THE BLOG
03/30/2013 06:44 pm ET Updated May 30, 2013

12 Things You Don't Know About Amtrak

12) Amtrak serves full, cooked-to-order meals served on real dishes aboard all long-haul routes. These always include a vegetarian selection and often feature regional specialties. No airplane food zapped in a microwave in their dining cars.

The full service kitchen on Amtrak's Empire Builder

The full service kitchen on Amtrak's Empire Builder. Elevators are used to send the entrees up to the dining room so every dish is fresh and piping hot.

11) The Empire Builder and Coast Starlight host wine and cheese tastings. The samplings are always from farms and vinyards along the route.


10) Snacks, quick meals and beverages are also available in the cafe car... or if your timing is just right, we have seen a pizza get delivered to the train while we were stopped at a station.

 

9) There are really nice passenger lounges in most larger city stations with comfy chairs and couches, wifi, drinks, TV, and priority boarding for sleeper, first class, and top rewards club passengers. Feel like a VIP.

The sleeping car lounge for train passengers for Amtrak at Chicago's Union Station
The sleeping car lounge in Chicago's Union Station

8) Coach seating is WAY more comfortable than other modes of transportation. More legroom, bigger seats, and usually a power outlet for every passenger. Wifi is showing up on many routes. Some trains have quiet cars where no cell phones are allowed and music or games must use headphones. Shhhhh!


7) There are different types of private rooms in the sleeper cars. Roomettes, provide for up to two passengers, while the Family Bedroom allows room for the kiddies. Some configurations have private bathroom and showers and features for passengers with disabilities are available. The ingenious designs make for both riding and sleeping comfort.


6) For those in the sleeper car without a private bath, there are showers.

5) You are not stuck sleeping on the train station floor if you miss a connection. We asked a wonderful lady -- traveling with a group of Red Hatters -- what happened when she was five hours late getting into Chicago.



4) You can get breakfast in bed. All meals are included (even the ones brought to your room!) in the sleeper car and Auto Train fares. Be nice and tip your attendants!

Veronica is served breakfast in bed on Amtrak!

3) Many of the routes that pass through National Parks feature guides holding talks as a part of Trails & Rails Partnership Program with the National Park Service.

2) Bikes are welcome. Bring your bike aboard on several routes or check it as baggage on others. Unfortunately, no riding in the aisles or between cars is allowed.

1) Amtrak is environmentally friendly. Train travel is the most energy efficient mode of long distance transportation, 14 percent more efficient than domestic airline travel and 31 percent more efficient than auto travel on a per-passenger-mile basis. Plus, Amtrak recycles.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

YOUR TURN: Are you a big train fan like we are? What do you like about train travel? Did we inspire you to see the U.S.A by train?