Large cities often have a correspondingly large transit system which includes trains, subways and buses. Of these systems, the train system is often the longest route in the city and may even extend into the suburbs. The various systems usually offer connections from one system to the other.
Taking a train can be a good way to commute to work, take a long vacation or business trip, or enjoy a scenic route for a fun trip. Planning the trip can be a daunting task for those who are unfamiliar with trains. Thankfully, there are many online sites that will serve as guides to first-time train travelers.
Passenger Train Routes
Passenger train routes differ in that they transport passengers rather than freight. Many cities offer their own unique train systems. Amtrak is an intercity train system that services different cities.
Amtrak has routes that traverse the US. The routes run east and west across the Midwest and West, north and south near the coasts, and east and west through the Gulf states. Amtrak also has multiple commuter routes in the Washington, D.C. and West Coast areas. Many large cities have public transit routes that service the suburbs and the inner city.
A train ticket can be an online ticket, a physical paper ticket or a pass card. The type of ticket purchased will often depend on whether the traveler is using the train system for commuting or taking a long-distance trip. If commuting, a pass card may be a better value than a single ticket. If taking a trip, the time frame between ordering the ticket and the travel needs to be considered in order to decide whether to have the ticket mailed or delivered electronically. Tickets can be purchased at the train stations as well.
Train Ticket Pricing
Tickets can usually be purchased via a kiosk, online and at the gates, similar in manner to purchasing airplane tickets. Many times they can be loaded onto cards. Commuters can usually purchase a city pass for a discount. Discounts may also be available for visitors if buying multiple tickets. Ticket prices for city transit systems do not fluctuate; however, Amtrak ticket prices do.
Amtrak is the only intercity train system in the US and has many routes across the country. Amtrak trains offer amenities such as dining cars, sleeper cars, snacks, baggage storage and a few services, with some of these options depending on the train that is taken. Some of the routes are for long distances, but some in large metropolitan areas are shorter, commuter style routes and trains.
Tickets can be purchased online or at the train stations. The prices fluctuate from day to day and tend to be more expensive the closer the travel dates are to the time of purchase; this is unlike a city transit system that has set prices. Different classes of rides are priced differently and sleeper cars are priced separately from the basic train ticket.
Top 5 Routes for "Train Tickets"
- Amtrak The Amtrak site is a well-designed site that offers easy navigation on its pages. Basic information such as routes, schedules and ticket reservation is presented, but there is also a great amount of useful information about the Amtrak experience, dining cars, sleeper cars, the train stations, baggage and many other Amtrak features.
- Wired This site discusses a report published by the University of Minnesota's Center for Transportation Studies. The report lists the cities with the ten highest rated public transit systems. The article describes the report and has useful information about the various methods of transit.
- Railroad.net This site is a wonderful message board and forum full of information from people who love and know everything about trains. One bonus is the ability to join the train community and meet some new people while finding ticket deals.
- USAToday Planning any type of trip is essential for good success. While this article is about traveling on Amtrak, the information that is presented is useful for any train travel.
- Thrillist This site discusses the best scenic train rides that are available in the US. There is plenty of information on the routes, and there are beautiful pictures of the trains and scenery.