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For your convenience, direct connections to BART are available at the Richmond and Oakland Coliseum Stations. Then type in the two cities that you want to travel from and to, the


Kev. Kev has been traveling with Amtrak since 2012, celebrating his tenth year this year. Over those years, he has been on over 700 trains covering over 200,000 miles of …


Something to note is that Amtrak gives the freight trains priority of the rails if there's an overlap of rail use, meaning if that happens, Amtrak will be the train to stop and wait. If there's question …

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  • What routes does Amtrak serve?

    Operating three days a week, this Amtrak route connects New York City and Chicago with major stops including Washington, D.C., Charleston, West Virginia, Cincinnati and Indianapolis. Carolinian / Piedmont Actually considered two routes, the Piedmont connects Charlotte and Raleigh, in North Carolina.
    What routes does Amtrak serve? - The Points Guy
  • What is the longest Amtrak route?

    he Texas Eagle is the longest train route in the United States operated by Amtrak. Alone, the train navigates 1,306 miles daily between Chicago, Illinois to San Antonio, Texas; but three days a week, it operates with the Sunset Limited—a train route that runs between New Orleans, Louisiana to Los Angeles, California.
    Amtrak’s 15 long-distance train routes and the places they ...
  • Where are amtrack routes?

    Amtrak [email protected]+1 215-856-7924https://www.amtrak.com/home.html60 Massachusetts Ave NE Washington, DC 20002-4285
    Train Routes in the Northeast
  • Is Amtrak a good train?

    Train service will not be determined by bus ridership ... In 2019, Amtrak provided 1.5 million bus rides, with most bus passengers making connections with Amtrak trains.” This is very good news. It provides access to communities served by Amtrak ...
    Editorial: Bus service from Amtrak is good news

Three new Amtrak routes in eastern Pennsylvania could serve 1.3 million riders annually, with service starting about three years after funding is secured, Amtrak’s president …


100.7 mi, +2676 ft. Bike ride in San Ramon, CA


Amtrak activity book tickets for train has a place to have a very limited new amtrak auto train route amtrak guide of amtrak adirondack is spectacular scenery is. California as cancer …


How Amtrak Plans To Modernize Its Trains By 2030. 16 Nov November 16, 2021. How Amtrak Plans To Modernize Its Trains By 2030. By smart Economy amtrak, economy, …


Map Of Amtrak Train Routes . Cost Of Amtrak Train Tickets . Train Tickets Amtrak. Amtrak Schedules Fares For Seniors . Latest News from. CBS News. CNET. TVGuide.com. TV.com. …


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Train Simulator Think you can do better? Create and submit new Train Simulator scenarios for use in-game, incorporating any add-on in our Steam catalogue. Click here to learn more.


California Train Routes. Amtrak trains and connecting buses reach more than 150 destinations in the Golden State, including top cities such as San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Francisco and Sacramento; national parks; wineries; deserts and beaches. California Highlights.


Amtrak Routes & Destinations. With more than 30 train routes throughout the United States, and some in Canada, Amtrak travels to over 500 destinations in 46 states, giving you the best views North America has to offer. Whether you want to visit big cities, small towns or places you can only see by rail, Amtrak can take you there.


California has the most Amtrak stations in the United States — more than 70. There are trains that just travel within the state, such as the Capitol Corridor, San Joaquins and the Pacific Surfliner.Plus, you can board a long-distance Amtrak route in Los Angeles or near San Francisco for cross-country travel.


View the list of Amtrak routes and explore major stops, nearby attractions and schedule information. Note that most regional Amtrak routes have reduced service or are temporarily suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, but long-distance trains are still operating as normal. View Amtrak service changes to learn more. All Routes. Acela Express ...


As the 3rd largest state, California offers a variety of landscapes and experiences. From San Francisco and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge to the High Sierras and Yosemite National Park with its mountain peaks and rushing waterfalls to the central coast with jagged sea cliffs and wineries to Los Angeles County home to Beverly Hills, Hollywood, and many celebrities!


Below are dedicated Amtrak Thruway routes funded by the State of California. Besides connecting with trains, some routes are open to non-train connecting passengers on certain segments. 📣 As the U.S. is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, many transit agencies may continue to have reduced or suspended service.


In most U.S. states, intercity passenger train service is provided solely by Amtrak (the National Railroad Passenger Corporation), with no assistance of any sort from state or local governments. This level of service usually includes only a few long distance trains such as the Coast Starlight or California Zephyr, with perhaps a small number of shorter distance trains operating within the ...


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The California Zephyr is a passenger train operated by Amtrak between Chicago and the San Francisco Bay Area (at Emeryville), via Omaha, Denver, Salt Lake City, and Reno. At 2,438 miles (3,924 km), it…

The California Zephyr is a passenger train operated by Amtrak between Chicago and the San Francisco Bay Area (at Emeryville), via Omaha, Denver, Salt Lake City, and Reno. At 2,438 miles (3,924 km), it is Amtrak's longest daily route, and second-longest overall after the Texas Eagle's triweekly continuation from San Antonio to Los Angeles, with travel time between the termini taking approximately 5112 hours. Amtrak claims the route as one of its most scenic, with views of the upper Colorado River valley in the Rocky Mountains, and the Sierra Nevada.[4] The modern train is the second iteration of a train named California Zephyr; the original train was privately operated and ran on a different route through Nevada and California.

During fiscal year 2019, the California Zephyr carried 410,844 passengers, a decrease of 1.8% over FY2018.[5] The train had a total revenue of ,950,998 in FY2016, an increase of 6.5% over FY2015.[6]


Previous service[edit]

The California Zephyr in 1970

Prior to the 1971 creation of Amtrak, three competing trains ran between Chicago and the East Bay, with bus connections to San Francisco:[7]: 136 

  • The California Zephyr was operated by the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad (CB&Q), Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad (D&RGW), and Western Pacific Railroad (WP). It operated between Chicago and Oakland – along what is today called the Central Corridor and Feather River Route – via Omaha, Denver, Salt Lake City and Oroville. Amid much fanfare and publicity, the California Zephyr was inaugurated on March 20, 1949. It was discontinued in March 1970 – the only of the three trains not still operating when Amtrak took over service.
  • The City of San Francisco was operated by the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad (Milwaukee Road), Union Pacific Railroad (UP), and Southern Pacific Railroad (SP). It operated between Chicago and Oakland on the Overland Route via Omaha, Cheyenne, Ogden and Reno.
  • The San Francisco Chief was operated by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (AT&SF) via the more southerly Southern Transcon. It operated between Chicago and Richmond via Kansas City, Amarillo, and Bakersfield.

Railpax (renamed Amtrak in late April 1971) originally intended to revive the California Zephyr as part its original route network, using the Burlington Northern (ex-CB&Q) east of Denver, the DRG&W between Denver and Ogden, Utah, and the WP west of Ogden. The California Zephyr route would serve more populated areas (including Denver and Salt Lake City) than the Overland Route, would run through rural communities that lacked good highway access, and could attract passengers to its scenic routes.[7]: 136 

However, since the WP had shed the last of its money-losing passenger service by terminating the California Zephyr, it was not eligible to participate in Amtrak's formation. On April 12, 1971, the WP refused to cooperate with Railpax, and the SP route between Ogden and Oakland was chosen instead.[7]: 136 

On April 26, the D&RGW elected not to join Amtrak. The contract specified that Amtrak could later increase service, and D&RGW feared that would crowd its single-track mainline that competed with the UP's double-track route. The D&RGW chose to operate the Denver–Ogden Rio Grande Zephyr. Amtrak scrambled to piece together a Denver–Cheyenne–Ogden routing on the UP.[7]: 137 

Amtrak era[edit]

An EMD FP7 and two EMD SDP40Fs pull the eastbound San Francisco Zephyr through the Yuba Gap in 1975.

Between the spring of 1971 and the summer of 1972, passengers traveling between Chicago and Oakland would have to travel on two different trains: the Denver Zephyr, which operated daily between Chicago and Denver, and the City of San Francisco, which operated three times a week, between Denver and the San Francisco Bay Area. Eventually, however, after several false starts, Amtrak consolidated the two trains into one, dubbed the San Francisco Zephyr, homage to both the California Zephyr and the San Francisco Chief, between Chicago and Oakland. The Rio Grande continued to operate the Rio Grande Zephyr between Denver and Ogden.[7]: 136–137 

In 1983, the D&RGW elected to join Amtrak, citing increasing losses in passenger operations. Amtrak re-routed the San Francisco Zephyr over the D&RGW's Moffat Subdivision between Denver and Salt Lake City, its original preference from 1971. The change was scheduled for April 25, but a mudslide at Thistle, Utah, closed the line and delayed the change until July 16. With the change of route, Amtrak renamed the train as the California Zephyr.[8][9] The modern California Zephyr uses mostly the same route as the original east of Winnemucca, Nevada. The train uses the route of the former City of San Francisco, along the Overland Route (First Transcontinental Railroad), between Elko, Nevada, and Sacramento. Across central Nevada, the two rail lines have been combined to use directional running. As such, the exact spot the train switches lines depends on the direction of travel.[10]

For most of the 1980s and 1990s, the California Zephyr operated in tandem with the Seattle-bound Pioneer and Los Angeles-bound Desert Wind. Since 1980, the Pioneer and Desert Wind had exchanged through coaches with the San Francisco Zephyr at Ogden. The exchange point was moved to Salt Lake City when the latter train became the California Zephyr.[7]: 143–144  This created a massive train of 16 Superliner cars running from Chicago to Utah, easily the longest train Amtrak had operated outside of the Auto Train. Amtrak required at least four EMD F40PH locomotives to pull this behemoth over the steep grades of the Moffat subdivision. To ease the load, Amtrak began splitting the Pioneer from the Zephyr and Desert Wind at Denver in 1991, while the Desert Wind continued splitting from the Zephyr at Salt Lake City.[7]: 148–150  The Pioneer and Desert Wind were both discontinued in 1997.

The western terminus of the train was cut back to Emeryville station when Oakland Central station was closed on August 5, 1994. The California Zephyr was re-extended to Oakland with the opening of the Jack London Square station on May 12, 1995. However, this required a complicated reverse move along street running tracks to reach the wye at West Oakland. The train was cut back again to Emeryville on October 26, 1997.[11]

Service between Reno and Denver was suspended for about a month in April 2020, as part of a round of service reduction in response to the coronavirus pandemic.[12][13] Frequency was reduced to tri-weekly in October 2020,[14] but was restored to daily service on May 24, 2021, after additional Amtrak funding was included in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.[15] However, a resurgence of the virus caused by the Omicron variant caused Amtrak to reduce the train's service to five days a week from January to March 2022.[16]

Route description[edit]

Amtrak California Zephyr (interactive map)

The west-bound train is Amtrak number 5 (number 6 eastbound). Upon leaving Chicago Union Station, the train travels along the Metra BNSF Railway Line, with an intermediate stop in Naperville, Illinois.

After passing through Aurora, Illinois, the train passes through the Illinois prairies, using the Burlington Rail Bridge to cross the Mississippi River in Burlington, Iowa. After running through southern Iowa, the Zephyr reaches the Missouri River between Council Bluffs, Iowa and Omaha, Nebraska. From Omaha, the train travels overnight through southern Nebraska and northeastern Colorado, making a morning arrival in Denver.

At Denver, the Zephyr switches over from BNSF to Union Pacific tracks. Westbound, the train is routed over the Central Corridor for the trip through the Tunnel District. The line crosses the Continental Divide via the 6.2 mile-long Moffat Tunnel under James Peak. Leaving the Moffat Tunnel, the tracks then follow the Colorado River from Winter Park Resort to Ruby Canyon, west of Grand Junction, which is also where the train enters Utah.

Westbound Zephyr stopped in Glenwood Springs, Colorado

In Utah, the train follows the southern rim of the Book Cliffs to their end near Helper. The Zephyr crosses the Wasatch Mountains, cresting at Soldier Summit before descending into the Wasatch Front to arrive at Salt Lake City.

The westbound California Zephyr at Colfax

From Salt Lake City to Emeryville, the Zephyr route loosely follows Interstate 80, traveling along the south shore of the Great Salt Lake and across the Bonneville Salt Flats towards Nevada. After crossing into Nevada at Wendover, Utah/West Wendover, Nevada, the route passes the Toano Range, via Silver Zone Pass, across the Goshute Valley, tunnels under the Pequop Mountains and then skirts the northern edge of the Ruby Mountains.

The line first reaches the Humboldt River near Wells, which it loosely follows until the river's end in the Humboldt Sink near Lovelock. Here, the tracks cross the center of the Forty Mile Desert; on the other side of this desert valley is the Truckee River, which provides the line's path to Reno and up the Sierra Nevada in California.

In California, the tracks round Donner Lake, crest the Sierra Nevada at Donner Pass, and descend a high ridge between the American and Yuba Rivers, through Emigrant Gap. The line empties out into the California Central Valley, and then runs along the San Pablo Bay, with stops in Sacramento and Davis. It crosses the Benicia Bridge and has stops in Martinez and Richmond. The trip ends in Emeryville, a suburb of Oakland. From Emeryville the free Emery Go Round shuttle connects passengers to the BART train or a Thruway Motorcoach provides connecting service to San Francisco's Embarcadero.

Rail line subdivisions[edit]

From east to west the current route of the Zephyr uses the following rail subdivisions:

BNSF Railway
Union Pacific Central Corridor

Cities served[edit]

  • Illinois: Chicago, Naperville, Princeton, Galesburg
  • Iowa: Burlington, Mount Pleasant, Ottumwa, Osceola, Creston
  • Nebraska: Omaha, Lincoln, Hastings, Holdrege, McCook
  • Colorado: Fort Morgan, Denver, Fraser-Winter Park, Granby, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction
  • Utah: Green River, Helper, Provo, Salt Lake City
  • Nevada: Elko, Winnemucca, Reno
  • California: Truckee, Colfax, Roseville, Sacramento, Davis, Martinez, Richmond, Emeryville


Traffic by Fiscal Year (October–September)
Ridership Change over previous year Ticket Revenue Change over previous year
2007[17] 329,840 - ,719,619 -
2008[17] 352,563 Increase06.88% ,001,032 Increase09.18%
2009[17] 345,558 Decrease01.98% ,679,674 Decrease00.82%
2010[18] 377,876 Increase09.35% ,754,763 Increase013.12%
2011[18] 355,324 Decrease05.96% ,751,539 Increase02.27%
2012[19] 376,459 Increase05.94% ,605,728 Increase06.37%
2013[19] 376,932 Increase00.12% ,864,217 Increase04.74%
2014[20] 366,564 Decrease02.75% ,206,656 Decrease01.31%
2015[20] 375,342 Increase02.39% ,780,177 Decrease00.86%
2016[21] 417,322 Increase011.18% ,950,998 Increase06.5%
2017[22] 415,000 Decrease00.55% - -
2018[23] 418,203 Increase00.77% - -
2019[23] 410,844 Decrease01.75% - -
2020[24] 247,535 Decrease037.8% - -

The California Zephyr uses equipment typical for Amtrak's long-distance trains in the Western United States: a pair of GE P42DC locomotives, a Viewliner II baggage car, a Superliner transition sleeper, two or three Superliner sleeping cars, a Superliner dining car, a Superliner Sightseer lounge car, and two or three Superliner coach cars.

See also[edit]

  • iconTrains portal
  • CB&Q Denver Zephyr
  • Longest train journeys

  1. ^ "Amtrak Fiscal Year 2021 Ridership". Amtrak. September 30, 2021. Retrieved February 28, 2022.
  2. ^ "California Zephyr Route Guide" (PDF). Amtrak. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  3. ^ https://media.amtrak.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/FY19-Year-End-Ridership.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  4. ^ "Amtrak FY16 Ridership & Revenue Fact Sheet" (PDF). Amtrak. April 17, 2017. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Sanders, Craig (2006). Amtrak in the Heartland. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-34705-3.
  6. ^ "Scenic route to be taken by Amtrak". Eugene Register-Guard. March 17, 1983. Retrieved September 12, 2010.
  7. ^ "Last passenger trains rolling across Wyoming". Spokesman-Review. July 13, 1983. Retrieved September 12, 2010.
  8. ^ Nevada Road and Recreation Atlas (Map) (2003 ed.). 1:250000. Benchmark Maps. 2003. pp. 41–44. ISBN 0-929591-81-X.
  9. ^ Vurek, Matthew Gerald (2016). Images of Modern America: California’s Capitol Corridor. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 42, 43. ISBN 9781467124171.
  10. ^ "Service Adjustments Due to Coronavirus" (Press release). Amtrak. April 6, 2020. Archived from the original on April 6, 2020. Retrieved April 6, 2020.
  11. ^ "Amtrak Advisory | Amtrak to Operate on Modified Schedules". www.amtrak.com. Retrieved May 21, 2020.
  12. ^ Lewis, Shanna (October 9, 2020). "Coronavirus Service Cuts For Amtrak Trains Are Hurting The Local Economy And Traditions In Southern Colorado". KRCC. Retrieved October 11, 2020.
  13. ^ "With Increased Demand and Congressional Funding, Amtrak Restores 12 Long Distance Routes to Daily Service". Amtrak. March 10, 2021. Retrieved March 10, 2021.
  14. ^ "Amtrak to decrease service on most routes Jan. 24 to March 27". Trains. Retrieved January 26, 2022.
  15. ^ a b c "Amtrak Fiscal Year 2009, Oct. 2008-Sept. 2009" (PDF). Trains Magazine.
  16. ^ a b "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on November 8, 2012. Retrieved July 30, 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ a b "AMTRAK SETS RIDERSHIP RECORD AND MOVES THE NATION'S ECONOMY FORWARD" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 24, 2020.
  18. ^ a b "Amtrak FY15 Ridership & Revenue" (PDF).
  19. ^ "Amtrak FY16 Ridership & Revenue" (PDF). Amtrak. April 17, 2017.
  20. ^ "Amtrak FY17 Ridership" (PDF).
  21. ^ a b "Amtrak FY19 Ridership" (PDF).
  22. ^ Luczak, Marybeth (November 23, 2020). "Amtrak Releases FY 2020 Data". Railway Age. New York: Simmons-Boardman Publishing Inc. Retrieved February 18, 2020.

  1. ^ Amtrak's Fiscal Year (FY) runs from October 1st of the prior year to September 30th of the named year.

Route map:

Template:Attached KML/California Zephyr

KML is from Wikidata

  • California Zephyr – Amtrak
Amtrak Train Routes in California

Amtrak Trains in California. For Schedules and Deals, see amtrak.com. Shown is the Amtrak train called Pacific Surfliner, which goes between Los Angeles and San Diego with some stops at this public beach next to the pier in San Clemente, CA.


For Schedules and Deals, see amtrak.com

Shown is the Amtrak train called Pacific Surfliner, which goes between Los Angeles and San Diego with some stops at this public beach next to the pier in San Clemente, CA. We fondly call it the "beach train". 

The best way to approach taking Amtrak in California is to see if: 1. It goes to your destination, 2. It is cost effective or provides value, or  3. Has offers to places you would visit and explore.

Where does Amtrak go in California?
  • 90 destinations in California - Trains with connecting service to Amtrak Thruway buses reach more than 90 places, including all the hot travel destinations such as San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Sacramento etc.
  • Coast Starlight- West Coast daily service from the Bay Area to Seattle, Portland, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles.
  • California Zephyr - Departs from the Bay Area (Emeryville) daily for Reno, Salt Lake City, Denver, and Chicago.
  • Capitol Corridor - Up to 32 daily trains between Sacramento, the Bay Area, and San Jose. Direct connections to BART are available at the Richmond and Oakland Coliseum Stations. Stops: Auburn - Sacramento - Emeryville - Oakland - San Jose
  • San Joaquin - Multiple daily departures from Bay Area and Sacramento to Fresno and Bakersfield along with Amtrak Thruway connections (buses) to Los Angeles and numerous Southern California points.
  • Pacific Surfliner - 12 daily round-trip services between San Diego and Los Angeles, and between Santa Barbara and San Diego. Limited stop service on the Express Train runs Monday - Friday at 7:05 am from San Diego to Los Angeles

Except for a few cities such as San Francisco where over 90% of residents are within a few blocks of public transportation, the rest of California languishes, longing for similar options to let someone else do the driving. Tourists often go out of their way to find the public transport connections for California destinations simply because of the expenses of rental cars and hassles of driving. And with gas prices skyrocketing, more locals are exploring their public transportation options as well. Just this past week a class in Temecula advertised that it will teach people how to ride local buses. It takes a little brushing up to learn the "ins and outs" of riding a bus, trolley, ferry or train, but with a look on the Amtrak website and time on your hands, you can begin studying the routes and find out when and where it makes sense to ride the train instead of drive. Sacramento to Yosemite National Park, and Grover Beach to Anaheim, I can attest that the route is extremely popular and definitely worth considering in the the snowy winter months.


The Amtrak Thruway Bus system operates in conjunction with the three Amtrak (Capitol Corridor, San Joaquin, and Pacific Surfliner) train routes in California. A passenger must travel on a train segment in order to use the feeder bus system. Bus routes follow major highways between stations however the actual route taken is at the driver’s ...


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Get directions, reviews and information for Amtrak in Escalon, CA. Amtrak Escalon CA 95320. Website. Menu & Reservations Make Reservations . Order Online Tickets Tickets See Availability Directions {{::location.tagLine.value.text}} Sponsored Topics. Legal. Help ...


The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak (reporting marks AMTK, AMTZ), is a passenger railroad service that provides medium and long-distance inter-city rail service in the contiguous United States and to nine cities in Canada.. Founded in 1971 as a quasi-public corporation to operate many U.S. passenger rail routes, Amtrak receives a combination …

The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak (reporting marks AMTK, AMTZ), is a passenger railroad service that provides medium and long-distance inter-city rail service in the contiguous United States and to nine cities in Canada. Amtrak is a blend of the words America and trak, the latter itself a sensational spelling of track.[3]

Founded in 1971 as a quasi-public corporation to operate many U.S. passenger rail routes,[1][2][4] Amtrak receives a combination of state and federal subsidies but is managed as a for-profit organization.[3] The United States federal government through the Secretary of Transportation owns all the company's issued and outstanding preferred stock.[5] Amtrak's headquarters is located one block west of Union Station in Washington, D.C.[6]

Amtrak serves more than 500 destinations in 46 states and three Canadian provinces, operating more than 300 trains daily over 21,400 miles (34,000 km) of track. Amtrak owns approximately 623 miles (1,003 km) of this track and operates an additional 132 miles of track. Some track sections allow trains to run as fast as 150 mph (240 km/h).[3]

In fiscal year 2021, Amtrak served 12.2 million passengers[7] and had .08 billion in revenue, with more than 17,500 employees as of fiscal year 2020.[8] Nearly 87,000 passengers ride more than 300 Amtrak trains daily.[3] Nearly two-thirds of passengers come from the 10 largest metropolitan areas; 83% of passengers travel on routes shorter than 400 miles (645 km).[9]


Private passenger service[edit]

The Pennsylvania Railroad's Congressional in the 1960s

In 1916, 98% of all commercial intercity travelers in the United States moved by rail, and the remaining 2% moved by inland waterways.[10] Nearly 42 million passengers used railways as primary transportation.[11] Passenger trains were owned and operated by the same privately owned companies that operated freight trains.[12] As the 20th century progressed, patronage declined in the face of competition from buses, air travel, and the car. New streamlined diesel-powered trains such as the Pioneer Zephyr were popular with the traveling public but could not reverse the trend.[13] By 1940, railroads held 67 percent of commercial passenger-miles in the United States. In real terms, passenger-miles had fallen by 40% since 1916, from 42 billion to 25 billion.[11]

Traffic surged during World War II, which was aided by troop movement and gasoline rationing. The railroad's market share surged to 74% in 1945, with a massive 94 billion passenger-miles.[14] After the war, railroads rejuvenated their overworked and neglected passenger fleets with fast and luxurious streamliners.[15] These new trains brought only temporary relief to the overall decline.[16] Even as postwar travel exploded, passenger travel percentages of the overall market share fell to 46% by 1950, and then 32% by 1957.[11] The railroads had lost money on passenger service since the Great Depression, but deficits reached 3 million in 1957. For many railroads, these losses threatened financial viability.[17]

The causes of this decline were heavily debated. The National Highway System and airports, both funded by the government, competed directly with the railroads, which paid for their own infrastructure.[18]American car culture was also on the rise in the post-World War II years. Progressive Era rate regulation limited the railroad's ability to turn a profit.[19] Railroads also faced antiquated work rules and inflexible relationships with trade unions. To take one example, workers continued to receive a day's pay for 100-to-150-mile (160 to 240 km) workdays. Streamliners covered that in two hours.[20]

Matters approached a crisis in the 1960s. Passenger service route-miles fell from 107,000 miles (172,000 km) in 1958 to 49,000 miles (79,000 km) in 1970, the last full year of private operation.[21] The diversion of most United States Post Office Department mail from passenger trains to trucks, airplanes, and freight trains in late 1967 deprived those trains of badly needed revenue.[22] In direct response, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway filed to discontinue 33 of its remaining 39 trains, ending almost all passenger service on one of the largest railroads in the country.[23] The equipment the railroads had ordered after World War II was now 20 years old, worn out, and in need of replacement.[24]


As passenger service declined, various proposals were brought forward to rescue it. The 1961 Doyle Report proposed that the private railroads pool their services into a single body.[25] Similar proposals were made in 1965 and 1968 but failed to attract support. The federal government passed the High Speed Ground Transportation Act of 1965 to fund pilot programs in the Northeast Corridor, but this did nothing to address passenger deficits. In late 1969, multiple proposals emerged in the United States Congress, including equipment subsidies, route subsidies, and, lastly, a "quasi-public corporation" to take over the operation of intercity passenger trains. Matters were brought to a head on June 21, 1970, when the Penn Central, the largest railroad in the Northeast United States and teetering on bankruptcy, filed to discontinue 34 of its passenger trains.[26]

In October 1970, Congress passed, and President Richard Nixon signed into law, the Rail Passenger Service Act.[27] Proponents of the bill, led by the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP), sought government funding to ensure the continuation of passenger trains. They conceived the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (NRPC), a private entity that would receive taxpayer funding and assume operation of intercity passenger trains.[28] The original working brand name for NRPC was Railpax, but less than two weeks before operations began, the official marketing name was changed to Amtrak.[29][30][31] There were several key provisions:[32]

  • Any railroad operating intercity passenger service could contract with the NRPC, thereby joining the national system.
  • Participating railroads bought into the NRPC using a formula based on their recent intercity passenger losses. The purchase price could be satisfied either by cash or rolling stock; in exchange, the railroads received NRPC common stock.
  • Any participating railroad was freed of the obligation to operate intercity passenger service after May 1, 1971, except for those services chosen by the Department of Transportation (DOT) as part of a "basic system" of service and paid for by NRPC using its federal funds.
  • Railroads that chose not to join the NRPC system were required to continue operating their existing passenger service until 1975 and thenceforth had to pursue the customary ICC approval process for any discontinuance or alteration to the service.

Of the 26 railroads still offering intercity passenger service in 1970, only six declined to join Amtrak.[33] Nearly everyone involved expected the experiment to be short-lived. The Nixon administration and many Washington insiders viewed the NRPC as a politically expedient way for the President and Congress to give passenger trains a "last hurrah" as demanded by the public. They expected Amtrak to quietly disappear as public interest waned.[34] After Fortune magazine exposed the manufactured mismanagement in 1974, Louis W. Menk, chairman of the Burlington Northern Railroad, remarked that the story was undermining the scheme to dismantle Amtrak.[35] Proponents also hoped that government intervention would be brief and that Amtrak would soon be able to support itself. Neither view had proved to be correct; for popular support allowed Amtrak to continue in operation longer than critics imagined, while financial results made passenger train service returning to private railroad operations infeasible.[36][37]

1970s: The Rainbow Era[edit]

Amtrak began operations on May 1, 1971.[1][2][38] Amtrak received no rail tracks or rights-of-way at its inception. All Amtrak's routes were continuations of prior service, although Amtrak pruned about half the passenger rail network.[39] Of the 366 train routes that operated previously, Amtrak only continued 184.[40] On the routes that were continued (to the extent possible), schedules were retained with only minor changes from the Official Guide of the Railways and under the same names.[citation needed] Several major corridors became freight-only, including the ex-New York Central Railroad's Water Level Route from New York to Ohio and Grand Trunk Western Railroad's Chicago to Detroit route. The reduced passenger train schedules created confusion amongst staff. At some stations, Amtrak service was only available late at night or early in the morning, prompting complaints from passengers.[41] Disputes with freight railroads over track usage caused some services to be rerouted, temporarily cancelled, or substituted with buses.[42][43]

Amtrak inherited problems with train stations (most notably deferred maintenance) and redundant facilities that competed with companies serving the same areas. On the day it started, Amtrak was given the responsibility of rerouting passenger trains from the seven train terminals in Chicago (LaSalle, Dearborn, Grand Central, Randolph, Chicago Northwestern Terminal, Central, and Union) into just one, Union Station. In New York City, Amtrak had to pay and maintain both the Penn Station and the Grand Central Terminal due to the lack of track connections to bring trains from upstate New York into Penn Station; a problem that was rectified once the Empire Connection was built in 1991.[44] Amtrak had to abandon numerous large stations whose upkeep could no longer be justified.[citation needed] On the other hand, the creation of the Los Angeles–Seattle Coast Starlight from three formerly separate train routes was an immediate success, resulting in an increase to daily service by 1973.[45][46]

Needing to operate only half the train routes that were owned by the private railroads, Amtrak originally picked around 1,200 of the best passenger cars to lease from the 3,000 that the private railroads had owned. All were air-conditioned, and 90% were easy-to-maintain stainless steel.[47] When Amtrak took over, passenger cars and locomotives initially retained the paint schemes and logos of their former owners which resulted in Amtrak running trains with mismatched colors – the "Rainbow Era".[48] In mid-1971, Amtrak began purchasing some of the equipment it had leased, including 286 EMD E and F unit diesel locomotives, 30 GG1 electric locomotives and 1,290 passenger cars. By 1975, the official Amtrak color scheme was painted on most Amtrak equipment and newly purchased locomotives and the rolling stock began appearing.[49]

Amtrak soon had the opportunity to acquire rights-of-way. Following the bankruptcy of several northeastern railroads in the early 1970s, including Penn Central, which owned and operated the Northeast Corridor (NEC), Congress passed the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976.[50] A large part of the legislation was directed to the creation of Conrail, but the law also enabled the transfer of the portions of the NEC not already owned by state authorities to Amtrak. Amtrak acquired the majority of the NEC on April 1, 1976.[51] (The portion in Massachusetts is owned by the Commonwealth and managed by Amtrak. The route from New Haven to New Rochelle is owned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Connecticut Department of Transportation as the New Haven Line.)[52] This mainline became Amtrak's "jewel" asset, and helped the railroad generate revenue. While the NEC ridership and revenues were higher than any other segment of the system, the cost of operating and maintaining the corridor proved to be overwhelming. As a result, Amtrak's federal subsidy was increased dramatically. In subsequent years, other short route segments not needed for freight operations were transferred to Amtrak.[citation needed]

The Phase one logo next to the station's name, on top of the actual station
Amtrak's Phase 1 Arrow Logo at New Iberia Station

In its first decade, Amtrak fell far short of financial independence, which continues today, but it did find modest success rebuilding trade. Outside factors discouraged competing transport, such as fuel shortages which increased costs of automobile and airline travel, and strikes which disrupted airline operations. Investments in Amtrak's track, equipment and information also made Amtrak more relevant to America's transportation needs.[53][54] Amtrak's ridership increased from 16.6 million in 1972 to 21 million in 1981.[55]

1980s and 1990s[edit]

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (May 2015)

In 1982, former Secretary of the Navy and retired Southern Railway head William Graham Claytor Jr. came out of retirement to lead Amtrak.[56][page needed] Despite frequent clashes with the Reagan administration over funding, Claytor enjoyed a good relationship with John H. Riley, the head of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), and with members of Congress. Limited funding led Claytor to use short-term debt to fund operations.[57]

Building on mechanical developments in the 1970s, high-speed Washington–New York Metroliner Service was improved with new equipment and faster schedules. Travel time between New York and Washington, D.C. was reduced to under 3 hours.[58] According to the 1980 Amtrak Annual Report, a converted 12-car set saved the company approximately 0,000 a year in fuel, maintenance and yard support costs. Amtrak completed the head-end power conversion program in 1982. Demand for passenger rail service resulted in the creation of five new state-supported routes in California, Illinois, Missouri, Oregon and Pennsylvania, for a total of 15 state-supported routes across the nation.

Ridership stagnated at roughly 20 million passengers per year amid uncertain government aid from 1981 to about 2000.[55][59] Thomas Downs succeeded Claytor in 1993. Amtrak's stated goal remained "operational self-sufficiency". By this time, however, Amtrak had a large overhang of debt from years of underfunding, and in the mid-1990s, Amtrak suffered through a serious cash crunch. Under Downs, Congress included a provision in the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 that resulted in Amtrak receiving a .3 billion tax refund that resolved their cash crisis.[60] However, Congress also instituted a "glide-path" to financial self-sufficiency, excluding railroad retirement tax act payments.[61]

George Warrington became president in 1998 with a mandate to make Amtrak financially self-sufficient. Passengers became "guests" and there were expansions into express freight work, but the financial plans failed. Amtrak's inroads in express freight delivery created additional friction with competing freight operators, including the trucking industry. Delivery was delayed of much anticipated high-speed trainsets for the improved Acela Express service, which promised to be a strong source of income and favorable publicity along the Northeast Corridor between Boston and Washington, D.C.[citation needed]

Ridership increased during the first decade of the 21st century after the implementation of capital improvements in the NEC and rises in automobile fuel costs. The inauguration of the high-speed Acela Express in late 2000 generated considerable publicity and led to major ridership gains. However, through the late 1990s and very early 21st century, Amtrak could not add sufficient express freight revenue or cut sufficient other expenditures to break even. By 2002, it was clear that Amtrak could not achieve self-sufficiency, but Congress continued to authorize funding and released Amtrak from the requirement.[62] In early 2002, David L. Gunn replaced Warrington as president. In a departure from his predecessors' promises to make Amtrak self-sufficient in the short term, Gunn argued that no form of passenger transportation in the United States is self-sufficient as the economy is currently structured.[63] Highways, airports, and air traffic control all require large government expenditures to build and operate, coming from the Highway Trust Fund and Aviation Trust Fund paid for by user fees, highway fuel and road taxes, and, in the case of the General Fund, from general taxation.[64] Gunn dropped most freight express business and worked to eliminate deferred maintenance.[65]

A plan by the Bush administration "to privatize parts of the national passenger rail system and spin off other parts to partial state ownership" provoked disagreement within Amtrak's board of directors. Late in 2005, Gunn was fired.[66] Gunn's replacement, Alexander Kummant (2006–08), was committed to operating a national rail network, and, like Gunn, opposed the notion of putting the Northeast Corridor under separate ownership.[67] He said that shedding the system's long-distance routes would amount to selling national assets that are on par with national parks, and that Amtrak's abandonment of these routes would be irreversible. In late 2006, Amtrak unsuccessfully sought annual congressional funding of

 billion for ten years.[67] In early 2007, Amtrak employed 20,000 people in 46 states and served 25 million passengers a year, its highest amount since its founding in 1970. Politico noted a key problem: "the rail system chronically operates in the red. A pattern has emerged: Congress overrides cutbacks demanded by the White House and appropriates enough funds to keep Amtrak from plunging into insolvency. But, Amtrak advocates say, that is not enough to fix the system's woes."[68]

Joseph H. Boardman replaced Kummant as president and CEO in late 2008.[69]

In 2011, Amtrak announced its intention to improve and expand the high-speed rail corridor from Penn Station in NYC, under the Hudson River in new tunnels, and double-tracking the line to Newark, NJ, called the Gateway Program, initially estimated to cost .5 billion.[70][71][72]

From May 2011 to May 2012, Amtrak celebrated its 40th anniversary with festivities across the country that started on National Train Day (May 7, 2011). A commemorative book entitled Amtrak: An American Story was published, and a documentary was created. Six commemorative Heritage units and a 40th Anniversary Exhibit Train toured the country. The Exhibit Train visited 45 communities and welcomed more than 85,000 visitors.[73] It was an entirely rebuilt train powered by GE Genesis locomotives and included three refurbished ex-Santa Fe baggage cars and a food service car. Four Genesis locomotives were painted into retired Amtrak paint schemes: No. 156 was in Phase 1 colors, No. 66 was in Phase 2 colors, No. 145 and No. 822 were in Phase 3 colors (822 pulled the Exhibit train),[74] and No. 184 was in Phase 4 colors.[75][76] After years of almost revolving-door CEOs at Amtrak, in December 2013, Boardman was named "Railroader of the Year" by Railway Age magazine, which noted that with over five years in the job, he is the second-longest serving head of Amtrak since it was formed more than 40 years ago.[77] In 2014 Amtrak began offering a "residency" program for writers.[78]

On December 9, 2015, Boardman announced in a letter to employees that he would be leaving Amtrak in September 2016. He had advised the Amtrak Board of Directors of his decision the previous week. On August 19, 2016, the Amtrak Board of Directors named former Norfolk Southern Railway President & CEO Charles "Wick" Moorman as Boardman's successor with an effective date of September 1, 2016.[79] During his term, Moorman took no salary[80] and said that he saw his role as one of a "transitional CEO" who would reorganize Amtrak before turning it over to new leadership.[81]

On November 17, 2016, the Gateway Program Development Corporation (GDC) was formed for the purpose of overseeing and effectuating the rail infrastructure improvements known as the Gateway Program.[82] GDC is a partnership of the States of New York and New Jersey and Amtrak. The Gateway Program includes the Hudson Tunnel Project, to build a new tunnel under the Hudson River and rehabilitate the existing century-old tunnel, and the Portal North Bridge, to replace a century-old moveable bridge with a modern structure that is less prone to failure. Later projects of the Gateway Program, including the expansion of track and platforms at Penn Station New York, construction of the Bergen Loop and other improvements will roughly double capacity for Amtrak and NJ Transit trains in the busiest, most complex section of the Northeast Corridor.[82]

In June 2017, it was announced that former Delta and Northwest Airlines CEO Richard Anderson would become Amtrak's next President & CEO.[81] Anderson began the job on July 12, assuming the title of President immediately and serving alongside Moorman as "co-CEOs" until the end of the year. On April 15, 2020, Atlas Air Chairman, President and CEO William Flynn was named Amtrak President and CEO. In addition to Atlas Air, Flynn has held senior roles at CSX Transportation, SeaLand Services and GeoLogistics Corp. Anderson would remain with Amtrak as a senior advisor until December 2020.[83]

As Amtrak approached profitability in 2020, the company undertook planning to expand and create new intermediate-distance corridors across the country. Included were several new services in Ohio, Tennessee, Colorado, and Minnesota, among other states.[84][85]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Amtrak continued operating as an essential service. It started requiring face coverings the week of May 17, and limited sales to 50% of capacity.[86] Most long-distance routes were reduced to three weekly round trips in October 2020.[87][88]

In March 2021, following President Joe Biden's American Jobs Plan announcement, Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn outlined a proposal called Amtrak Connects US that would expand state-supported intercity corridors with an infusion of upfront capital assistance.[89][90] This would expand service to cities including Las Vegas, Phoenix, Baton Rouge, Nashville, Chattanooga, Louisville, Columbus (Ohio), Wilmington (North Carolina), Cheyenne, Montgomery, Concord, and Scranton.[91] Also in March 2021, Amtrak announced plans to return 12 of its long-distance routes to daily schedules later in the spring.[92] Most of these routes were restored to daily service in late-May 2021.[93]



Amtrak is required by law to operate a national route system.[94] Amtrak has presence in 46 of the 48 contiguous states (with only thruway connecting services in Wyoming and no services in South Dakota). Amtrak services fall into three groups: short-haul service on the Northeast Corridor, state-supported short-haul service outside the Northeast Corridor, and medium- and long-haul service known within Amtrak as the National Network. Amtrak receives federal funding for the vast majority of its operations including the central spine of the Northeast Corridor as well as for its National Network routes. In addition to the federally funded routes, Amtrak partners with transportation agencies in 18 states to operate other short and medium-haul routes outside of the Northeast Corridor, some of which connect to it or are extensions from it. In addition to its inter-city services, Amtrak also operates commuter services for three state agencies: MARC in Maryland, Shore Line East in Connecticut, and Metrolink in California.

Service on the Northeast Corridor (NEC), between Boston, and Washington, D.C., as well as between Philadelphia and Harrisburg, is powered by overhead electric wires (also known as an overhead catenary); for the rest of the system, diesel locomotives are used. Routes vary widely in the frequency of service, from three-days-a-week trains on the Sunset Limited to weekday service several times per hour on the Northeast Corridor.[95] Amtrak also operates a captive bus service, Thruway Motorcoach, which provides connections to train routes.[96]

The most popular and heavily used services are those running on the NEC, including the Acela Express and Northeast Regional. The NEC runs from Boston to Washington, D.C., via New York City and Philadelphia. Some services continue into Virginia. The NEC services accounted for 4.4 million of Amtrak's 12.2 million passengers in fiscal year 2021.[7] Outside the NEC the most popular services are the short-haul corridors in California. These include the Pacific Surfliner, Capitol Corridor, and San Joaquin, supplemented by an extensive network of connecting buses. Together the California corridor trains accounted for a combined 2.35 million passengers in fiscal year 2021.[7] Other popular routes include the Empire Service, which consists of trackage between New York City and Niagara Falls, New York, via Albany and Buffalo, New York, and carried 613.2 thousand passengers in fiscal year 2021, and the Keystone Service from New York City to Harrisburg via Philadelphia that carried 394.3 thousand passengers that same year.[7]

Four of the six busiest stations by boardings are on the NEC: New York (Penn Station) (first), Washington (Union Station) (second), Philadelphia (30th Street Station) (third), and Boston (South Station) (fifth). The other two are Chicago (Union Station) (fourth) and Los Angeles (Union Station) (sixth).[3]


Per passenger mile, Amtrak is 30–40 percent more energy-efficient than commercial airlines and automobiles overall,[97] though the exact figures for particular routes depend on load factor along with other variables. The electrified trains in the NEC are considerably more efficient than Amtrak's diesels and can feed energy captured from regenerative braking back to the electrical grid. Passenger rail is also very competitive with other modes in terms of safety per mile.

Mode Revenue per
passenger mile[98]
Energy consumption
per passenger mile[97]
Deaths per 100
million passenger miles (2018)[99]
Domestic airlines 13.0¢ 2,931 BTU/mi (1,922 kJ/km) < 0.001 81.9%
Transit buses 12.9¢[101] 2,656 BTU/mi (1,741 kJ/km) 0.03 N/A
Amtrak 30.7¢ 1,745 BTU/mi (1,144 kJ/km) 0.03 83%
Automobiles N/A 3,501 BTU/mi (2,295 kJ/km) 0.47 N/A

On-time performance is calculated differently for airlines than for Amtrak. A plane is considered on-time if it arrives within 15 minutes of the schedule. Amtrak uses a sliding scale, with trips under 250 miles (400 km) considered late if they are more than 10 minutes behind schedule, up to 30 minutes for trips over 551 miles (887 km) in length.[100]

In 2005, Amtrak's carbon dioxide equivalent emissions were 0.411 lbs/mi (0.116 kg per km).[102] For comparison, this is similar to a car with two people,[103] about twice as high as the UK rail average (where more of the system is electrified),[104] about four times the average US motorcoach,[105] and about eight times a Finnish electric intercity train or fully loaded fifty-seat coach.[106][107] It is, however, about two thirds of the raw CO2-equivalent emissions of a long-distance domestic flight.[108]

Intermodal connections[edit]

Intermodal connections between Amtrak trains and other transportation are available at many stations. Most Amtrak rail stations in downtown areas have connections to local public transport. Amtrak also code shares with United Airlines, providing service between Newark Liberty International Airport (via its Amtrak station and AirTrain Newark) and Philadelphia 30th St, Wilmington, Stamford, and New Haven. Special codes are used to designate these intermodal routes, such as "ZVE" to designate the combination of New Haven's Union Station and Newark International Airport and the Amtrak connection between them. Amtrak also serves airport stations at Milwaukee, Oakland, Burbank, and Baltimore.[citation needed]

Amtrak coordinates Thruway Motorcoach service to extend many of its routes, especially on the west coast.[109][110][111]

On-time performance[edit]

Outside the Northeast Corridor and stretches of track in Southern California and Michigan, most Amtrak trains run on tracks owned and operated by privately owned freight railroads. BNSF is the largest host to Amtrak routes, with 6.3 million miles.[8] Freight rail operators are required under federal law to give dispatching preference to Amtrak trains. Some freight railroads have been accused of violating or skirting these regulations, allegedly resulting in passenger trains waiting in sidings for an hour or longer while waiting for freight traffic to clear the track. The railroads' dispatching practices were investigated in 2008,[112] resulting in stricter laws about train priority. Subsequently, Amtrak's overall on-time performance went up from 74.7% in fiscal 2008 to 84.7% in 2009, with long-distance trains and others outside the NEC seeing the greatest benefit. The Missouri River Runner jumped from 11% to 95%, becoming one of Amtrak's best performers. The Texas Eagle went from 22.4% to 96.7%, and the California Zephyr, with a 5% on-time record in 2008, went up to 78.3%.[113] This improved performance coincided with a general economic downturn, resulting in the lowest freight-rail traffic volumes since at least 1988, meaning less freight traffic to impede passenger traffic.[114] In 2018, Amtrak began issuing report cards, grading each host railroad based on the railroad's impact on on-time performance. The first report card, issued in March 2018, includes one A (given to Canadian Pacific) and two Fs (given to CN and Norfolk Southern).[115][116] Amtrak's 2020 host report card gives Canadian Pacific and BNSF both an A, Canadian National and CSX a B , Union Pacific a B-, and Norfolk Southern a C.[117]


Annual ridership by fiscal year 1971–2020

Amtrak carried 15,848,327 passengers in 1972, its first full year of operation.[118] Ridership has increased steadily ever since, carrying a record 32.0 million passengers in fiscal year 2019, more than double the total in 1972. For the fiscal year ending on September 30, 2020, Amtrak reported 16.8 million passengers, with the decline resulting from effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.[119][120] Fiscal year 2021 saw ridership decrease more, with 12.2 million passengers reported.[7]

Guest Rewards[edit]

Amtrak's loyalty program, Guest Rewards,[121] is similar to the frequent-flyer programs of many airlines. Guest Rewards members accumulate points by riding Amtrak and through other activities, and can redeem these points for free Amtrak tickets and other rewards.[121]

Commuter services[edit]

Through various commuter services, Amtrak serves an additional 61.1 million passengers per year in conjunction with state and regional authorities in California (through Amtrak California and Metrolink), Connecticut (through Shore Line East), and Maryland (through MARC).[citation needed] Sometimes, Amtrak will share trackage rights with independent commuter services. Examples include California (through Caltrain), and Illinois (through Metra).[citation needed]


An electric Amtrak train led by an ACS-64 locomotive running through Maryland on the Northeast Corridor

Along the NEC and in several other areas, Amtrak owns 730 miles (1,170 km) including 17 tunnels consisting of 29.7 miles (47.8 km) of track, and 1,186 bridges (including the famous Hell Gate Bridge) consisting of 42.5 miles (68.4 km) of track. In several places, primarily in New England, Amtrak leases tracks, providing track maintenance and controlling train movements. Most often, these tracks are leased from state, regional, or local governments. Amtrak owns and operates the following lines:[122]

  • Northeast Corridor: the Northeast Corridor between Washington, D.C., and Boston via Baltimore, Philadelphia, Newark, New York and Providence is largely owned by Amtrak (363 of 457 miles),[3] working cooperatively with several state and regional commuter agencies.[123][124] Between New Haven, Connecticut, and New Rochelle, New York, Northeast Corridor trains travel on the Metro-North Railroad's New Haven Line, which is owned and operated by the Connecticut Department of Transportation and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
  • Keystone Corridor: Amtrak owns the 104.2-mile line from Philadelphia to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.[3] As a result of an investment partnership with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, signal and track improvements were completed in October 2006 that allow all-electric service with a top speed of 110 miles per hour (180 km/h) to run along the corridor.
  • Empire Corridor: Amtrak owns the 11 miles (18 km) between New York Penn Station and Spuyten Duyvil, New York. In 2012, Amtrak leased the 94 miles (151 km) between Poughkeepsie, New York, and Schenectady, New York, from owner CSX.[125] In addition, Amtrak owns the tracks across the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge and short approach sections near it.[126]
  • Michigan Line: Amtrak acquired the west end of the former Michigan Central main line of 98 miles from Conrail in 1976.
  • New Haven–Springfield Line: Amtrak owns the 62 miles (100 km) between New Haven and Springfield.
  • Post Road Branch: 12.42 miles (19.99 km), Castleton-on-Hudson to Rensselaer, New York

In addition to these lines, Amtrak owns station and yard tracks in Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, Oakland (Kirkham Street Yard),[127]Orlando, Portland, Oregon, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. Amtrak leases station and yard tracks in Hialeah, near Miami, Florida, from the State of Florida.[citation needed]

Amtrak owns New York Penn Station, Philadelphia 30th Street Station, Baltimore Penn Station and Providence Station. It also owns Chicago Union Station through a wholly owned subsidiary, the Chicago Union Station Company. Through the Washington Terminal Company, in which it owns a 99.7 percent interest, it owns the rail infrastructure around Washington Union Station. It holds a 99% interest in 30th Street Limited, a partnership responsible for redeveloping the area in and around 30th Street Station.[128] Amtrak also owns Passenger Railroad Insurance.[129]

Rolling stock[edit]

Amtrak owns 2,142 railway cars and 425 locomotives for revenue runs and service. Examples include the GE P42DC diesel locomotive, the Siemens Charger, the Siemens ACS-64 electric locomotive, the Amfleet car, and the Superliner car. Occasionally, private cars or loaned locomotives from other railroads can be found on Amtrak trains. In July 2021, Forbes reported that Amtrak would spend 7.3 billion to acquire new trains and other mobility operations from Siemens. Amtrak's CEO stated “These new trains will reshape the future of rail travel by replacing our aging 40- to 50-year-old fleet with state-of-the-art, American-made equipment...This investment is essential to preserving and growing our Northeast Regional and state-supported services and will allow our customers to travel comfortably and safely, while reducing carbon emissions.”[130]

On-board services[edit]

Classes of service[edit]

The interior of a Viewliner sleeping car bedroom with the lower bed down
The interior of a long-distance Amfleet II coach

As of 2015[update] Amtrak offers four classes of service: First Class, Sleeper Service, Business Class, and Coach Class:[131]

  • First Class: First Class service is only offered on the Acela Express. Seats are larger than those of Business Class and come in a variety of seating styles (single, facing singles with table, double, facing doubles with table and wheelchair accessible). First Class is located in a separate car from business class and is located at the end of the train (to reduce the number of passengers walking in the aisles). A car attendant provides passengers with hot towel service, a complimentary meal and alcoholic beverages. First Class passengers have access to ClubAcela lounges located at select stations.[132]
  • Sleeper Service: Sleeper Service comprises private room accommodations on long-distance trains. Rooms are classified into roomettes, bedrooms, bedroom suites, accessible bedrooms, and, on some trains, family bedrooms. Included in the price of a room are attendant service and on most routes, full hot meals. At night, attendants convert rooms into sleeping areas with fold-down beds and linens. Shower facilities with towels and bar soap are available. Complimentary juice, coffee and bottled water are included as well. Sleeper car passengers have access to all passenger facilities aboard the train. Sleeper passengers have access to ClubAcela lounges, Metropolitan Lounges, and unattended First Class Lounges located at select stations.[133]
  • Business Class: Business Class seating is offered on the Acela Express, Northeast Regional, many short-haul corridor trains and some long-distance trains. It is the standard class of service on the Acela Express. On all other trains where it is offered, Business Class is located in a dedicated car or section of the train. While the specific features vary by route, many include extra legroom and complimentary non-alcoholic drinks. Seats in business class recline, are typically appointed in leather and feature a fold-down tray table, foot rest, individual reading light, and power outlet. Business Class passengers have access to Metropolitan Lounges located at select stations and may purchase a daily access pass to select ClubAcela locations.[134]
  • Coach Class: Coach Class is the standard class of service on all Amtrak trains except the Acela Express. Seats in coach recline and feature a fold-down tray table, foot rest, individual reading light, and power outlet. Coach cars on long-distance trains are configured with fewer seats per car so that passengers have additional legroom and seats which are equipped with leg rests.[135]

Wi-Fi and electronic services[edit]

Amtrak launched an e-ticketing system on the Downeaster in November 2011[136] and rolled it out nationwide on July 30, 2012. Amtrak officials said the system gives "more accurate knowledge in realtime of who is on the train which greatly improves the safety and security of passengers; en route reporting of onboard equipment problems to mechanical crews which may result in faster resolution of the issue; and more efficient financial reporting".[137]

Amtrak first offered free Wi-Fi service to passengers aboard the Downeaster in 2008, the Acela Express and the Northeast Regional trains on the NEC in 2010, and the Amtrak Cascades in 2011. In February 2014, Amtrak rolled out Wi-Fi on corridor trains out of Chicago. When all the Midwest cars offer the AmtrakConnect service, about 85% of all Amtrak passengers nationwide will have Wi-Fi access.[138][139] As of 2014[update], most Amtrak passengers have access to free Wi-Fi. The service has developed a reputation for being unreliable and slow due to its cellular network connection;[140][141] on some routes it is usually unusable, either freezing on the login page or, if it manages to log in, failing to provide any internet bandwidth.

Baggage and cargo services[edit]

A Viewliner II baggage car at New London in 2016

Amtrak allows carry-on baggage on all routes; services with baggage cars allow checked baggage at selected stations.[142][143] With the passage of the Wicker Amendment in 2010 passengers are allowed to put lawfully owned, unloaded firearms in checked Amtrak baggage, reversing a decade-long ban on such carriage.[144]

The Amtrak Express cargo service provides small-package and less-than-truckload shipping between most Amtrak stations that handle checked baggage (over 100 cities). Cargo travels alongside checked luggage in baggage cars. Service and hours vary by station, limited by available equipment and staffing. Nearly all stations with checked baggage service can handle small packages, while large stations with forklifts can handle palletized shipments. Amtrak Express also offers station-to-station shipment of human remains to many cities.

William Graham Claytor Jr, president 1982–93

In the modern era, Amtrak faces a number of important labor issues. In the area of pension funding, because of limitations originally imposed by Congress, most Amtrak workers were traditionally classified as "railroad employees" and contributions to the Railroad Retirement system have been made for those employees. However, because the size of the contributions is determined on an industry-wide basis rather than with reference to the employer for whom the employees work, some critics, such as the National Association of Railroad Passengers, maintain that Amtrak is subsidizing freight railroad pensions by as much as US0 million/year.[170]

In recent times, efforts at reforming passenger rail have addressed labor issues. In 1997 Congress released Amtrak from a prohibition on contracting for labor outside the corporation (and outside its unions), opening the door to privatization.[171] Since that time, many of Amtrak's employees have been working without a contract. The most recent contract, signed in 1999, was mainly retroactive.

Because of the fragmentation of railroad unions by job, as of 2009[update] Amtrak has 14 separate unions to negotiate with. Plus, it has 24 separate contracts with those unions.[172] This makes it difficult to make substantial changes, in contrast to a situation where one union negotiates with one employer. Former Amtrak president Kummant followed a cooperative posture with Amtrak's trade unions, ruling out plans to privatize large parts of Amtrak's unionized workforce.[173]

Public funding[edit]

Amtrak receives annual appropriations from federal and state governments to supplement operating and capital programs.

Total federal grant appropriations per year (billions)
FY 2009 FY 2010 FY 2011 FY 2012 FY 2013[174] FY 2014 FY 2015[175]








Funding history[edit]

1970s to 1990s[edit]

Amtrak commenced operations in 1971 with  million in direct federal aid, 0 million in federally insured loans, and a somewhat larger private contribution.[176] Officials expected that Amtrak would break even by 1974, but those expectations proved unrealistic and annual direct federal aid reached a 17-year high in 1981 of

.25 billion.[177] During the Reagan administration, appropriations were halved and by 1986, federal support fell to a decade low of 1 million, almost none of which were capital appropriations.[178] In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Congress continued the reductionist trend even while Amtrak expenses held steady or rose. Amtrak was forced to borrow to meet short-term operating needs, and by 1995 Amtrak was on the brink of a cash crisis and was unable to continue to service its debts.[179] In response, in 1997 Congress authorized .2 billion for Amtrak over the next five years – largely to complete the Acela capital project – on the condition that Amtrak submit to the ultimatum of self-sufficiency by 2003 or liquidation.[180] While Amtrak made financial improvements during this period,[citation needed] it did not achieve self-sufficiency.[181]


In 2004, a stalemate in federal support of Amtrak forced cutbacks in services and routes as well as the resumption of deferred maintenance. In fiscal 2004 and 2005, Congress appropriated about

.2 billion for Amtrak, 0 million more than President George W. Bush had requested. However, the company's board requested

.8 billion through fiscal 2006, the majority of which (about

.3 billion) would be used to bring infrastructure, rolling stock, and motive power back to a state of good repair. In Congressional testimony, the DOT Inspector General confirmed that Amtrak would need at least

.4 billion to

.5 billion in fiscal 2006 and  billion in fiscal 2007 just to maintain the status quo. In 2006, Amtrak received just under

.4 billion, with the condition that Amtrak would reduce (but not eliminate) food and sleeper service losses. Thus, dining service was simplified and now requires two fewer on-board service workers. Only Auto Train and Empire Builder services continue regular made-on-board meal service. In 2010 the Senate approved a bill to provide

.96 billion to Amtrak, but cut the approval for high-speed rail to a

 billion appropriation.[181]

State governments have partially filled the breach left by reductions in federal aid. Several states have entered into operating partnerships with Amtrak, notably California, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan, Oregon, Missouri, Washington, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, Wisconsin, Vermont, Maine, and New York, as well as the Canadian province of British Columbia, which provides some of the resources for the operation of the Cascades route.

With the dramatic rise in gasoline prices during 2007–08, Amtrak saw record ridership.[182] Capping a steady five-year increase in ridership overall, regional lines saw 12% year-over-year growth in May 2008.[183] In October 2007, the Senate passed S-294, Passenger Rail Improvement and Investment Act of 2007 (70–22) sponsored by Senators Frank Lautenberg and Trent Lott. Despite a veto threat by President Bush, a similar bill passed the House on June 11, 2008, with a veto-proof margin (311–104).[184] The final bill, spurred on by the September 12 Metrolink collision in California and retitled Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008, was signed into law by President Bush on October 16, 2008. The bill appropriates .6 billion a year in Amtrak funding through 2013.[185]


Amtrak points out that in 2010, its farebox recovery (percentage of operating costs covered by revenues generated by passenger fares) was 79%, the highest reported for any U.S. passenger railroad.[186] This increased to 94.9% in 2018.[3]

Amtrak has argued that it needs to increase capital program costs in 2013 in order to replace old train equipment because the multi-year maintenance costs for those trains exceed what it would cost to simply buy new equipment that would not need to be repaired for several years. However, despite an initial request for more than .1 billion in funding for the year, the company had to deal with a year-over-year cut in 2013 federal appropriations, dropping to under

.4 billion for the first time in several years.[174] Amtrak stated in 2010 that the backlog of needed repairs of the track it owns on the Northeast Corridor included over 200 bridges, most dating to the 19th century, tunnels under Baltimore dating to the American Civil War era and functionally obsolete track switches which would cost .2 billion to repair (more than triple Amtrak's total annual budget).[174] Amtrak's budget is only allocated on a yearly basis, and it has been argued by Joseph Vranich that this makes multi-year development programs and long-term fiscal planning difficult if not impossible.[187][page needed]

In Fiscal Year 2011, the U.S. Congress granted Amtrak 3 million for operating and 2 million for capital programs.[188]


Government aid to Amtrak was controversial from the beginning. The formation of Amtrak in 1971 was criticized as a bailout serving corporate rail interests and union railroaders, not the traveling public. Critics have asserted that Amtrak has proven incapable of operating as a business and that it does not provide valuable transportation services meriting public support,[187][page needed] a "mobile money-burning machine".[189] Many fiscal conservatives have argued that subsidies should be ended, national rail service terminated, and the NEC turned over to private interests. "To fund a Nostalgia Limited is not in the public interest."[190] Critics also question Amtrak's energy efficiency,[191][192] though the U.S. Department of Energy considers Amtrak among the most energy-efficient forms of transportation.[193]

The Rail Passenger Service Act of 1970, which established Amtrak, specifically states that, "The Corporation will not be an agency or establishment of the United States Government".[194] Then common stock was issued in 1971 to railroads that contributed capital and equipment; these shares convey almost no benefits,[195] but their holders[196] declined a 2002 buy-out offer by Amtrak. There are currently 109,396,994 shares of preferred stock, at a par value of 0 per share, all held by the US government. There are 9,385,694 shares of common stock, with a par value of per share, held by four other railroad companies: APU (formerly Penn Central) 53%, BNSF (35%), Canadian Pacific (7%), and Canadian National (5%).[197]


Aerial view of the 1987 Maryland train collision

The following are major accidents and incidents that involved Amtrak trains:

Event Train Date Location Description Deaths Injuries
1971 Salem, Illinois, derailment City of New Orleans June 10, 1971 Salem, Illinois The City of New Orleans derailed due to a broken locomotive axle. 11 163
1979 Harvey train crash Shawnee October 12, 1979 Harvey, Illinois The Shawnee collided with a stationary Illinois Central Gulf freight train due to misaligned switches changed by a switchman shortly before the train passed them. 2 38
1987 Maryland train collision Colonial January 4, 1987 Chase, Maryland The Colonial collided with three Conrail locomotives which had overrun signals. 16 164
1990 Back Bay, Massachusetts train collision Night Owl December 12, 1990 Back Bay, Boston, Massachusetts The Night Owl derailed due to excessive speed on a curve and collided with a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority commuter train on an adjacent track. 0 453
1993 Big Bayou Canot rail accident Sunset Limited September 22, 1993 Mobile, Alabama The Sunset Limited derailed on a bridge which had been damaged by a barge. 47 103
1995 Palo Verde, Arizona derailment Sunset Limited October 9, 1995 Palo Verde, Arizona The Sunset Limited derailed because of track sabotage. 1 78
1996 Maryland train collision Capitol Limited February 16, 1996 Silver Spring, Maryland The Capitol Limited collided with a Maryland Area Regional Commuter train which had overrun signals. 11 26
1999 Bourbonnais, Illinois, train crash City of New Orleans March 15, 1999 Bourbonnais, Illinois The City of New Orleans collided with a semi-truck hauling steel that was trying to beat the train across a grade crossing. Eleven of the train's fourteen passenger cars derailed, hitting freight cars on an adjacent track. 13 122
2015 Philadelphia train derailment Northeast Regional May 12, 2015 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania A Northeast Regional derailed due to excessive speed on a curve. 8 200
2017 Washington train derailment Cascades December 18, 2017 DuPont, Washington A Cascades train derailed due to excessive speed on a curve. 3 62
2018 Cayce, South Carolina train collision Silver Star February 4, 2018 Cayce, South Carolina The Silver Star collided head-on into a parked CSX freight train, due to a track switch being improperly set by the conductor of the CSX train. 2 116
2021 Montana train derailment Empire Builder September 25, 2021 Joplin, Montana The westbound Empire Builder derailed at the control point East Buelow, with 146 passengers and 16 crew members onboard. 3 50

After settling for  million in the 2017 Washington state train crash, to prevent further lawsuits, the board adopted a new policy requiring arbitration.[198]

See also[edit]

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  176. ^ Don, Phillips (1972). "Railpax Rescue". In Edmonson, Harold A. (ed.). Journey to Amtrak; The year history rode the passenger train. Milwaukee, WI: Kalmbach Pub. Co. pp. 8–11.
  177. ^ 9 million of the 1981 aid package was for operations. The remainder was capital appropriations. Vranich 1997, p. 37
  178. ^ National Railroad Passenger Corp. Statistical Appendix to Amtrak FY1995 Annual Report, 1995 Annual Report, p.1.
  179. ^ National Railroad Passenger Corp. 1999 Annual Report, p.41.
  180. ^ Amtrak Reform and Accountability Act of 1997. 105th Cong. (January 7, 1997). Congressional Budget Office. S. 738 Amtrak Reform and Accountability Act (July 22, 1997), in 104th Cong. Senate Report 105-85 (September 24, 1997).
  181. ^ a b "Senate committee ups Amtrak appropriation, cuts high-speed rail funding". Progressive Railroading. July 23, 2010. Retrieved December 29, 2010.
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  187. ^ a b Vranich 2004
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  189. ^ Wicker, Tom. In the Nation; Young David's Tantrum. The New York Times, p.A31 (May 3, 1985)
  190. ^ Frailey, Fred W. Can Amtrak Survive the Budget Cutters?, U.S. News & World Report, p.52 (April 13, 1981).
  191. ^ Congress Should Link Amtrak's Generous Subsidy to Improved Performance Archived October 13, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Ronald D. Utt PhD, Heritage.org September 20, 2007
  192. ^ EST, George F. Will On 2/27/11 at 10:00 AM (February 27, 2011). "Will: Why Liberals Love Trains". Newsweek. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
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  194. ^ 91st Congress of the United States of America. "Rail Passenger Service Act of 1970: Section 301: Creation of the Corporation". United States Government. Retrieved July 30, 2012.
  195. ^ "The Past and Future of U.S. Passenger Rail Service (sec. 4 n.21)". Congressional Budget Office. September 2003. Archived from the original on November 13, 2008. Retrieved November 14, 2008.
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  197. ^ Vranich, Joseph; Chapman, Cornelius & Hudgins, Edward L. (February 8, 2002). "A Plan to Liquidate Amtrak" (PDF). Cato Institute.
  198. ^ "Passengers can no longer sue Amtrak after company loses millions in deadly derailment lawsuits". KING5. November 16, 2019. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  • Carper, Robert S. (1968). American Railroads in Transition; The Passing of the Steam Locomotives. A. S. Barnes. ISBN 978-0-498-06678-8.
  • Edmonson, Harold A. (2000). Journey to Amtrak: The year history rode the passenger train. Kalmbach Books. ISBN 978-0-89024-023-6.
  • Glischinski, Steve (1997). Santa Fe Railway. Osceola, Wisconsin: Motorbooks International. ISBN 978-0-7603-0380-1.
  • Government Accountability Office (October 2005). "Amtrak Management: Systemic Problems Require Actions to Improve Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Accountability" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on November 25, 2005. Retrieved November 23, 2005.
  • Hosmer, Howard; et al. (1958). Railroad Passenger Train Deficit (Report). Interstate Commerce Commission. 31954.
  • McCommons, James (2009). Waiting on a Train: The Embattled Future of Passenger Rail Service. White River Junction, Vermont: Chelsea Green. ISBN 978-1-60358-064-9.
  • McKinney, Kevin (June 1991). "At the dawn of Amtrak". Trains.
  • Office of Inspector General for the Department of Transportation (July 10, 2012). "Analysis of the Causes of AMTRAK Train Delays" (PDF). United States Department of Transportation. OCLC 862979061.
  • Peterman, David Randall (September 28, 2017). Amtrak: Overview (PDF). Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Service.
  • Sanders, Craig (2006). Amtrak in the Heartland. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-34705-3.
  • Saunders, Richard (2001) [1978]. Merging Lines: American Railroads 1900–1970 (Revised ed.). DeKalb, Illinois: Northern Illinois University Press. ISBN 978-0-87580-265-7.
  • Saunders, Richard (2003). Main Lines: Rebirth of the North American Railroads, 1970–2002. DeKalb, Illinois: Northern Illinois University Press. ISBN 0-87580-316-4.
  • Schafer, Mike; Welsh, Joe; Holland, Kevin J. (2001). The American Passenger Train. Saint Paul, MN: MBI. ISBN 0-7603-0896-9.
  • Schafer, Mike (June 1991). "Amtrak's Atlas: 1971–1991". Trains.
  • Solomon, Brian (2004). Amtrak. Saint Paul, Minnesota: MBI. ISBN 978-0-7603-1765-5.
  • Stover, John F. (1997). American Railroads (2nd ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-77657-3.
  • Thoms, William E. (1973). Reprieve for the Iron Horse: The AMTRAK Experiment–Its Predecessors and Prospects. Baton Rouge, LA: Claitor's Publishing Division. OCLC 1094744.
  • Vranich, Joseph (1997). Derailed: What Went Wrong and What to Do about America's Passenger Trains. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-3121-7182-X.
  • Vranich, Joseph (2004). End of the Line: The Failure of Amtrak Reform and the Future of America's Passenger Trains. Washington, D.C.: AEI Press. ISBN 0-8447-4203-1.
  • Wilner, Frank N. (1994). The Amtrak Story. Omaha, NE: Simmons-Boardman. ISBN 0-9113-8216-X.
  • Zimmermann, Karl R. (1981). Amtrak at Milepost 10. PTJ Publishing. ISBN 0-937658-06-5.

USAStoreNetwork.com has details about the top-rated train stops near Placentia, CA, including Amtrak driving directions and locations. Research bus routes, train ticket prices, and more. Amtrak Listings. Amtrak - Anaheim (ANA) 2150 East Katella Avenue Anaheim Stadium Parking Lot, Anaheim, CA 92806.


California Zephyr One of the most beautiful train trips. Named by many as one of the most beautiful train trips in all of North America, California Zephyr takes you from the beautiful city of Chicago to the City by the Bay, San Francisco over three days.


There are also several "stations" (many of which are not actually train stations at all) which only operate in conjunction with regular special events (such "stations"/events include the Lexington Barbecue Festival, the New York State Fair, and the North Carolina State Fair) and others that are unique to a specific event (for example, the Secaucus Junction station which only was an …

This is a list of train stations and Thruway Motorcoach stops used by Amtrak (the National Railroad Passenger Corporation in the United States). This list is in alphabetical order by station or stop name, which mostly corresponds to the city in which it is located. If an English Wikipedia page exists for the actual station or stop, a link is included. Some Thruway Motorcoach stops include train stations that are not served by Amtrak trains (and occasionally any trains at all).

All current (and most former) Amtrak train stops (stations) and Thruway Motorcoach stops have a three-letter station code (sometimes also referred to as a city code). These codes do not necessarily correspond with the list of IATA-indexed train stations or the three-character IATA airport codes, although many are the same. Amtrak began using station codes in 1992,[1][2] so stations closed or removed from all Amtrak service prior to 1992 will not have had a station code assigned. The station code "ENP" is used for "any stop en route, not otherwise specified".[citation needed] If a station code was used by more than one train station, each station is listed. However, if a station code was used for a Thruway Motorcoach stop that has changed locations, only information for the current location (or most recent location, if the stop is no longer in service) is included in the notes, unless one of the locations was an actual train station.

Ridership data and station ownership is from Amtrak's Great American Stations website.[3][Note 1] The ownership of many stations is shared, with one entity owning one or more of the following: the facility itself, the parking lot, the passenger platform, and the train tracks. In some instances, the owner of the bus station used for a Thruway Motorcoach stop is not the same as the connection service provider.

Many stations do not offer full services (ticketing, baggage, etc.). Some stations and Thruway Motorcoach stops are conditional or flag stops, with trains only stopping at the station if reservations for a pickup or drop off are made in advance. Some stations are seasonal with trains or buses stopping only during certain times of the year.

Although Amtrak operations are almost exclusively limited to the United States, there are three exceptions (all of which are in Canada). The first exception includes the six northwesternmost stations (in Ontario) served by the Maple Leaf. (The Maple Leaf is a joint operation between Amtrak and Via Rail Canada.[Note 2] The International Limited was also a joint Via Rail Canada/Amtrak operation before it was discontinued in 2004.) The second exception includes the two northernmost stations (in Quebec) served by the Adirondack and the northernmost station (in British Columbia) served by the Amtrak Cascades. (Both the Adirondack and the Amtrak Cascades are exclusively Amtrak operations.) Each of the aforementioned train stations are identified as a Canadian railway station.[Note 3] The third exception includes the eight Thruway Motorcoach stops in British Columbia.

Among the Amtrak stations are several "tour only" stations which require special reservations with Amtrak for a group (usually twenty or more persons) for the train to stop at that station (such stations include Allensworth State Park and Marceline stations). There are also several "stations" (many of which are not actually train stations at all) which only operate in conjunction with regular special events (such "stations"/events include the Lexington Barbecue Festival, the New York State Fair, and the North Carolina State Fair) and others that are unique to a specific event (for example, the Secaucus Junction station which only was an Amtrak stop for Super Bowl XLVIII).

  1. ^ Amtrak (April 5, 1992). "Amtrak National Timetable: Spring/Summer 1992". timetables.org. The Museum of Railway Timetables. p. 6. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  2. ^ Amtrak (October 25, 1992). "Amtrak System Train Timetables". timetables.org. The Museum of Railway Timetables. p. 6. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  3. ^ "Revitalizing America's Train Stations". greatamericanstations.com. Amtrak. Archived from the original on February 24, 2013. Retrieved August 30, 2013.
  4. ^ "Via Rail an astounding history". www.viarail.ca. Via Rail Canada. Retrieved September 29, 2013.
  5. ^ "Amtrak Begins Service to Albany". The Albany Democrat-Herald. Albany, Oregon. October 29, 1977. p. 1. Retrieved October 30, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  6. ^ "Penn-Central to Open New Rensselaer Station Dec. 29". The Times-Record. Troy, New York. December 20, 1968. p. 3. Retrieved June 23, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ "Alderson, WV, station". Great American Stations. Retrieved March 26, 2020.
  8. ^ Al Cox (1996). "The Alexandria Union Station" (PDF). Historic Alexandria Quarterly. Vol. 1 no. 1. Office of Historic Alexandria.
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  10. ^ "Peachtree Station Will Open March 17 for Public Service". The Atlanta Constitution. March 7, 1918. p. 1. Retrieved July 4, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
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  12. ^ a b c "Amtrak Timetable Changes - Effective October 1, 1981". timetables.org. Amtrak. October 1, 1981. p. 6. Retrieved November 22, 2018.
  13. ^ Cox, Jim (2011). Rails Across Dixie: A History of Passenger Trains in the American South. Jefferson, NC: McFarland. ISBN 9780786445288. OCLC 609716000.
  14. ^ "Brattleboro, VT (BRA)". Great American Stations. Amtrak.
  15. ^ Sanders 2006, p. 172.
  16. ^ "New Buffalo Station". Amtrak NEWS. 6 (12): 6–7. November 1979. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  17. ^ "New Union Station in Burlington". The Des Moines Tribune. March 28, 1944. p. 9. Retrieved July 1, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  18. ^ "Amtrak Set to Open BWI Rail Station Linking Airport to D.C., Baltimore". The Baltimore Sun. October 19, 1980. p. 19. Retrieved November 20, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
  19. ^ "Amtrak Ethan Allen Express to Provide Service at Renovated Castleton, Vermont Depot" (PDF) (Press release). Amtrak. December 29, 2009. Retrieved November 22, 2018.
  20. ^ "Transportation World Watches New Cincinnati Union Terminal Opening". The Piqua Daily Call. Piqua, Ohio. March 29, 1933. p. 8. Retrieved October 28, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  21. ^ "Train Station Moving". The Cincinnati Enquirer. July 13, 1991. p. 12. Retrieved October 24, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  22. ^ "Amtrak Adds Stop at Connersville". The Indianapolis Star. October 28, 1990. p. 93. Retrieved October 24, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  23. ^ Cullen, Kevin (September 30, 1981). "Crawfordsville's Back on the Passenger Rail". Journal and Courier. Lafayette, Indiana. p. 6. Retrieved October 24, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  24. ^ "New G.N. Depot at Cut Bank". The Great Falls Tribune. December 17, 1939. p. 3. Retrieved January 4, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  25. ^ Lawrence, Eric D. (December 10, 2014). "First train pulls out of new Dearborn Amtrak station". The Detroit Free Press. Retrieved November 22, 2018.
  26. ^ "Denmark Station Stop (Amtrak NEWS)". Amtrak History & Archives. November 1978. Retrieved December 27, 2019.
  27. ^ "Detroit, MI (DET)". The Great American Stations. Amtrak. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  28. ^ Sanders 2006, pp. 152–153.
  29. ^ "Historic Inn to Receive Rail Service". The Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. March 10, 1985. p. 35. Retrieved October 19, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  30. ^ "Essex Inn Amtrak Flag Stop". The Independent-Record. Helena, Montana. November 12, 1985. p. 11. Retrieved October 19, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  31. ^ "First Ticket Sold in New CV Station in Essex Junction". The Burlington Free Press. August 12, 1959. p. 11. Retrieved July 2, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  32. ^ a b "Rail Bond Issue Campaign Begins". The Daily Messenger. Canandaigua, New York. August 5, 1974. p. 2. Retrieved June 23, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  33. ^ Associated Press (December 14, 2021). "Amtrak Service Returns to Historic Fort Madison Station". KTVO-TV. Retrieved December 28, 2021.
  34. ^ "Amtrak Timetable - Effective February 17, 1985". timetables.org. Amtrak. February 17, 1985. p. 4. Retrieved November 21, 2018.
  35. ^ a b Zimmer, Josh (September 12, 1995). "Back on Track in Yazoo City". The Clarion-Ledger. Jackson, Mississippi. p. 1. Retrieved November 19, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
  36. ^ a b c Sanders 2006, p. 105.
  37. ^ "Three New Depots". The Nebraska State Journal. Lincoln, Nebraska. February 19, 1911. p. 8. Retrieved July 1, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  38. ^ "Amtrak Makes Initial Stop in Kissimmee". The Orlando Sentinel. December 12, 1975. p. 12. Retrieved November 16, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
  39. ^ "Depot Work Starts". The Great Falls Tribune. October 16, 1940. p. 3. Retrieved January 4, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  40. ^ "Great Northern's Libby Station is Open for Business". The Great Falls Tribune. January 26, 1941. p. 36. Retrieved January 4, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  41. ^ "Marshall Flag Stop Along Amtrak Route". The Marshall News Messenger. February 26, 1974. p. 1. Retrieved October 19, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  42. ^ Hoskins, Ken (June 12, 1977). "The Train Starts Stopping Again in Maysville Today". The Courier-Journal. pp. 1-2. Retrieved October 30, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  43. ^ "McCook Station Opening Planned". The Lincoln Star. April 2, 1926. p. 5. Retrieved July 1, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  44. ^ "Indiana May Lose Last Passenger Train Service". The Logansport Pharos-Tribune. April 2, 1981. p. 7. Retrieved October 17, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  45. ^ "Texas Town Named New Amtrak Stop". The El Paso Times. April 7, 1996. p. 50. Retrieved November 23, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
  46. ^ "PennDOT, Federal Transit Administration celebrate opening of new Mount Joy Train Station". WPMT. York, Pennsylvania. October 21, 1943. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  47. ^ "New Amtrak Train Station in Niagara Falls Set to Open". The Journal News. White Plains, New York. December 6, 2016. p. A9. Retrieved November 26, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
  48. ^ Stemen, John (October 26, 1986). "400 Celebrate New Rail Stop in Okeechobee". The Palm Beach Post. West Palm Beach, Florida. pp. 1B, 8B. Retrieved October 17, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  49. ^ "Ottumwa Dedicates Railroad Station and City Park". The Des Moines Register. May 27, 1951. p. 25. Retrieved July 1, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  50. ^ "Amtrak Stop". The Burlington Free Press. April 24, 1977. p. 21. Retrieved October 17, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  51. ^ "Prince Played a Large Part in Beckley Area Development". The Raleigh Register. Beckley, West Virginia. May 5, 1946. p. 6. Retrieved January 4, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  52. ^ "New Stop for Amtrak". Vidette-Messenger of Porter County. Valparaiso, Indiana. January 17, 1981. p. 22. Retrieved October 17, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  53. ^ "Amtrak Schriever Stop to be Made Permanent". The Assumption Pioneer. Napoleonville, Louisiana. September 30, 1976. p. 2. Retrieved October 19, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  54. ^ Gregg, Ray (July 6, 1970). "South Shore Plans Dedication Tuesday". The South Bend Tribune. p. 11. Retrieved August 18, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  55. ^ Hall, Christina (October 13, 2014). "Troy Transit Center set to open Tuesday". The Detroit Free Press. Retrieved November 23, 2018.
  56. ^ "Excavatuib Starts on Whitefish Depot". The Great Falls Tribune. September 11, 1927. p. 4. Retrieved January 4, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
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  59. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x "Trains". The Tallahassee Democrat. August 29, 2005. p. 2. Retrieved November 21, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
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  61. ^ a b c d e Lane, Keith (March 5, 2021). "It's Official: Amtrak Brings Mobile-New Orleans Passenger Rail Service in 2022". WPMI-TV. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
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Amtrak also runs sales and discounts on most routes. For more information on Amtrak trains check out our Amtrak Tips page and for videos check out our YouTube Channel. Amtrak In California Tips. From California you could easily replicate our 14 night Amtrak vacation on the Empire Builder, Coast Starlight and California Zephyr.


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In most U.S. states, intercity passenger train service is provided solely by Amtrak (the National Railroad Passenger Corporation), with no assistance of any sort from state or local governments. This level of service usually includes only a few long distance trains such as the Coast Starlight or California Zephyr, with perhaps a small number of shorter distance trains operating within the …

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In most U.S. states, intercity passenger train service is provided solely by Amtrak (the National Railroad Passenger Corporation), with no assistance of any sort from state or local governments. This level of service usually includes only a few long distance trains such as the Coast Starlight or California Zephyr, with perhaps a small number of shorter distance trains operating within the state. This was the situation in California prior to 1976. Since 1976, California has been one of several states which assists Amtrak in order to provide more service than the basic system.

Through Caltrans, the state government of California provides capital grants and support for station and track improvements (including signaling), locomotives and cars, connecting Amtrak bus service, and operating assistance for three corridors: the Pacific Surfliner, the San Joaquins and the Capitol Corridor.


This is the list of 74 active Amtrak stations in California. This list does not include stations that are served only by Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach and not Amtrak trains.

Current Amtrak Train Stations
Also Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach stops
Stations and/or stops that are shared with commuter rail systems (ACE,
Caltrain, Coaster, and/or Metrolink)
City Code Image Train


Anaheim Anaheim ANA ARTIC Front.JPG Pacific Surfliner
Orange County Line
287,415 City of Anaheim
Antioch–Pittsburg Antioch ACA Antioch station 4184 01.JPG San Joaquin 38,108 City of Antioch
Auburn Auburn ARN Shelter at Auburn station, September 7, 2008.jpg Capitol Corridor 13,352 Union Pacific Railroad
Bakersfield Bakersfield BFD Bakersfield Amtrak Station.jpg San Joaquin 482,276 City of Bakersfield when required, Coast Starlight trains will serve the Bakersfield Southern Pacific station
Barstow Barstow BAR Harveyhouse3.JPG Southwest Chief 3,509 BNSF Railway/
City of Barstow
Site of former Casa del Desierto, a former Harvey House on the National Register of Historic Places; also serves Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach as well as the Western America Railroad Museum and Route 66 "Mother Road" Museum.
Berkeley Berkeley BKY San Joaquin passing Berkeley station, June 2018.JPG Capitol Corridor 156,226 Union Pacific Railroad
Burbank Airport–South Burbank BUR Bob hope airport train station at dusk.jpg Coast Starlight
Pacific Surfliner
Ventura County Line
73,814 Caltrans Also serves Hollywood Burbank Airport and Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach
Camarillo Camarillo CML Camarillo Metrolink station 2014-03-28.jpg Pacific Surfliner
Ventura County Line
54,582 Union Pacific Railroad/
City of Camarillo
Carpinteria Carpinteria CPN Carpinteria Amtrak.jpg Pacific Surfliner 32,701 City of Carpenteria/
Union Pacific Railroad
Chatsworth Chatsworth CWT Chatsworth Station2.jpg Pacific Surfliner
Ventura County Line
72,278 Los Angeles Department of Transportation
Chico Chico CIC Chico Amtrak.jpg Coast Starlight 12,154 City of Chico
Colfax Colfax COX Chatsworth Station2.jpg California Zephyr 7,035
Colonel Allensworth State Park Allensworth, or
CNL Allensworth02.jpg San Joaquin N/A[Note 1] Platform only (no shelter); conditional flag stop that requires preapproval and reservations several weeks in advance for groups of not less than 20 persons,[2][3] accordingly this station is not included on Amtrak's list of (active) stations[4]
Corcoran Corcoran COC Corcoran CA Amtrak station.jpg San Joaquin 28,440 City of Corcoran Replica of former 1907-built Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway depot demolished in 1998. Rebuilt in 1999.
Davis Davis DAV Davis station, February 1984.jpg California Zephyr
Capitol Corridor
Coast Starlight
375,626 City of Davis National Register of Historic Places
Denair Denair TRK Turlock-Denair station 2613 04.JPG San Joaquin 29,924 BNSF Railway Open shelters; located in Denair, but also meant to serve Turlock.
Dunsmuir Dunsmuir DUN Dunsmuir Amtrak Station.jpg Coast Starlight 5,330 Union Pacific Railroad
Emeryville Emeryville EMY Emeryville Station 2688 02.JPG California Zephyr
Capitol Corridor
Coast Starlight
San Joaquin
581,138 City of Emeryville
Fairfield-Vacaville Fairfield FFV Fairfield–Vacaville station viewed from bridge, May 2019.JPG Capitol Corridor City of Fairfield
Fremont Fremont FMT Shelter at Fremont-Centerville station, July 2018.JPG Capitol Corridor
41,751 City of Fremont
Fresno Fresno FNO 2009-0725-CA-FresnoSantaFeStation.jpg San Joaquin 374,479 City of Fresno Listed on the National Register of Historic Places; as Santa Fe Passenger Depot; Thruway Motorcoach stop
Fullerton Fullerton FUL Fullerton Station.jpg Pacific Surfliner
Southwest Chief
91 and Orange County Lines
399,695 BNSF and City of Fullerton Former AT&SF and UP stations on NRHP
Glendale Glendale GDL Glendale station, August 14, 1982.jpg Pacific Surfliner
Antelope Valley and Ventura County Lines
55,032 City of Glendale Former SP station on the National Register of Historic Places
Goleta Goleta GTA Gotta Run (5852832756).jpg Pacific Surfliner 78,365
Grover Beach Grover Beach GVB Grover Beach Amtrak Station.JPG Pacific Surfliner 18,879 Union Pacific Railroad
Guadalupe Guadalupe GUA Guadalupe station building, December 18, 2001.jpg Pacific Surfliner 12,430 Union Pacific Railroad
Hanford Hanford HNF Hanford station, January 2015.jpg San Joaquin 196,702 BNSF One of the few remaining San Francisco and San Joaquin Valley Railway depots in existence.
Hayward Hayward HAY Shelter at Hayward station, July 2018.JPG Capitol Corridor 50,361 City of Hayward
Irvine Irvine IRV Irvine Station (2013) 03.JPG Pacific Surfliner
IEOC and Orange County Lines
440,986 City of Irvine
Lodi Lodi LOD Lodi Amtrak station.jpg San Joaquin 7,978 City of Lodi
Union Pacific Railroad
Los Angeles Los Angeles LAX 20140830 50 Los Angeles Union Station (15360153108).jpg Coast Starlight
Southwest Chief
Sunset Limited
Texas Eagle
Pacific Surfliner
91, Orange County,
Riverside, San Bernardino,
Antelope Valley, and Ventura County Metrolink lines
1,716,392 LACMTA Union Station listed on the National Register of Historic Places; also includes B and D Line subways, L Line light rail, J Line BRT, and Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach.
Madera Madera MDR Madera station 2396 02.JPG San Joaquin 27,751 County of Madera 2010 replacement for former Storey AT&SF Depot; expected to be replaced again with a new station further south[5]
Martinez Martinez MTZ Capitol Corridor train at Martinez station, November 2019.JPG California Zephyr
Capitol Corridor
Coast Starlight
San Joaquin
347,095 City of Martinez
Merced Merced MCD San Joaquin at Merced station, April 2015.jpg San Joaquin 126,148 State of California
Modesto Modesto MOD Modesto station 2381 11.JPG San Joaquin 115,672 City of Modesto
Moorpark Moorpark MPK Moorpark Metrolink.jpg Pacific Surfliner
Ventura County Line
21,881 City of Moorpark
Needles Needles NDL 2014 07 19 El Garces Needles CA 02.JPG Southwest Chief 9,176 BNSF Railway Site of former El Garces Hotel, a former Harvey House on the National Register of Historic Places
Oakland Coliseum Oakland OAC Oakland Coliseum Amtrak station from ramp, November 2017.JPG Capitol Corridor 77,057 Amtrak/BART Also connected to Bay Area Rapid Transit: Berryessa/​North San José–Richmond line, Berryessa/​North San José–Daly City line, Dublin/​Pleasanton–Daly City line, Coliseum–Oakland International Airport line
Oakland – Jack London Square Oakland OKJ Oakland Amtrak station.jpg Capitol Corridor
San Joaquin
371,257 Port of Oakland
Oceanside Oceanside OSD 566 Pacific Surfliner, Oceanside, 2016-09-12, 1. Amtrak locomotive 202.jpg Pacific Surfliner
Orange County Line
394,122 North County Transit District Replacement for former AT&SF depot; also includes Sprinter light rail.
Ontario Ontario ONA Ontario Amtrak station.jpg Sunset Limited
Texas Eagle
4,575 City of Ontario/Union Pacific Railroad
Oxnard Oxnard OXN Oxnard Transit Center portal.jpg Coast Starlight
Pacific Surfliner
Ventura County Line
94,000 City of Oxnard
Palm Springs Palm Springs PSN Palm Springs Amtrak Station.jpg Sunset Limited
Texas Eagle
3,142 City of Palm Springs
Paso Robles Paso Robles PRB Paso Robles Train Station.jpg Coast Starlight 11,377 City of Paso Robles
Pomona Pomona POS Pomona, CA (SP) Train Station.jpg Sunset Limited
Texas Eagle
Riverside Line
1,601 City of Pomona Named Downtown Pomona station by Metrolink
Redding Redding RDD Redding AmtrakStationTrackside.jpg Coast Starlight 10,475 Union Pacific Railroad Uses former Southern Pacific Railway depot
Richmond Richmond RIC Richmond station canopy from parking garage (3), April 2018.jpg California Zephyr
Capitol Corridor
San Joaquin
292,453 BART 1973-built BART station for Berryessa/​North San José–Richmond line and Richmond–Millbrae SFO line; used by Amtrak since 1978.
Riverside Riverside RIV Downtown Riverside Metrolink Station.jpg Southwest Chief
91, IEOC, and
Riverside Lines
12,029 RCTA
BNSF Railway
Named Riverside-Downtown Station by Metrolink.
Rocklin Rocklin RLN Rocklin, California - Amtrak station and Chamber of Commerce building.jpg Capitol Corridor 15,926 Union Pacific Railroad/
City of Rocklin
Roseville Roseville RSV Roseville, California - Amtrak station.jpg California Zephyr
Capitol Corridor
38,638 City of Roseville
Union Pacific Railroad
Sacramento Sacramento SAC Sacramento Valley Station (cropped).JPG California Zephyr
Capitol Corridor
Coast Starlight
San Joaquin
1,073,584 City of Sacramento Officially named Sacramento Valley Rail Station; also serves Sacramento Light Rail's Gold Line and Thruway Motorcoach; listed on NRHP
Salinas Salinas SNS Salinas-station.jpg Coast Starlight 20,564 City of Salinas Redevelopment Agency
San Bernardino San Bernardino SNB SanBernardinoStationStreetside.jpg Southwest Chief
IEOC, and
San Bernardino Lines
12,035 San Bernardino Associated Governments Former AT&SF Harvey House added later; also served Amtrak's Desert Wind until 1997; also serves Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach buses to Hemet and Indio. Listed on NRHP as Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Passenger and Freight Depot.
San Clemente San Clemente SNP San Clemente Pier Amtrak station.jpg Pacific Surfliner
IEOC, and
Orange County Lines
14,926 City of San Clemente/
Named San Clemente Pier station, by Metrolink to distinguish from their own San Clemente station; limited Amtrak service, and weekend-only Metrolink service.
San Diego–Old Town San Diego OLT SDT Old Town1.jpg Pacific Surfliner
300,245 NCTD Also includes San Diego Trolley Green Line
San Diego San Diego SAN San Diego Train Station.jpg Pacific Surfliner
777,961 Catellus Development Corporation Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as Santa Fe Depot; also includes San Diego Trolley Green and Orange Lines (and Blue Line service just across the street).
San Jose San Jose SJC USA-San Jose-Diridon Station-2.jpg Coast Starlight
Capitol Corridor
Caltrain, and ACE
223,028 PCJPB Commonly known as Diridon Station; also serves SCVTA Light Rail's Green Line, Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach and California Shuttle Buses. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as Southern Pacific Depot.
San Juan Capistrano San Juan Capistrano SNC Railway Station San Juan Capistrano.jpg Pacific Surfliner
IEOC, and
Orange County Lines
229,153 City of San Juan Capistrano and
Former AT&SF Depot built in 1894.
San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo SLO San Luis Obispo Amtrak Station Ca. - panoramio.jpg Coast Starlight
Pacific Surfliner
105,156 Union Pacific Railroad
Santa Ana Santa Ana SNA Santa Ana Amtrak Station California - panoramio (5).jpg Pacific Surfliner
IEOC, and
Orange County Lines
194,581 OCTA
Santa Barbara Santa Barbara SBA Santa Barbara Station1.jpg Coast Starlight
Pacific Surfliner
341,899 Redevelopment Agency of the City of Santa Barbara Listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Southern Pacific Train Depot
Santa Clara – Great America Santa Clara GAC Great America – Santa Clara Station 2238 07.JPG Capitol Corridor
167,475 City of Santa Clara,
Union Pacific Railroad
Santa Clara Santa Clara SCC Santa Clara CA Depot. California railway station Built 1863.JPG Capitol Corridor
ACE and Caltrain
45,135 PCJPB, South Bay Historical Railroad Society Former San Francisco and San Jose Railroad depot listed on NRHP as "Santa Clara Depot". Serves ACE, Caltrain, and only Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach until 2012.[clarification needed]
Simi Valley Simi Valley SIM Simi valley train station at dusk from tracks.jpg Coast Starlight
Pacific Surfliner
Ventura County Line
52,064 City of Simi Valley
Solana Beach Solana Beach SOL SOL Amtrak Station.jpg Pacific Surfliner
387,956 Amtrak
Stockton–Downtown Stockton SKT Cabral Station 2.JPG San Joaquin
32,266 City of Stockton Former Southern Pacific Railroad terminal; southern terminal of ACE; also serves Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach.
Stockton–San Joaquin Street Stockton SKN Stockton, CA (AT&SF) train station.jpg San Joaquin 297,699 BNSF Railway Former Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Depot
Suisun–Fairfield Suisun SUI Street side of Suisun–Fairfield station, May 2019.JPG Capitol Corridor 164,709 City of Suisun/
Union Pacific Railroad
Former Southern Pacific Railway Depot
Lompoc–Surf Surf LPC Surf Beach bench.JPG Pacific Surfliner 7,823 Union Pacific Railroad
Truckee Truckee TRU Truckee California Railroad Station.jpg California Zephyr 14,879 Town of Truckee/
Union Pacific Railroad
Former Southern Pacific Railroad station; also served by Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach
Van Nuys Van Nuys
(Los Angeles)
VNC Van Nuys Train Station 2.jpg Coast Starlight
Pacific Surfliner
Ventura County Line
82,417 State of California
Ventura Ventura VEC Ventura Amtrak Platform.jpg Pacific Surfliner 67,522 City of Ventura
Victorville Victorville VCV Victor Valley Transportation Center 2107 05.JPG Southwest Chief 6,292 BNSF Railway, Victorville Redevelopment Agency Also serves Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach
Wasco Wasco WAC Wasco station, December 2019.jpg San Joaquin 41,828 City of Wasco

These stations are planned or currently under construction:


See also[edit]

  • Amtrak California
  • List of Amtrak stations national list



External links[edit]

The 15 Most Scenic Amtrak Routes in North America

24-04-2019 · The 15 Most Scenic Amtrak Routes in North America Ed Perkins A nationally recognized reporter, writer, and consumer advocate, Ed Perkins focuses on how travelers can find the best deals and avoid ...


Did you know Amtrak can be much more than just a business commuter train? Railroad journeys make up some of the best sightseeing adventures in the world, but especially in North America. You’ll pass through spectacular mountain ranges, along rugged coastlines, and beside legendary rivers. And it’s a comfortable adventure; sit back and enjoy the window view—or, some Amtrak routes offer glass-dome cars for 360-degree sightseeing.

While Switzerland is considered by many to be the world champion when it comes to scenic train trips and there are glass-dome travel trains all over the world, some of the best Amtrak routes can take you to the most scenic areas the United States—with some routes some stretching into Canada.

Most Scenic Amtrak Routes in North America

This compilation is focused on scheduled Amtrak routes that operate mainly in daylight—so you won’t miss sights. These routes complete their itineraries in a single day, or in long daylight segments on an extended overnight trip.

East Coast: The Adirondack

The general consensus for the best of the scenic Amtrak routes in the east is service on the Adirondack, between New York and Montreal. The 11-hour day trip operates daily in both directions, and gives you a double-header of great views: It travels along the east bank of Hudson River between New York and Albany, where you pass the Palisades, West Point, and wooded hills. It also travels along the West bank of Lake Champlain, a popular summer activity lake-valley area nestled between the Adirondacks and the Green Mountains.

The northbound trip is daylight through the scenic areas throughout the year. The southbound trip sees more daylight in summer; in winter you hit the Hudson valley after dark. In the fall foliage season, Amtrak usually adds a dome car to the train between Albany and Montreal, which operates every other day in each direction. And if you want off before getting to Canada, you can still see all the highlights by starting or ending your trip at Rouses Point, in New York.

Elsewhere in the east, several other Amtrak one-day trains operate through scenic areas:

Empire Service: Three daily trains and between New York and Buffalo give you the Hudson Valley plus some very attractive areas of Upstate alone the Mohawk valley as soon as you get out of the heavily industrialized areas near Albany. The Lake Shore Limited New York section does this trip too, as does the Maple Leaf. And nine shorter Empire trips plus the Ethan Allen Express between Rutland and New York all run the Hudson segment, too.

The Vermonter: Service runs daily between St Albans, Vermont, and Washington, D.C.; the scenic portion between St Albans and New Haven passes through nice mountain scenery in the Berkshires and Connecticut. Daylight hours are best going northbound. You can access the North end most easily through Essex Junction, just a few miles from Burlington. Forget the New Haven-Washington segments unless you like urban landscapes.

The Pennsylvanian: This Amtrak route operates daily between Pittsburgh and New York, but the scenic areas are over the former Pennsylvania main line between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. This trip includes the famous Horseshoe Curve; daylight viewing is best eastbound.

Lake Shore Limited, Capitol Limited, and Cardinal: Three overnight long-distance Amtrak trips to/from Chicago go through the Appalachian range during daylight hours. They carry coach seats along with sleepers for folks who want to do the full trips.

The Boston section of Lake Shore Limited between Albany and Boston includes the Berkshires in western Massachusetts along with the Mohawk valley; daylight is good in both directions. The Capitol Limited operates daily between Chicago and Washington, but the scenic area is between Pittsburgh and Washington. Daylight viewing is best eastbound, although that means a 5:20 am departure from Pittsburgh.

The Cardinal operates three days a week between Chicago and New York, but the important scenery is between Cincinnati and Washington on the former C&O main line. Daylight viewing is best eastbound. The schedule isn’t great in either direction, with 1:30 am arrival and 3:30 am departure at Cincinnati. You can get most of the good stuff beginning or ending in Charleston, or you can take the overnight to/from Chicago.

The California Zephyr

zephr-037-11 001

Rail enthusiasts generally rate the California Zephyr between Chicago and Emeryville (San Francisco) as the best of the Chicago-to-coast Amtrak routes. It passes daily through two different areas of top mountain scenery: Denver to Grand Junction through the Rockies, and Reno to Emeryville through the Sierras including the infamous Donner Pass. The entire three-day, two-night trip is timed for good daylight viewing through both scenic areas in both directions. The daytime run between Chicago and Omaha is forgettable, but many opt for the full journey. Again, you have a choice of comfortable coach or sleeper accommodations.

Three other long-haul train routes that span from east to west are popular with railfans:

The Empire Builder: A daily two-night, three-day trip from Chicago to Portland or Seattle, the Empire Builder skirts Glacier National Park as it passes through the northern Rockies. The Portland section adds the spectacular Columbia River Gorge. The trains are timed for daylight in the Glacier Park area, at least in summer, with eastbound schedules good all year, but the best segment is between two remote stops: Shelby and Whitefish Montana. Spokane might be a logical place to start or end the trip on the West end, but the arrival and departure times are 1:25 and 1:45 a.m. Spokane would also seem to be logical for the Portland section, but the best eastern end for the Columbia Gorge is Pasco, Washington, and the best daylight viewing is westbound. Many go for two overnights between Portland or Seattle and Minneapolis-St Paul.

The Southwest Chief: Daily service is between Chicago and Los Angeles, traces the route of the famed Super Chief and almost matches its former two-night, one-day schedule. The best scenery is between La Junta Colorado and Albuquerque, in both directions.

The Sunset Limited: Service is three times a week. It links New Orleans and Los Angeles through the bayou country between New Orleans and Houston with the best daylight viewing westbound, and West Texas and New Mexico desert and mountains between El Paso and Tucson with good daylight viewing in both directions.

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West Coast: Coast Starlight

The daily Coast Starlight links Los Angeles and Seattle on a two-day, one-night itinerary, and it’s another consensus favorite. The top scenery is between Los Angeles and San Jose, a stretch formerly known as the Daylight route, where the track hugs the spectacular California Coast between Oxnard and San Luis Obispo, including some more isolated sections. Timing for daylight is good in both directions. The other daytime segment, between Klamath Falls, Oregon, and Portland crosses some nice mountain areas: It’s no match for the California Zephyr, but it makes a good bookend on the two-day trip.

Two other short West Coast Amtrak routes offer good scenic potential:

Pacific Surfliner: Two daily trips duplicate the Coast Starlight itinerary between San Luis Obispo and Los Angeles, and they add 11 daily runs on the coast-hugging Los Angeles-San Diego segment as well.

Amtrak Cascades: Service runs between Eugene, Oregon, through Portland and Seattle, to Vancouver, B.C., including some nice scenic spots. No train makes a through trip between Eugene and Vancouver, but five operate daily between Portland and Seattle; two extending to Eugene and two different trains run to Vancouver.

Long-Haul Land Cruises

If you’re interested in a long-haul “land cruise,” most railfans would recommend the two-night California Zephyr or the Empire Builder between Chicago and the West Coast, and the one-night Coast Starlight between Los Angeles and Seattle. They would also recommend sleeper accommodations, which include all meals, access to showers, and other first-class benefits. Sleepers are a lot more expensive than sit-up coach seats: A couple occupying a roomette on the California Zephyr for early June, for example would pay 9, compared with 6 in Coach. But if you’re a real rail freak, the sleeper is part of the whole experience. Amtrak has in the recent past offered two-for-one sleeper tickets as flash sales—which are probably more likely in the off-season, or winter.

Off-Amtrak Bonus: VIA Rail’s Canadian

And I couldn’t complete this report without mentioning North America’s premier rail land cruise: VIA Rail’s The Canadian between Toronto and Vancouver. The four-night marathon route includes spectacular mountain scenery in Alberta and British Columbia and interesting isolated country between Winnipeg and Toronto. This train operates twice weekly over the entire routes, with an additional section added on the same schedule between Edmonton and Vancouver from May to October. It sells out early, especially for summer travel. Summer fares are generally a lot higher than winter ones; check ViaRail for promotions, especially on its regular Discount Tuesdays.

What to Wear When Traveling this Season

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Consumer advocate Ed Perkins has been writing about travel for more than three decades. The founding editor of the Consumer Reports Travel Letter, he continues to inform travelers and fight consumer abuse every day at SmarterTravel.

We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products. All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.


Source: Amtrak Amtrak passengers arrive at LA Union Station, 1970. Photo by Charles O'Rear, courtesy of Environmental Protection Agency & National Archives. Amtrak assumed operation of the San Diegan Route (now Pacific Surfliner) in May, 1971.With more than 1.5 million passengers taking the route, it is the second most heavily traveled Amtrak route in the nation.


On a typical day, Amtrak California Zephyr has 181 scheduled train trips in total. However, the exact departure and arrival times vary depending on the day and route. The best way to find the exact schedule for your trip is to use the search tool on this page.

Amtrak California Zephyr Route Guide

18-02-2021 · The Amtrak California Zephyr is one of the most scenic train routes in the USA. Along the way you will travel along the Colorado River valley, the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada. It’s Amtrak’s longest route at 2,438 miles long. The California Zephyr goes between Chicago and Emeryville (San Francisco) via Omaha, Denver, Salt Lake City ...

Grounded Life Travel is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The Amtrak California Zephyr is one of the most scenic train routes in the USA. Along the way you will travel along the Colorado River valley, the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada. It’s Amtrak’s longest route at 2,438 miles long.

California Zephyr Route Map (Major Stations)

The California Zephyr goes between Chicago and Emeryville (San Francisco) via Omaha, Denver, Salt Lake City and Reno.

Train Info

Observation Car Yes
Dining CarYes
Distance2,438 Miles
Time51 1/2 Hours
Top Speed79 Mph
Average Speed55 Mph

Ticket Options

On the California Zephyr you can purchase tickets in these categories (sample summer fares for 2 people shown):

  • Coach (2)
  • Superliner Roomette (

  • Superliner Bedroom (,332)
  • Superliner Family Bedroom (


Amtrak often runs 2 for 1 sales on coach tickets as well as roomettes. If you are planning well in advance, check out our guide to getting 2 for 1 tickets during the BOGO sale.

Meals and Metropolitan Lounge access are included for all sleeper car passengers.

Scenic Views

As the most scenic route on the Amtrak schedule you will travel through along the upper Colorado River valley, through the Rockies and into Moffat Tunnel. You will cross the Continental Divide as you travel through Moffat Tunnel for 6.2 miles under James Peak. You’ll travel into Winter Park Resort, Ruby Canyon and just west of Grand Junction where the train then enters Utah. The train arrives into Salt Lake City via the Wasatch Front after Soldier Summit.

Major Sites

Most people vacationing on the California Zephyr are riding for the views in Colorado, Utah and Nevada. There are also several ski resorts along the train route.

Major Stations

The major and notable stations on the Amtrak California Zephyr are Chicago, Omaha, Denver, Salt Lake City, Reno and San Francisco (Emeryville).

States Visited

The Amtrak California Zephyr travels into several states from Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and finally arriving into California. There are at least 3 stops in each state.

Station Reviews

The California Zephyr route has terminus stations of Chicago on one end and Emeryville (San Francisco) on the other. Chicago has a Metropolitan Lounge to make your wait before boarding more enjoyable.

Both stations also offer free checked baggage, up to 2 bags per person of 50lbs.

Union Station – Chicago

Union Station in Chicago is perhaps the finest Amtrak station in the country. It offers easy access in the heart of Downtown Chicago and features the best Metropolitan Lounge you will find. There are plenty of fast food restaurants within the station where you can get food to bring back to the new 2 level Metropolitan Lounge. The entire station has a nice decor that makes you feel like you are about to take a special trip.

Union Station Chicago
Union Station in Chicago

If you’d like to stay close to Union Station before or after your visit we recommend the Hyatt Place Chicago Downtown – The Loop, which is about a 5 minute walk from the station.

Emeryville Station

The Emeryville Station is a small station. There is minimal food available inside the station but there are several restaurants within walking distance. The station is the connection point to San Francisco via motor coach bus. There is also no Metropolitan Lounge at this station.

Emeryville California
Emeryville, California

Emeryville has several hotels within walking distance of the train station. We stayed at the Four Points by Sheraton San Francisco Bay Bridge, and can recommend it. We walked there with our luggage after getting off the California Zephyr. A few others nearby are:

  • Hyatt House Emeryville (closest to the station)
  • Hyatt Place Emeryville

Trip Planning

The California Zephyr is a great train trip to link with a few other trains. If you are looking for a longer vacation, consider something like our 14 day Amtrak trip. On this trip we took the Coast Starlight from Los Angeles to Seattle, the Empire Builder from Seattle to Chicago, and the California Zephyr from Chicago back to San Francisco.

You could also link the California Zephyr with the Lakeshore Limited and do a true coast to coast trip from California to New York and then fly back.

Note that the Amtrak stations in Emeryville (San Francisco) and Chicago are not near the airports, so if you are flying into those cities to start this route you’ll need to get a cab or Uber to the Amtrak station.

Booking Tickets

Tickets for Amtrak can be booked at Amtrak.com or using their app on your phone. Reservations can also be made by calling 1-800-USA-RAIL.


Amtrak Sacramento, CA is Located at 401 I Street, Sacramento, CA 95814. Opened in 1926, the station provides a full covered wating room. Visit Amtrak San Joaquins for further details on train schedules, rider amenities and accessibility.


Prices for Chicago to East Glacier: Roomette: 7.00; Coach: 5.00. Crater Lake National Park on the Coast Starlight Courtesy. Widely regarded as one of the most picturesque train routes, the ...


The Cardinal is a long distance passenger train operated by Amtrak between New York Penn Station and Chicago Union Station via Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Charlottesville, Charleston, Huntington, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis.Along with the Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited, it is one of three trains linking the Northeast and Chicago. Its 1,146-mile (1,844 km) trip between …


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The Portland Amtrak lounge hasn't been updated in years — it's a very old-school lounge with fixtures reminiscent of a bygone era. 0 30 20 10 0. The commute time is expected to be reduced to 25 minutes when the new line is in operation. The railroad's hours of operation are approximately 4 AM to 3:40 AM.