First impressions of the Amtrak & Why you should choose to travel on it!

Booking our seat tickets on the National Rail Amtrak train in America we were very curious what to expect from our reservations, which was for our first section of our 2 week road trip. With reasonable prices and a route through the Rocky Mountains we were hooked by the idea and had booked our tickets within a week of discovering the Amtrak services.

Our Amtrak journey route started in Denver and would take us to Salt Lake City. We boarded it with high spirits and our original schedule was good timing, but even though we became delayed by a few hours later than expected, that didn’t ruin any of our plans. Our first impressions was pretty positive, climbing up into our carriage and choosing two seats together on the left side of the train (as we had researched that track section between Denver and Salt Lake City had the best views on the left).

It was pretty empty so the first come, first serve system worked fine for all getting on, but we can imagine you might not be so lucky when travelling in more touristic months. Some families with very young children were also within our carriage but with any type of public transport you can expect that it will not always be silent.

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The chairs had plenty of room for your feet and even your bag, if you didn’t already store it above your head or downstairs with the larger luggage bags. Even my partner who is 6ft 5 sat comfortably! However it wasn’t long into the journey that we left our chairs and bags where they were and headed to the panoramic carriage of the train. As mentioned, it wasn’t too busy so we could easily choose two chairs to sit in temporary for the views. Through the rocky mountains we followed the beautiful river flowing through before it got too dark to see a thing. Thinking back we actually spent most of our time in the panoramic cabin.

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amtrak 3

The views throughout our trip were pretty amazing, so when we had heard that there was a little delay it didn’t bother us at all!

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amtrak 6We took snacks and drinks with us on the train, but reserved a seat in the dinner carriage for 7.30pm. We shared a table with a lovely couple soon to celebrate their 49th wedding anniversary. They had the same interests and humour as us and reminded me of my grandparents who travel a lot too. Even gave us some tips for the rest of our road trip. There was plenty of choice for dinner but of course not the best food being on a train. But we couldn’t complain, since it was better than the microwaved pizza that was being served from the little snack bar.

amtrak 9Once it was dark it was noticeably a lot colder on our personal seats too, so sleeping wasn’t the best. I raided our backpack for the warmest extra clothes to put on. We would definitely recommend some warm socks, an eye mask, using some extra clothes or even a coat as a blanket to warm up. As a light sleeper I struggled to get more than 3 hours at most.

amtrak 8Since we were delayed by a few hours we weren’t expecting to sleep on the train but to be in Salt Lake City by 11:00pm. The delay caused us to arrive at 04:00am in the end so we headed straight to the airport to pick up our rental car, rather than checking into a hotel for a few more hours sleep. If we knew we would be travelling on the Amtrak after 12pm we would have definitely paid for a sleeper room for two, which we heard from the couple at dinner that they were rather decent, warm, comfy to sleep in as well as safer for your belongings.

If we ever return to America we will definitely consider travelling with the Amtrak again and recommend it if you are there too!

Have you been on the National Rail Amtrak in America or Canada before? We’d love to hear your stories and tips!

 

58 thoughts on “First impressions of the Amtrak & Why you should choose to travel on it!

  1. I’ve taken trains in 11 countries but I’ve never taken a train in the US – even though it’s my home country! I just never thought of it as an option for some reason. But this article is making me consider doing some journeys by Amtrak when I return home. Thank you! 🙂

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  2. Wow, that does look nice. I have taken Amtrak in the northeast and it is really not good unless you take the Acela which is about the same price as a plane ticket. I would love to do the journey that you did though.

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  3. WOW! I’ve always seen this type of train in the movies… it would be a dream to travel on one!
    Thank you for letting me know that they do still exist…
    By the way, I’m in love with the photo with your shows and the unfocused window 🙂

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  4. I have always been intrigued by train travel, but I also always pictured it as tiny, uncomfortable, and loud. I’m glad to hear that I’m not entirely wrong. Also, the photos of the scenery are amazing! I can’t believe those were taken from a train. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thanks for commenting! Some sections of the journey was slower for the corners so I could really take some focused photos well. I did have some worries of being on a loud uncomfy train with busy sit areas but this really was delightful!

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  5. What a lovely post! I love it! We don’t have scenic view trains here in the Philippines. Amtrak looks fancy and the views are perfect! I would definitely enjoy such a ride! ❤

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  6. As a travel planner I have booked a couple of Amtrak trips for clients…long distance, overnight ones. And I know the one couple really loved it. I have yet to take a train in my home country. Maybe sometime soon. Nice review!

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  7. You know, riding Amtrak is one thing I’ve never done in the US. I’ve come close, but never ended up booking. My first train ride was in Europe at age 20. I definitely am a fan of train travel now for similar reasons that you’ve mentioned here so I can imagine riding Amtrak in the future!

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    1. If it suits your itinerary I would definitely recommend it. As our first time we were sure impressed and enjoyed the ride. I think it is definitely a big difference from the trains here in Europe. I also once did an overnight train from Prague to Budapest which was also very enjoyable, but much smaller though!

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  8. I love taking trains ride, but for some reason I have never considered it in the USA. But your post tells me I should give it a try! Love those big windows and will remember to take some warm clothes to keep warm in the nights.

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  9. Although I’m from the US I’ve only traveled on Amtrak a few times. Those experiences were fine but just short ones so I can’t say I could make a comment on it one way or other. This is good to know! I really should utilize the train more!

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    1. Thanks for commenting! We definitely enjoyed our time on it (even with the delays) and would love to go on it again if it fits our itinerary. The couple I met at dinner had a sleeper and were travelling for 3 days long on it, and were enjoying it very much so I think it can be a great experience for a longer time.

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  10. I was really interested to read this – I first saw the Amtrak routes on a BBC documentary, and I wondered how it’d be to travel around America on it. Now I know that it’s a good experience (I love those observation carriages!), I’m quite tempted! Thanks for sharing!

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  11. I love train travel so I would totally do this! (although I’m also a light sleeper so would definitely opt for the sleeper carriages if travelling overnight, along with earplugs and an eye mask!) The panoramic carriages look amazing 😀

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    1. Yeah as a light sleeper i’d totally recommend a sleeper! They looked so comfy compared to our seats as well as more private to work/read/sleep without distractions of people walking past or other guests. Through we were okay for this as it wasn’t very busy.

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  12. We’ve never traveled by Amtrak before, but when we lived in London, we took the Eurostar fairly often and the train lines through the UK and that’s when I fell in love with train travel! I’d definitely give Amtrak a go!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah I love the Eurostar, I live in Rotterdam, NL at the moment and from this summer the Eurostar will be coming all the way to Amsterdam to London so I can’t wait to travel back to London with it! As for the Amtrak, was so nice with the panoramic carriage that we’d definitely recommend it if it ever fits your itinerary in America!

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  13. Although we have traveled extensively by train in Europe, we have never gone on a train in the U.S. It looks like you all had a great time and got to see some pretty scenery. Maybe I need to look into Amtrak!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If the Amtrak fits your itinerary i’d definitely recommend! We’ve done both coach and train vacations through europe and both can be enjoyable, but those panoramic carraiges had the idea sold instantly when we bought the tickets!

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