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Long-distance trains travel as far as 2,800 miles and pass through as many as 12 states.

An Amtrak long-distance train typically consists of sleeper cars, coach cars, a diner car and/or a lounge car.

During FY 2009, an average of more than 74,000 passengers rode on up to 300 Amtrak trains per day.

My 30-Day Train Adventure

Travelin Aneu

by Susan Zieleniewicz


I am currently disabled from a ruptured cerebral aneurysm. I wanted to visit friends and my sister who took the time to visit me when I was in ICU. My destinations were Seattle, Philly, Atlanta, Santa Fe and Santa Barbara.

After printing out an Amtrak Route Guide, I found it made the most sense to travel around our country clockwise. As an estimated start date I chose a year-and-a-half post-injury, February 15, 2009. Next, I printed out a calendar and started filling in times of departures and arrivals and hours on the train. I wanted to spend a few days at each destination.

I purchased a 30-Day USA Rail Pass and upgraded to sleeper accommodations on any portion of the trip that was longer than nine hours. My whole trip averaged $62 a day. What a bargain for such an amazing adventure.


As my itinerary fell into place my excitement for my train adventure continued to grow. I carefully planned my wardrobe so I was able to have two carry on bags and did not need to check luggage.

I had such a wonderful trip. I met so many amazing fellow travelers and Amtrak personnel are so nice. You cannot learn that kind of nice at customer service school; it seems that all the Amtrak employees I encountered were inherently nice.

In Virginia, on the Cardinal, a young serviceman in full uniform boarded the train and paid for his ticket. After going to his seat, another passenger got up and not knowing how much the ticket was, told the train conductor he wanted to pay for the serviceman's ticket to say thank you. The train conductor and passenger split the cost of the ticket.

Traveling by train is definitely the human way to travel. I feel 100% more patriotic after my trip. We live in such a beautiful country.

If you have the time, I highly recommend a train adventure. All aboard.