Take the train – three reasons to love train travel

Amtrak-Empire BuilderI opt for the train among travel options. ‘Tis a chance to slow down, or detour to relish the journey from one destination to another. I know because I’d taken the Amtrak “Empire Builder” train home to Minnesota for years, and I had taken the “Southwest Chief” to Lawrence Kansas to begin my Writer in Residence expedition.
     Train travel is romantic in comparison to other alternatives, and that indeed a fine reason for this romantic to recommend it. Rather than driving long stretches of highway, on the train you may settle nose down to your favorite book, or raise eyes to fellow travelers while being carried from one destination to another. Rather than make hall to the airport that extends along the outskirts of town, you may find way to the train station. Train stations generally are centrally located. Plus, many offer free parking to accommodate proper goodbyes or hellos among departures and arrivals.
     Amtrak is the intercity passenger train service here in the U S of A. Here are more specific reasons I recommend train travel.

Three reasons to choose train travel
1. Comfort. Amtrak standard or Coach seats are broad and offer respectable legroom. Take it from this long-legged gal. I may stretch my legs and tuck my feet under the seat in front, sans disturbing the person seated there.  Carry-ons are cozied above, or if I want, set by my comfortable legs.  If I need a place to set things I may unlatch a tray to hold my writing book or laptop and still have room to set a glass of wine.
2. Mobility. Passengers are welcome to walk around. We may mosey to the Lounge Car, to the Dining Car or to the restrooms. Coach cars have lower level restrooms and some have a “Lounge” for gals who need to freshen their makeup.

Southwest Chief travels from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Southwest Chief travels from Chicago to Los Angeles.

3. Options. We may go to the Lounge Car lower level for concessions like snacks and wine or other beverages, sit at window-side tables to play cards or chat. Or we may ascend to the upper level to face panoramic views of terrain we pass.
     Depending on the schedule of ride, passengers may make Dining Car reservations.  Diners are seated four at a table; every table with a window view. Dinner options are pleasant and reasonable, and should we desire we may order a bottle of wine.
     In train travel, we let go hurry. We elect elbow room and leg room and scenery as we traverse to our destination, allotting time for ourselves or for meeting fellow travelers.

When you plan train travel
1. Confirm reservations as soon as possible. Tickets are at lowest prices starting at open availability. After a percentage are reserved, prices raise.
2. Be flexible with dates. Especially around the holidays, trains fill fast. The day before Thanksgiving is the busiest Amtrak travel day of the year, for example, and the Sunday after is the second busiest.
3. Overnight trains offer Sleeper Car reservations. These include Dining Car meals.

More information
— For routes, schedules, and fares call 800-USA-RAIL or visit Amtrak.com.
— Amtrak offers special rates for seniors, students and military personnel. More info here.
Plan to be a frequent train traveler and sign up for Guest Rewards.

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