The Ultimate Guide to Amtrak Routes [Regional & Long-Distance]

Amtrak Silver Meteor With Attendant

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Amtrak is the national passenger rail service company that operates trains throughout the U.S. Offering both a mix of local and long-distance services, Amtrak serves both major cities and rural towns that otherwise don’t have any other public transit. While Amtrak doesn’t operate in every state, most do see some type of Amtrak service, and it’s helpful to know what trains offer what amenities and the general schedule of when you can expect departures.

In this guide, we’re going to explore each Amtrak route, the rough departure and arrival times, the major cities and highlights en route, and the popular amenities on board.

Amtrak Trains

There are essentially 2 types of trains that Amtrak operates — regional/commuter trains and long-distance trains, each with their benefits and services.

Regional Trains

Regional trains are those trains that tend to serve major cities in high-traffic areas of the country. Traditionally, these trains do not overnight along the way and offer multiple frequencies daily.

Some examples of regional trains include:

  • Northeast Regional, operating from Roanoke and Norfolk north to Boston
  • Acela, operating from Washington, D.C. to Boston
  • Perre Marquette, operating from Chicago to Grand Rapids
  • Pacific Surfliner, operating from San Diego to San Luis Obispo

These trains tend to offer coach class seating, business class (or first class on Acela), a café car, and reserved seating.

Bottom Line: Regional trains tend to have a coach class and premium seating and run between major cities, usually within a specific area of the country.

Amtrak Northeast Regional Business Class
Amtrak Northeast Regional business class is configured in a 2×2 formation.

Long-Distance Trains

These services operate overnight between major cities and traditionally only operate once a day.

Some examples of long-distance trains include:

  • Coast Starlight from Los Angeles to Seattle
  • Silver Meteor from Washington, D.C. to Miami
  • Southwest Chief from Los Angeles to Chicago
  • Texas Eagle from Los Angeles to San Antonio to Chicago

These trains are usually equipped with coach class, sleeping cars, an observation car, a dining car, and checked baggage.

Bottom Line: Long-distance trains run between cities on opposite ends of the country, and usually feature coach class seats, sleeping compartments, and onboard dining.

Amtrak Bedroom Bunk
On long-distance trains, you can book a bedroom or roomette cabin for a restful night of sleep.

Amtrak Routes and Schedules

Please note that the times shown below can be approximate, as train times often change. Route information and schedules are provided courtesy of Amtrak. Some services may currently be suspended or modified due to COVID-19.

Our noted highlights detail prominent landmarks en route — some may even be viewable from your seat window! We’ve also included Amtrak route guides for most long-distance trains.

Hot Tip: View our detailed guide for a full list of Amtrak station lounges, including locations, hours, and a map.

Regional Trains

Acela

Origin CityNew York, NY
End City (Vice Versa)Washington, D.C.
Total Transit Time7 hours (timetable)
Highlights Old Swedes Church, Chesapeake Bay, Susquehanna River, Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel, Philadelphia Zoo, Washington Monument, and U.S. Capitol
Major Cities en Route
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Wilmington, DE
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Trenton, NJ
  • Newark, NJ
Lounges en Route
  • South Station Metropolitan Lounge
  • New York Penn Station Moynihan Train Hall Metropolitan Lounge
  • Philadelphia 30th Street Station Metropolitan Lounge
  • Washington, D.C. Union Station ClubAcela (soon to be Metropolitan Lounge after renovation)
Services Offered
  • Coach class
  • Business class
  • First class
  • Café service
  • Amtrak Quiet Car
  • Wi-Fi available

Adirondack

Origin CityNew York, NY
End City (Vice Versa)Montréal, QC
Total Transit Time10 hours (timetable)
Highlights East bank of Hudson River, Palisades, West Point, and west bank of Lake Champlain
Major Cities en Route
  • Albany-Rensselaer, NY
  • Saratoga Springs, NY
  • Westport, NY
Lounges en RouteNew York Penn Station Moynihan Train Hall Metropolitan Lounge
Services Offered
  • Coaches
  • Café service
  • Wi-Fi available

Amtrak Cascades

Origin CityVancouver, BC
Current Origin CityBellingham, WA
Current End City (Vice Versa)Eugene-Springfield, OR
Total Transit Time10 hours 25 minutes (timetable)
Highlights Olympic Sculpture Park (featuring a 46-foot sculpture of a head by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa), Puget Sound, the Olympic Mountains, Salish Sea, Port Susan, Skagit Bay, Bellingham Bay, and the Strait of Georgia; wildlife sightings include great blue herons, seals, trumpeter swans, bald eagles, and sometimes orca whales
Major Cities en Route
  • Seattle, WA
  • Tacoma, WA
  • Vancouver, WA
  • Portland, OR
  • Oregon City, OR
  • Salem, OR
  • Albany, OR
  • Eugene-Springfield, OR
Lounges en RoutePortland Union Station Metropolitan Lounge
Services Offered
  • Café service
  • Wi-Fi on board
  • Checked baggage service
  • Coach class
  • Business class
  • Trainside checked bicycles

Amtrak Hartford Line

Origin CitySpringfield, MA
End City (Vice Versa)New Haven, CT
Total Transit Time1 hour 24 minutes
Highlights Scenic New England rolling hills from New Haven through Hartford and into Springfield
Major Cities en Route
  • Hartford, CT
  • Windsor Locks, CT
Lounges en RouteNo lounges along the route
Services Offered
  • Coach class seat
  • Carry-on bicycle

Capitol Corridor

Origin CityAuburn, CA
End City (Vice Versa)San Jose, CA
Total Transit Time3 hours 15 minutes (timetable)
Highlights Industrial bays and waterways, rolling hills and valleys near Sacramento, and El Dorado foothills
Major Cities en Route
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Berkeley, CA
  • Emeryville, CA (San Francisco)
  • Oakland, CA
  • Santa Clara, CA
Lounges en RouteNo lounges along the route
Services Offered
  • Wi-Fi on board
  • Café service
  • Coach class
  • Trainside checked bicycle

Downeaster

Origin CityBrunswick, ME
End City (Vice Versa)Boston, MA
Total Transit Time3 hours 25 minutes (timetable)
Highlights Rugged coastline of Maine, historic colonial cities, beaches, and Merrimack River Bridge
Major Cities en RoutePortland, ME
Lounges en RouteNo lounges along the route
Services Offered
  • Coach class
  • Business class
  • Lounge
  • Wi-Fi available
  • Checked bicycles

Empire Service

Origin CityNew York, NY
End City (Vice Versa)Niagara Falls, NY
Total Transit Time7 hours 20 minutes (timetable)
Highlights Hudson Valley, areas of Upstate New York along the Mohawk Valley, Finger Lakes, and industrialized landscapes near Albany
Major Cities en Route
  • Albany-Rensselaer, NY
  • Syracuse, NY
  • Rochester, NY
  • Buffalo, NY
  • Niagara Falls, NY
  • Niagara, NY
Lounges en RouteNew York Penn Station Moynihan Train Hall Metropolitan Lounge
Services Offered
  • Coach class
  • Business class
  • Sleeping cars
  • Flexible dining service: available exclusively for sleeping car passengers
  • Café service
  • Checked baggage at select stations
Note: Empire Service trains operating west/north of Albany offer sandwiches, snacks, and beverages. Some trains offer Quiet Cars, business class, sleeping cars, and dining service. 

Ethan Allen Express

Origin CityRutland, VT
End City (Vice Versa)New York, NY
Total Transit Time5 hours 30 minutes (timetable)
Highlights Vermont’s historic architecture, farms, and villages, Hudson River Valley, Green Mountains, spring skiing, summer wildflowers, and fabulous fall foliage
Major Cities en RouteAlbany-Rensselaer, NY
Lounges en RouteNew York Penn Station Moynihan Train Hall Metropolitan Lounge
Services Offered
  • Coach class
  • Business class
  • Café service
  • Wi-Fi available

Heartland Flyer

Origin CityOklahoma City, OK
End City (Vice Versa)Fort Worth, TX
Total Transit Time4 hours 14 minutes (timetable)
Highlights Arbuckle Mountains and Stockyard National Historic District
Major Cities en RouteNo major cities along the route
Lounges en RouteNo lounges along the route
Services Offered
  • Coach class
  • Café service

Hiawatha

Origin CityChicago, IL
End City (Vice Versa)Milwaukee, WI
Total Transit Time1 hour 29 minutes (timetable)
Highlights Boutiques of the Magnificent Mile, notable architecture of the Milwaukee Art Museum, and Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport (MKE)
Major Cities en Route
  • Glenview, IL
  • Sturtevant, WI
  • Milwaukee Airport Rail Station, WI
Lounges en RouteChicago Union Station Metropolitan Lounge
Services Offered
  • Coach class
  • Amtrak Quiet Car
  • Checked baggage
  • Wi-Fi available
  • Checked bicycles

Illinois Service

Lincoln Service
Origin CityChicago, IL
End City (Vice Versa)St. Louis, MO
Total Transit Time5 hours 25 minutes (timetable)
HighlightsChicago Loop, Willis Tower, Humiston-Riverside Park, Illinois State University, Old State Capitol Building, Scottrade Center, Busch Stadium, and Gateway Arch
Major Cities en RouteSpringfield, IL
Lounges en RouteChicago Union Station Metropolitan Lounge
Services Offered
  • Coach class
  • Business class
  • Café service
  • Wi-Fi available
  • Checked baggage
  • Checked bicycles
Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg
Origin CityChicago, IL
End City (Vice Versa)Quincy, IL
Major Cities en Route
Galesburg, IL
Origin CityChicago, IL
End City (Vice Versa)Carbondale, IL
Total Transit Time5 hours 30 minutes (timetable)
Highlights Burlington Square Park, DuPage Children’s Museum, farming towns and lush greenery, DuPage River, Bureau Valley countryside, historical architectures, Villa Kathrine, Kankakee River, Black Dog Smoke & Ale House, and Gateway Arch
Major Cities en Route
  • Champaign-Urbana, IL
  • Centralia, IL
Lounges en Route
  • Chicago Union Station Metropolitan Lounge
  • St. Louis Lounge
Services Offered
  • Coach class
  • Business class
  • Café service
  • Wi-Fi available
  • Checked bicycles

Keystone Service

Origin CityNew York, NY
End City (Vice Versa)Harrisburg, PA
Total Transit Time3 hours 50 minutes (timetable)
Highlights The ambiance of Pennsylvania Dutch Country and colonial historic views and architecture
Major Cities en Route
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Lancaster, PA
Lounges en Route
  • Philadelphia 30th Street Station Metropolitan Lounge
  • New York Penn Station Moynihan Train Hall Metropolitan Lounge
Services Offered
  • Coach class
  • Amtrak Quiet Car
  • Wi-Fi available
Note: All trains are unreserved for local travel between Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and intermediate points. Travel to or from other points requires reservations. All connecting trains require reservations.

Maple Leaf

Origin CityNew York, NY
End City (Vice Versa)Toronto, ON
Total Transit Time12 hours 30 minutes (timetable)
Highlights Hudson River Valley, Mohawk Valley, New York’s wine country, and gorges of the Finger Lakes region near Niagara Falls
Major Cities en Route
  • Syracuse, NY
  • Buffalo-Depew, NY
  • Erie, PA
  • Cleveland, OH
  • Toledo, OH
Lounges en RouteNew York Penn Station Moynihan Train Hall Metropolitan Lounge
Services Offered
  • Coach class
  • Business class
  • Café service
  • Wi-Fi available

Michigan Service

Wolverine Service
Origin CityChicago, IL
End City (Vice Versa)Pontiac, MI
Total Transit Time6 hours 30 minutes (timetable)
Highlights Kellogg Company, Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, Lake Michigan and Huron River 
Major Cities en Route
  • Kalamazoo, MI
  • Grand Rapids, MI
  • Battle Creek, MI
  • Jackson, MI
  • Detroit, MI
Services Offered
  • Coach class
  • Business class
  • Café service
  • Wi-Fi available
  • Amtrak Quiet Car (Monday to Friday only)
Blue Water
Origin CityChicago, IL
End City (Vice Versa)Port Huron, MI
Total Transit Time7 hours 30 minutes (timetable)
HighlightsShores of East Michigan through Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, East Lansing, and historic Port Huron
Major Cities en Route
  • Kalamazoo, MI
  • Grand Rapids, MI
  • Battle Creek, MI
  • East Lansing, MI
Services Offered
  • Coach class
  • Business class
  • Wi-Fi available
  • Amtrak Quiet Car (Monday to Friday only)
Pere Marquette
Origin CityChicago, IL
End City (Vice Versa)Grand Rapids, MI
Total Transit Time5 hours 30 minutes (timetable)
Highlights Beaches and Dutch heritage sites (including a 250-year-old Dutch windmill), Lake Huron, famous cities of Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and East Lansing, Port Huron, and Veldheer Tulip Gardens
Major Cities en Route
  • St. Joseph-Benton Harbor, MI
  • Holland, MI
Lounges en RouteChicago Union Station Metropolitan Lounge
Services Offered
  • Coach class
  • Business class
  • Wi-Fi available

Missouri River Runner

Origin CityKirkwood, MO
End City (Vice Versa)Kansas City, MO
Total Transit Time5 hours 40 minutes (timetable)
Highlights Gateway Arch, Missouri River, Kansas City Union Station, LEGOLAND Discovery Center Kansas City, Missouri Korean War Veterans Memorial, Missouri State Museum, Lewis and Clark Monument, Jefferson Landing Historic Site and the Cole County Historical Society Museum, and Kirkwood Station
Major Cities en RouteJefferson City, MO
Lounges en RouteSt. Louis Lounge
Services Offered
  • Coach class
  • Business class
  • Café service
  • Wi-Fi available

Pacific Surfliner

Origin CitySan Luis Obispo, CA
End City (Vice Versa)San Diego, CA
Total Transit Time5 hours 45 minutes (timetable)
Highlights California Coast between Oxnard and San Luis Obispo, Grover Beach, Funk Zone featuring the Urban Wine Trail, Seaside Park, Ventura County Fairgrounds & Event Center, Mission San Buenaventura, Surf Beach, and Island Brewing Company; wildlife sightings include endangered snowy plovers and great white sharks
Major Cities en Route
  • Santa Barbara, CA
  • Los Angeles, CA
Lounges en RouteLos Angeles Union Station Metropolitan Lounge
Services Offered
  • Coach class
  • Business class
  • Café service
  • Checked baggage
  • Wi-Fi available

Pennsylvanian

Origin CityNew York, NY
End City (Vice Versa)Pittsburgh, PA
Total Transit Time9 hours 20 minutes (timetable)
Highlights Horseshoe Curve, Gallitzin Tunnel, Conemaugh River through South Fork, Susquehanna over the Rockville Bridge, Juniata River through Newport, Millerstown, Thompsontown, Port Royal, Mifflintown, Hawstone, Lewistown, Mt. Union, Huntingdon, Spruce Creek, Tyrone, and Altoona (the sprawling railroad yards are on the left and downtown on the right).
Major Cities en Route
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Lancaster, PA
  • Harrisburg, PA
  • Altoona, PA
  • Johnstown, PA
Lounges en Route
  • New York Penn Station Moynihan Train Hall Metropolitan Lounge
  • Philadelphia 30th Street Station Metropolitan Lounge
Services Offered
  • Coach class
  • Business class service
  • Café service
  • Checked baggage
  • Wi-Fi available

San Joaquin

Origin CityBakersfield, CA
End City (Vice Versa)Oakland, CA
Total Transit Time6 hours 15 minutes (timetable)
Highlights San Joaquin Valley, coastal mountain ranges, Yosemite’s El Capitan, and Kings Canyon, Sequoia, and Death Valley National Parks
Major Cities en Route
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Stockton, CA
  • Merced, CA
  • Fresno, CA
Lounges en RouteNo lounges along the route
Services Offered
  • Café service
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Checked baggage

Valley Flyer

Origin CityGreenfield, MA
End City (Vice Versa)New Haven, CT
Total Transit Time2 hours 48 minutes (timetable)
Highlights Connecticut River, Hills of New Haven, through Springfield, and valleys of Northampton and Greenfield
Major Cities en RouteSpringfield, MA
Lounges en RouteNo lounges along the route
Services Offered
  • Coach class
  • Wi-Fi available

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Amtrak Business Class Rear View
Most Amtrak trains feature a spacious coach class seating in a 2×2 format.

Long-Distance Trains

Auto Train

Origin CityLorton, VA
End CitySanford, FL
Total Transit Time17 hours 29 minutes (timetable)
Highlights Lake Monroe, Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens, Orlando International Airport (MCO), Savannah River, Francis Marion National Forest, and Potomac River
Major Cities en RouteNo major cities along the route
Lounges en RouteNo lounges along the route
Services Offered
  • Coach class
  • Private rooms
  • Traditional dining for private room passengers
  • Café service for coach passengers
  • Wi-Fi available

California Zephyr

Origin Chicago, IL
End CityEmeryville, CA
Total Transit Time2 days 3 hours 20 minutes (timetable)
Highlights Great Plains, Rocky Mountain, Colorado River, Ruby Canyon, Wasatch Mountains, Great Salt Lake, Toano Range, Goshute Valley, the northern edge of the Ruby Mountains, Sierra Nevada, Donner Lake, Donner Pass, and Moffat Tunnel

California Zephyr Route Guide

Major Cities en Route
  • Burlington, IA
  • Omaha, NE
  • Denver, CO
  • Glenwood Springs, CO
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • Reno, NV
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Emeryville, CA (San Francisco)
Lounges en RouteChicago Union Station Metropolitan Lounge
Services Offered
  • Coach class
  • Private rooms
  • Dining service
  • Café service
  • Checked baggage
  • Checked bicycles

Capitol Limited

Origin CityWashington, D.C.
End CityChicago, IL
Total Transit Time18 hours (timetable)
HighlightsAllegheny Mountains, U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C. museums, Jefferson Rock, Potomac River, Belle Boyd House, Willis Tower, Chicago Loop, Lake Erie, Cedar Point, Allegany Museum, and Viaduct Junction

Capitol Limited Route Guide

Major Cities en Route
  • Harpers Ferry, WV
  • Cumberland, MD
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Cleveland, OH
  • Toledo, OH
  • Waterloo, IN
  • South Bend, IN
Lounges en Route
  • Union Station ClubAcela (soon to be Metropolitan Lounge after renovation)
  • Chicago Union Station Metropolitan Lounge
Services Offered
  • Coach class
  • Private rooms
  • Flexible dining service: available exclusively for private room passengers
  • Café service
  • Checked baggage
  • Onboard bicycle racks

Cardinal

Origin CityNew York, NY
End CityChicago, IL
Total Transit Time1 day 2 hours 30 minutes (timetable)
HighlightsChicago Union Station, Willis Tower, Hinton Historic District, Wilson Park, The Greenbrier, Potomac River, and the Pentagon

Cardinal Route Guide

Major Cities en Route
  • Newark, NJ
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Charlottesville, VA
  • White Sulphur Springs, WV
  • Charleston, WV
  • Cincinnati, OH
  • Indianapolis, IN
Lounges en Route
  • New York Penn Station Moynihan Train Hall Metropolitan Lounge
  • Philadelphia 30th Street Station Metropolitan Lounge
  • Union Station ClubAcela (soon to be Metropolitan Lounge after renovation)
  • Chicago Union Station Metropolitan Lounge
Services Offered
  • Coach class
  • Private rooms
  • Flexible dining service: available exclusively for private room passengers
  • Café service
  • Checked baggage
  • Wi-Fi available
  • Onboard bicycle racks

Carolinian / Piedmont

Origin CityNew York, NY
End CityCharlotte, NC
Total Transit Time13 hours 30 minutes (timetable)
Highlights U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C. museums, Old Town Alexandria, Fredericksburg City Dock Park, downtown Raleigh, Boylan Bridge (view of Raleigh skyline), and downtown Greensboro
Major Cities en Route
  • Newark, NJ
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Richmond, VA
  • Jacksonville
  • Raleigh, NC
Lounges en Route
  • New York Penn Station Moynihan Train Hall Metropolitan Lounge
  • Philadelphia 30th Street Station Metropolitan Lounge
  • Union Station ClubAcela (soon to be Metropolitan Lounge after renovation)
Services Offered
  • Coach class
  • Business class
  • Café service
  • Checked baggage
  • Wi-Fi available
  • Onboard bicycle racks

City of New Orleans

Origin CityChicago, IL
End CityNew Orleans, LA
Total Transit Time19 hours (timetable)
HighlightsBeale Street, Great Lakes, Lower Mississippi Delta region (with African and Caribbean architectural influences), Piney Woods, floral cities of Brookhaven and McComb, exotic swamps of the bayou, marshland, cypress trees and waterways, Pass-Manchac waterway, and Lake Pontchartrain; wildlife sightings include alligators and pelicans

City of New Orleans Route Guide

Major Cities en Route
  • Champaign-Urbana, IL
  • Centralia, IL
  • Carbondale, IL
  • Memphis, TN
  • Jackson, MS
  • Hammond, LA
Lounges en Route
  • Chicago Union Station Metropolitan Lounge
  • Magnolia Room
Services Offered
  • Coach class
  • Private rooms
  • Flexible dining service: available exclusively for private room passengers
  • Café service
  • Checked baggage
  • Onboard bicycle racks

Coast Starlight

Origin CitySeattle, WA
End City (Vice Versa)Los Angeles, CA
Total Transit Time1 day 11 hours (timetable)
HighlightsSanta Ynez Mountains, Pacific Ocean, Vandenberg Air Force Base, America’s breadbasket, and Salinas Valley

Coast Starlight Route Guide

Major Cities en Route
  • Tacoma, WA
  • Portland, OR
  • Eugene-Springfield, OR
  • Sacramento, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Santa Barbara, CA
Lounges en RouteLos Angeles Union Station Metropolitan Lounge
Services Offered
  • Coach class
  • Business class
  • Private rooms
  • Dining service
  • Café service
  • Checked baggage
  • Onboard bicycle racks

Crescent

Origin CityNew York, NY
End City (Vice Versa)New Orleans, LA
Total Transit Time1 day 6 hours (timetable)
HighlightsShenandoah Valley, Blue Ridge Mountains, Coosa River, historical landmarks like Sloss Furnaces, small towns like Tuscaloosa and Laurel, Empire State Building, Madison Square Garden, Schuylkill River Trail, Lake Lanier, Midtown Atlanta, Regions Field, Lake Pontchartrain, and Mercedes-Benz Superdome

Crescent Route Guide

Major Cities en Route
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Charlottesville, VA
  • Greensboro, NC
  • Charlottesville, NC
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Birmingham, AL
Lounges en Route
  • New York Penn Station Moynihan Train Hall Metropolitan Lounge
  • Philadelphia 30th Street Station Metropolitan Lounge
  • Union Station ClubAcela (soon to be Metropolitan Lounge after renovation)
Services Offered
  • Coach class
  • Sleeping cars
  • Flexible dining service: available exclusively for sleeping car passengers
  • Café service
  • Checked baggage at select stations
  • Wi-Fi available
  • Onboard bicycle racks

Empire Builder

Origin CityChicago, IL
End City (Vice Versa)Seattle, WA
Total Transit Time1 day 22 hours (timetable)
HighlightsNorth Dakota Plains, Big Sky Country, Glacier National Park, Columbia River Gorge, Mt. Hood, and Beacon Rock

Empire Builder Route Guide

Major Cities en Route
  • Milwaukee, WI
  • St. Paul-Minneapolis, MN
  • Fargo, ND
  • Minot, ND
  • Havre, MT
  • Whitefish, MT
  • Spokane, WA
  • Portland, OR
Lounges en RouteChicago Union Station Metropolitan Lounge
Services Offered
  • Coach class
  • Private rooms
  • Dining service
  • Café service
  • Checked baggage
  • Checked bicycles

Lake Shore Limited

Origin CityBoston, MA
End City (Vice Versa)Chicago, IL
Total Transit Time19 hours (timetable)
HighlightsHudson River, Bannerman’s Island, West Point Military Academy, and National New York Central Railroad Museum in Elkhart

Lake Shore Limited Route Guide

Major Cities en Route
  • Syracuse, NY
  • Buffalo-Depew, NY
  • Erie, PA
  • Cleveland, OH
  • Toledo, OH
Lounges en Route
  • Chicago Union Station Metropolitan Lounge
  • South Station Metropolitan Lounge
  • New York Penn Station Moynihan Train Hall Metropolitan Lounge
Services Offered
  • Coach class
  • Business class
  • Private rooms
  • Flexible dining service between New York, Albany, and Chicago
  • Café service
  • Checked baggage
  • Wi-Fi available
  • Checked bicycles

Northeast Regional

Origin CityBoston, MA
End City (Vice Versa)Virginia Beach, VA
Total Transit Time12 hours 30 minutes (timetable)
Highlights Art Museum of Philadelphia, Schuylkill River, Blue Ridge Mountains, Hotel Roanoke, and the Appalachian Trail
Major Cities en Route
  • New York, NY
  • Charlottesville, VA
  • Roanoke, VA
  • Richmond, VA
  • Newport News, VA
  • Norfolk, VA
Lounges en Route
  • South Station Metropolitan Lounge
  • New York Penn Station Moynihan Train Hall Metropolitan Lounge
  • Philadelphia 30th Street Station Metropolitan Lounge
  • Union Station ClubAcela (soon to be Metropolitan Lounge after renovation)
Services Offered
  • Coach class
  • Business class
  • Sleeping cars
  • Flexible dining service
  • Café service
  • Amtrak Quiet Car
  • Checked baggage
  • Wi-Fi available

Silver Service

Silver Meteor and Silver Star
Origin CityNew York, NY
End City (Vice Versa)Miami, FL
Total Transit Time1 day 3 hours 30 minutes (timetable)
Palmetto
Origin CityNew York, NY
End City (Vice Versa)Savannah, GA
Total Transit Time16 hours 10 minutes (timetable)
HighlightsNortheast cityscapes, the Deep South’s antebellum homes and Civil War sites, Florida’s beaches, coastal mangroves, modern metroplexes, Delaware Children’s Museum, U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C. museums, Old Town Alexandria, Edgar Allan Poe Museum, Virginia State Capitol, James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library, and the Airborne & Special Operations Museum

Silver Service Route Guide

Major Cities en Route
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • New York, NY
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Richmond, VA
  • Charlottesville, VA
  • Charleston, SC
  • Savannah, GA
  • Jacksonville, FL
  • Orlando, FL
  • Tampa, FL
  • St. Petersburg-Pinellas, FL
  • Fort Myers, FL
Lounges en Route
  • New York Penn Station Moynihan Train Hall Metropolitan Lounge
  • Philadelphia 30th Street Station Metropolitan Lounge
  • Union Station ClubAcela (soon to be Metropolitan Lounge after renovation)
Services Offered
  • Coach class
  • Business class service
  • Private rooms
  • Flexible dining service: available exclusively for private room passengers
  • Café service
  • Checked baggage
  • Wi-Fi available

Southwest Chief

Origin CityChicago, IL
End City (Vice Versa)Los Angeles, CA
Total Transit Time1 day 18 hours (timetable)
HighlightsDesert landscape on Route 66, Bill Williams Mountain Range, Grand Canyon National Park, Pikes Peak, and the Rockies; wildlife sightings include bighorn sheep, bears, and elk

Southwest Chief Route Guide

Major Cities en Route
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Topeka, KS
  • Dodge City, KS
  • Raton, NM
  • Lamy, NM (Santa Fe)
  • Albuquerque, NM
  • Flagstaff, AZ
Lounges en Route
  • Chicago Union Station Metropolitan Lounge
  • Los Angeles Union Station Metropolitan Lounge
Services Offered
  • Coach class
  • Private rooms
  • Dining service
  • Café service
  • Checked baggage

Sunset Limited

Origin CityNew Orleans, LA
End City (Vice Versa)Los Angeles, CA
Total Transit Time2 days (timetable)
HighlightsBayou Country, Mississippi River, Huey P. Long Bridge, Sesquicentennial Park, Tranquility Park, Historic Sunset Station, San Antonio Riverwalk, downtown Tucson, Iron Horse Park, California mountains, Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park

Sunset Limited Route Guide

Major Cities en Route
  • Houston, TX
  • San Antonio, TX
  • Tucson, AZ
  • Maricopa, AZ
  • Palm Springs, CA
Lounges en RouteLos Angeles Union Station Metropolitan Lounge
Services Offered
  • Coach class
  • Private rooms
  • Dining service
  • Café service
  • Checked baggage

Texas Eagle

Origin CityChicago, IL
End City (Vice Versa)San Antonio, TX
Total Transit Time1 day 8 hours 25 minutes (timetable)
Origin CityChicago, IL
End City (Vice Versa)Los Angeles, CA
Total Transit Time2 days 17 hours 20 minutes
HighlightsChicago Loop, Willis Tower, Gateway Arch, Mississippi River, Ozark Mountains, Arkansas River, downtown Dallas, Dallas Convention Center, John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza, Iron Horse Park, Riverwalk, and the Alamo

Texas Eagle Route Guide

Major Cities en Route
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Little Rock, AR
  • Dallas, TX
  • Fort Worth, TX
  • Austin, TX
  • San Antonio, TX
  • Palm Springs, CA
Lounges en Route
  • Chicago Union Station Metropolitan Lounge
  • St. Louis Lounge
  • Los Angeles Union Station Metropolitan Lounge
Services Offered
  • Coach class
  • Sleeping cars
  • Traditional Dining Service:
  • Café service in the Sightseer Lounge
  • Checked baggage

Vermonter

Origin CityWashington, D.C.
End City (Vice Versa)St. Albans, VT (Jay Peak)
Total Transit Time13 hours 45 minutes (timetable)
Highlights Aldis Hill Park, Cross Vermont Trail, Connecticut River, downtown Brattleboro, Holyoke Heritage State Park, Schuylkill River Trail, Delaware History Museum, and U.S. Capitol
Major Cities en Route
  • Essex JCT, VT
  • Springfield, MA
  • New York, NY
Lounges en Route
  • New York Penn Station Moynihan Train Hall Metropolitan Lounge
  • Philadelphia 30th Street Station Metropolitan Lounge
  • Union Station ClubAcela (soon to be Metropolitan Lounge after renovation)
Services Offered
  • Coach class
  • Business class
  • Café service
  • Amtrak Quiet Car
  • Wi-Fi available

Final Thoughts

Amtrak operates a number of routes to and from major cities throughout the U.S., and if you get the chance, it’s certainly a nice way to watch the scenery go by. In some markets, you’ll have access to long-distance trains, while in other areas you’ll be riding on commuter-type trains that run between major cities in a specific region. No matter which train you choose, riding Amtrak is certainly an experience you should try at least once in your life.


Frequently asked questions

Is Amtrak cheaper than flying?

Not necessarily. Amtrak can certainly be cheap, but in many cases, the prices are similar to flying, and flying takes a considerably shorter amount of time. While the train may be cheaper, it will take you far longer to get to your destination.

What is the most scenic Amtrak route?

Some critics note that the California Zephyr is the most scenic route, running from Emeryville, CA to Chicago, IL, though other notable routes include the Empire Builder, Coast Starlight, Southwest Chief, and Texas Eagle.

Are Amtrak sleeper cars worth it?

Almost certainly sleeping car rooms are worth it, especially on multi-night trips. These compartments turn into 2 beds and allow for a restful night of sleep, which is especially nice if you’re en route for multiple nights.

What is the difference between a roomette and a bedroom on Amtrak?

In addition to having the 2 standard beds, a bedroom features an in-room shower and toilet, larger bottom bed, separate chair, sink, and more space to move around.

James Larounis

About James Larounis

Jamie first got his hook on miles and points during a high school choir trip to Europe, where he flew in Lufthansa First Class (thanks to his dad’s then US Airways miles) because economy was sold out.

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