.
Since Amtrak might sometimes use replacement train vehicles, not all trips are guaranteed to have power points. We recommend to bring a power bank to charge your phone for all trips over 2 hours, just in case.
Because Amtrak operates in so many different regions, the schedule varies widely depending on the route. Amtrak is actually divided into over 40 regional services, each with its own timetables. These regional services include the following popular routes:
You can buy a train ticket at most large train stations, which are staffed with Amtrak ticket agents. If a ticket agent is not available, many stations provide a Quik-Trak Kiosk from which you can purchase a ticket directly.
If your nearest station is not big enough to sell tickets in-person, you can purchase online at Amtrak.com or via an online booking platform like Wanderu. Alternatively, Amtrak allows you to buy tickets over the phone 24 hours a day by calling 1-800-USA-RAIL.
Yes, Amtrak requires you to present an ID to an agent to be allowed to board the train. Make sure you have identification issued by a government agency that meets the carrier’s requirements. Alternative IDs, such as a college ID, won’t work.
Yes, there are bathrooms on Amtrak trains. The bathrooms are pretty basic and include a toilet, toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Most bathrooms don’t have running water. As you will be using a bathroom on a moving vehicle, please use caution and hold on to a rail at all times.
Many Amtrak trains have diner cars with meal service for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Prices and selections vary between different routes; menus are updated regularly. Additionally, most trains will have various snacks and beverages available for purchase. Most passenger cars also have free water from a water dispenser.
Amtrak does not require a printed ticket for boarding. Upon purchase, eTickets will be delivered as a PDF attached to your confirmation email. Simply pull up the eTicket on your mobile device and present a valid ID to the conductor when prompted. For more details, see our guide on how to read an Amtrak ticket.
Amtrak goes the extra distance to deliver premium features to its customers.
Do you find yourself squished in a regular seat or just love having extra room to sprawl out? Well you’re in luck as Amtrak offers extra legroom seating. Since there is no standard of what extra legroom is, the extra space you get may vary between train lines, but getting extra is always good.
With 27,007 Amtrak trips per day, there are a lot of great deals to uncover for the bargain hunter and Amtrak tickets start at just $1.34. Check out some of the latest and greatest deals snatched up by Wanderu users.
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