Amtrak map USA: Understand America's train routes
Understand Amtrak routes and thruway connecting services across the USA. This video explains Amtrak’s train routes, how to plan journeys and buy tickets, and where you can and can’t go.
0:00 Amtrak maps overview/introduction
0:17 Amtrak map basics
1:24 Amtrak routes on the East Coast
2:26 NYC ⇆ Virginia Amtrak maps
2:45 NYC ⇆ North Carolina Amtrak maps
2:56 Amtrak’s website and maps
3:13 Amtrak maps in the Northeast
3:52 Coast to coast on Amtrak (change in Chicago)
4:19 Gaps in the Amtrak route map
5:02 Amtrak’s thruway connecting services
5:58 The joys of riding Amtrak
6:25 Amtrak website’s various maps
6:57 Amtrak’s Track-A-Train feature
7:31 Using Google Maps for Amtrak routes
8:07 Using Amtrak’s website to plan thruway connections
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Amtrak PDF map: https://www.amtrak.com/content/dam/projects/dotcom/english/public/documents/Maps/Amtrak-System-Map-1018.pdf
Amtrak interactive map: https://www.amtrak.com/plan-your-trip.html
Amtrak Track a Train tool: https://www.amtrak.com/track-your-train.html
Amtrak questions and answers video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOT4jPy52uc
Amtrak dining car video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qhNeLjz14E
Amtrak trains in California video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DS88fzXNUnQ
So where exactly do Amtrak trains go in the United States? This video is an in-depth look at where Amtrak can take you, and how you can use Amtrak and its connecting services to get around America.
To get around America and travel between the cities on this map, sometimes it’s a single ride on one train and sometimes it isn’t. Most importantly, there’s no coast-to-coast service. So if you want to travel from, say, New York to Los Angeles, you’ll have to transfer. Most transfers between the east and the west part of the country are done in Chicago, which is a major Amtrak hub. You can also transfer in New Orleans.
The best way to figure out exactly how to get from place to place on Amtrak is to let them decide. When you buy tickets on the Amtrak website, you just put in your starting and ending points and it will give you whatever options there are. Often there aren’t really as many options as you’d think, assuming you want as few transfers as possible. For example, despite all the Amtrak lines in the northeast, there’s only one direct route between Boston and Chicago, and only two between New York and Chicago.
Speaking of the northeast, this is arguably the best-served area of the United States. Compared to other parts of the country, quite a few shorter and more specialized routes exist here. So you can take the Keystone Service between New York and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; or the Pennsylvanian between New York and Pittsburgh. The Downeaster goes between Boston and Brunswick, Maine. From New York, the Adirondack and Maple Leaf take you to Montreal and Toronto, respectively. So, if you’re traveling around the northeast on Amtrak, you’re fairly well covered.
What if you want to go from Washington DC to Denver? In this case you’ll need two trains, either the Cardinal or the Capitol Limited to Chicago, and then the California Zephyr to Denver.
Now, while there are a lot of major and some not-so-major cities on this map, and thus ways to travel between them on Amtrak, there are obviously some gaps. We already saw how Amtrak doesn’t even enter Wyoming or South Dakota at all, and other states like New Hampshire, Tennessee, and Delaware just barely. And what about major destinations Amtrak *does* go, like Atlanta? Only one route passes through Atlanta, the Crescent. That means there’s no easy way to get between Atlanta and… Chicago, or Florida, or Nashville. New Orleans and Washington DC, those are pretty much your only options from Atlanta. In fact Amtrak doesn’t go anywhere near Nashville. Nor does it go to Phoenix, or Las Vegas, or Boise or Twin Falls, or Augusta Maine. And on and on.
The good news is that Amtrak partners with various transportation services, usually buses, around the country to provide access to many more destinations. This map, which is on the Amtrak website, shows these connecting routes in green. Amtrak calls them Thruway services. This is how you can fill in a lot of the gaps in Amtrak’s main train routes, and get to Las Vegas, or to Phoenix, or Montgomery Alabama, or Sarasota, or Nashville, or way up through Wisconsin and Michigan. This is how you explore more of Oregon and Colorado, and Kentucky and Ohio… and yes, how you can use Amtrak to move around the great state of Wyoming.
Thanks for watching. Check out my other videos for travel tips, stories from my own travels, and my experiences as a Type 1 diabetic wanderer:
See you on the rails!