All Aboard! Today is National Train Day, a say to celebrate the romance, efficiency, and history of trains. Not only is train travel an important part of American history, it continue to be a cornerstone of transport for many of our citizens. So get out there are ride the rails. Here are 10 reasons to travel by train now.
With approximately 500 destinations in the United States and Canada, serving 46 states (including the District of Columbia), it is easy to understand why Amtrak riders reached 31.2 million people in 2012.
Trains are an energy-efficient form of travel: Last year Amtrak decreased electricity and natural gas usage, in addition to developing multiple energy reduction plans. In a press release statement, President and CEO Joe Boardman assured riders that “Amtrak is committed to providing environmentally sustainable and energy efficient service across our national network.”
Amtrak doesn’t just claim efficiency; research validates their green mission. The U.S. Department of Energy Transportation published an Energy Data Book in 2012 that states travel on Amtrak trains is 17 percent more efficient than air travel, and 34 percent more efficient than travel by car.
4. Beautiful Scenery
Not only is Amtrak energy efficient, they also offer rail routes that will give you the views of a lifetime (here are the 8 best routes). Whether you want to travel just up the coast, or take a journey across the nation, there are breath-taking options for you to enjoy. Stay tuned to our website for a guide to the best itineraries available.
Amtrak runs a SmartFares special that offers 25% off one-way coach fares with new deals featured every week. The savings run Tuesday through Friday and are only available at Amtrak.com.
Discounts are available for children, seniors, AAA members, Active Military personnel, NARP members, Students, and Veterans. Check the Deals webpage for more information.
7. Rail Pass Adventures
If you are planning a longer journey, there are Rail Pass Adventure rates that are good for 15, 30, and 45 days. This option requires pre-planning, as you have to book a certain number of segments in advance of departure. I took a month long journey several years ago and enjoyed it immensely; it was affordable, and I got to see a lot of the country. Visit the USA Rail Passes page for detailed information.
8. Multi-Ride Ticket Options
For those of you wishing to use the train as a commuting option, or just want to take shorter routes, there are Multi-Ride Ticket options available with monthly, ten-ride, and six-ride pass options. This is especially useful for those who live near big cities and have to travel for work. For a break down of offers see the Multi-Ride Tickets page.
9. Vacation Packages
Amtrak also offers all inclusive vacation packages and Regional Rail Tour deals, many of which focus on National Parks, or historic landmarks. Visit AmtrakVacations for booking information, or check out the Regional Rail Tour page for links to package information.
The first passenger train ride was in 1830 and covered a distance of 13 miles from Baltimore to Ellicott’s Mill, Maryland. It wasn’t until Over a century later, in 1971, we established the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, and created Amtrak, our first rail service dedicated exclusively to passengers.
With more than enough reasons to jump aboard, Amtrak has options to cover every type of train vacation imaginable. Their website is extremely user friendly and is stocked full of need to know information about dining options, sleeping options, and even entertainment offerings. Please take the time to experience the romance and beauty of a scenic train ride, and celebrate National Train Day by booking your adventure today.
For additional information on train travel, please see our Train Archives
By Ashleigh Whelan for PeterGreenberg.com