USA Rail Pass
Ready to create your own adventure? Taking the train across America with the USA Rail Pass is an excellent way to see the United States from a different point of view. There are over 500 destinations in the Amtrak system and all you have to do is choose how long you want to travel.
Sounds great, doesn't it? Let's get started with the basics. Read on for all the details.
- Advance purchase your USA Rail Pass.
- Make your travel reservations.
- Visit a station to pick up your USA Rail Pass and your tickets.
- Start your travel and enjoy the journey.
Which USA Rail Pass Option is Right for You?
The USA Rail Pass is not intended for use as a commuter pass.
- Amtrak.com: You can purchase USA Rail Passes at any time here on Amtrak.com. A major credit card is required.
- Your Local Travel Agency: You can purchase USA Rail Passes by contacting a travel agent with direct online access to Amtrak tickets and passes.
- USA Rail Passes are not available for purchase onboard trains.
Do I Need Tickets and Reservations?
Yes. Your USA Rail Pass is not a ticket. When traveling on a USA Rail Pass, you must have a ticket and a reservation for each train you board. You must make reservations and pick up your ticket(s) before boarding any train.
Reservations for train travel should be made as far in advance as possible; seats available for USA Rail Pass passengers are limited on each train. We do not recommend waiting until the day of departure to make your reservations since there is a greater chance that seats allocated for the USA Rail Pass may not be available on your desired train. If your plans are not flexible, non-USA Rail Pass seats may be available at an additional cost.
Pass prices are subject to change and are not guaranteed until actual travel reservations are made.
How Do I Get My Tickets?
- Make Reservations: For travelers outside of the United States, send your name, desired travel date(s), your USA Rail Pass Confirmation Number and the train(s) on which you want to travel to firstname.lastname@example.org prior to arriving in the United States, or call (001) 215-856-7924 during regular business hours (Monday - Friday, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm ET).
If you are already in the United States or Canada, call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245) and speak to a reservations agent. Travelers outside of the United States and Canada, call (001) 215-856-7924.
- Pick-up Pass and Ticket(s): Paper tickets are issued for the USA Rail Pass and all travel segments. You can pick up your pass and tickets at any staffed Amtrak ticket office in many Amtrak stations by showing your USA Rail Pass or Pass Confirmation Number. Passes may only be picked up at staffed stations.
Timing and Validity
- After you advance purchase your USA Rail Pass on Amtrak.com, you have one year to exchange it for a paper USA Rail Pass and begin travel.
- Once you are issued a paper USA Rail Pass, you have 330 days to complete your travel.
- Once your first travel segment is reserved, you must complete your travel within the selected travel duration of the pass. The travel duration period begins on the first date of travel, not the date on which the reservation was made.
What Valid Documents Do I Need?
Travel on Amtrak requires full identification. A valid passport or US issued identification card, such as a driver's license or picture ID card, is required. Learn more about Passenger Identification requirements.
What Else Should I Know?
What is a Travel Segment?
Amtrak considers a travel segment any time you get on and then get off a vehicle (train, bus, ferry or other allowable leg) regardless of length.
Because we don't have a direct route from Washington, DC to Oklahoma, City, OK, you could ride the Capitol Limited train from Washington to Chicago (segment 1), then ride the Texas Eagle train from Chicago to Fort Worth (segment 2) and finally ride the Heartland Flyer train from Fort Worth to Oklahoma, City (segment 3). This journey from Washington to Oklahoma City would use three of your allowable segments.
To travel from Spokane, WA to Portland OR, you could ride the Empire Builder train directly to Portland using one segment or you could ride the Empire Builder train to Seattle (segment 1) and then ride the Amtrak Cascades train from Seattle to Portland (segment 2). Both journeys take you to Portland but use a different number of your allowable segments.
Each segment booked counts toward the total number of segments permitted for the pass.
Can I Cancel My Pass?
The USA Rail Pass is only refundable before travel begins. A full refund will be given within 24 hours of purchase. A 25% cancellation fee will be applied if canceled prior to the issue of tickets or at least two days before the scheduled departure. If not canceled two days before the scheduled departure, the ticket is forfeited and no funds can be applied toward future travel. The pass, and all tickets issued with the pass, must be turned into an Amtrak ticket agent no later than two days before the date of the first use written on the pass. Substantial cancellation fees apply when sleeping accommodations are canceled less than 15 days in advance.
What if I Lose My Pass or Tickets?
Lost or stolen USA Rail Passes are not refundable or replaceable after travel begins. All tickets already issued against the pass become invalid if the pass is lost, even if the tickets are not lost. If only tickets are lost (but not the pass), then new Amtrak tickets may be issued using the pass. If the tickets have a dollar value, then they must be repurchased.
Can I Upgrade?
The USA Rail Pass entitles you to travel in regular Coach class seats. On some trains, you can upgrade your Coach seat to Business class or Sleeping Car accommodations for the appropriate surcharge.
Are Children's Fares Discounted?
- Children aged 2 - 12: Children 2 to 12 years old ride for half-price when accompanied by a full fare-paying adult. One child is permitted per adult fare.
- Children under 2: One child under 2 years old may ride free with each fare-paying adult.
Are There Any Other Travel Restrictions?
The USA Rail Pass is valid for travel on all Amtrak trains except:
- Auto Train
- Acela Express
- Thruway bus connections (7000-7999 series)
- The Canadian portion of trains operated jointly by Amtrak and VIA Rail Canada.
Travel is restricted to four one-way trips between two cities, and to all cities in between, over the same route. For example, the following trips would use up the four trips over the Washington, DC to New York route segment:
- Trip 1: Washington, DC to New York
- Trip 2: New York to Washington, DC
- Trip 3: Washington, DC to Philadelphia
- Trip 4: Philadelphia to Washington, DC
If you are already in the United States or Canada and need more information, call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245). Travelers outside of the United States or Canada, call (001) 215-856-7924.
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