Amtrak is the largest passenger railroad service in America, offering daily intercity trains to 864 destinations across the contiguous United States, as well as several cities in Canada. Formally referred to as the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, Amtrak is a quasi-public corporation that receives a combination of state and federal subsidies but operates as a for-profit organization.
Amtrak was formed in 1971 as a result of the Rail Passenger Service Act that the U.S. Congress passed in 1970 in a bid to rescue the declining intercity passenger rail industry. The first train trip operated under the Amtrak brand took place on May 1, 1971. While the fledgling organization struggled to grow within the first several years of its formation, Amtrak continued to expand its operations as some of the remaining private railroads went out of business.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Amtrak continued to expand its network and invested in modernizing its fleet to better serve its passengers. However, the most prominent service upgrade did not come until the early 21st century, when Amtrak introduced the high-speed Acela service, providing long-awaited express trains along the Northeast Corridor between Boston and Washington, D.C. Today, Amtrak’s railroad network covers 76268 routes across North America and the carrier runs an average of 34917 train trips every day.
Today, Amtrak’s network consists of more than 40 different regional train services. The most popular ones include the Northeast Regional, the Pacific Surfliner, the Downeaster, and the famous Coast Starlight. In addition to its train lines, Amtrak also offers a bus service called Thruway, which is provided throughout the U.S. as an extension of Amtrak’s network to destinations where rail service is not available.
Many Amtrak routes are famous for offering unique scenic views along the way, which further enhances the onboard experience. Take the Empire Builder for a one-of-a-kind journey through Glacier National Park, or hop aboard the Coast Starlight for a front-row view of America’s gorgeous Pacific coastline. If you are planning a trip for the fall, you might want to book a ticket for the Adirondack and witness firsthand some of the most gorgeous fall foliage in the U.S.
One of the main reasons why Amtrak continues to be among the preferred ways to travel between cities is the carrier’s high-quality onboard experience. Every Amtrak train comes equipped with comfortable seats boasting extra legroom, as well as four-seat areas with tables in the middle where you can face and interact with your fellow travel mates. In addition, each car has a freshly cleaned restroom, free WiFi and power outlets at every seat. On top of that, snack bars where you can purchase drinks or food during your journey are available aboard all Amtrak trains, and some even come equipped with an entire dining car.
Wanderu has been an official partner of Amtrak since 2015, making it super easy to search and compare all available Amtrak trips in one place. More importantly, you can always find and book the cheapest Amtrak tickets on Wanderu and we would never charge you any additional booking fees. If you are an Amtrak Guest Rewards member, make sure you enter your unique number and earn points for your trip.