News report | | 23-05-2022 | ±5 minutes reading time

Travelling across the country is quintessentially American. Amtrak is a passenger train system in America. In this article, you can read more about the history of Amtrak and how to apply for your ESTA.

Amtrak history

Have you ever taken a train journey for leisure before? Would you like to experience the same in the USA? Now you can, when you travel across America with Amtrak. Even though the railway system in America has been around since 1800, the Amtrak system only took off in 1971. Last year, Amtrak celebrated its 50-year existence. Over the course of its history, Amtrak has made passenger rail transport possible throughout the country. Although Amtrak has gone through quite an economically and politically turbulent history over the years, it still stands today. The name Amtrak is a combination of the words America and track.

Amtrak today

Joe Biden is incredibly passionate about Amtrak. Last year, he signed a trillion-dollar infrastructure bill, of which $22 billion went directly to Amtrak. With this large amount, he wants to help improve crumbling tunnels, old train cars, and the situation at Amtrak stations. Furthermore, he believes that Amtrak will open more opportunities for communities around the U.S. He is convinced that this will create more jobs. He also believes that the railway system in the U.S. is lagging behind other countries, such as European and Asian countries. Therefore, he hopes that these improvements will have a positive impact on the Amtrak railway system in America.

During the pandemic, about 50 per cent of the people did not travel with Amtrak. This had a noticeable negative impact on the company. Now that the world is recovering from the coronavirus pandemic, Amtrak is being used more often.

Amtrak amenities

In addition to a seat on the train, Amtrak offers many extras. For example, you can book a private room for your journey, with a bed and private toilet. There are several private carriages available that are spacious and comfortable enough for the duration of your journey. You will be more rested in these rooms than in an ordinary seat. This is an ideal way of travelling if you plan to travel several days on the Amtrak. It is also possible to have dinner on board these trains. Of course you can bring your own snack, but if you want a hot meal, you can have it on board during your journey with Amtrak. There are also carriages with large windows, so you can see the landscape pass by while enjoying a cup of coffee.

Places to discover with Amtrak

There are around 500 destinations in 46 US states that you can reach via Amtrak. Therefore, when planning your route, consider how much time you have for your trip, your budget and the specific US destinations you definitely want to visit. Some popular Amtrak routes are:

  • Northeast Regional: includes highlights like Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and Roanoke.
  • Empire Builder: includes highlights like Chicago, Minneapolis, Glacier National Park, Seattle and Portland.
  • Sunset Limited: includes highlights like New Orleans, Houston, Tucson, Phoenix and Los Angeles.

You can check the Amtrak website for more destinations and specific information about the different ticket prices. You do not need to visit the embassy to apply for an ESTA. You can easily apply for it online. This also reduces the costs for an ESTA and is just € 39,95.

Amtrak langs de westkust naar San DiegoAmtrak takes you along the west coast of America to San Diego

Advantages of travelling by train

Travelling by train is more efficient and better for the environment than travelling by car, plane or bus. Amtrak also remains consistent in its commitment to sustainability. In addition, during your journey with Amtrak, you don‘t have to worry about stopping for gas, or being stuck in a traffic jam. In addition, travelling by Amtrak is one of the best ways to get around the US, as travelling by train allows you to see more than travelling by other means of transport. It is a fun adventure for everyone, whether you are travelling alone or with friends and family.

How to spend time on the train

Itʼs always advisable to bring something to do on the train. Here are some suggestions on how to kill time on your Amtrak adventure:

  • Technological ideas: organise the pictures and files on your digital devices, watch a TED Talk/news/film/stand-up comedy or series, listen to music or a podcast, send messages/call friends or family, plan your holiday itinerary and take pictures of your Amtrak adventure to remember all the wonderful memories.
  • Non-technological ideas: meditate, read a newspaper/magazine/book, learn a foreign language, start a new creative hobby such as knitting/sewing/embroidery/colouring/sketching, talk with the other passengers seated next to you, create a diary, write a story or comic or daydream while staring out the window and slowly watching the American scenery pass by.

Apply for your ESTA

If you decide to travel with Amtrak, make sure you apply for an ESTA well in advance. From the moment your ESTA is issued, it is valid for two years In addition, passengers with a valid ESTA can travel to America an unlimited number of times and stay in the country for up to 90 days per visit. This will certainly give you enough time to travel an Amtrak route and see many sights along the way. Come aboard and start your Amtrak adventure today!