I think Amtrak gets a bad rap.
I've heard many people complain about the train service and while it may not have as extensive a network as the European train system and while it may not have the luxury of some of the upscale specialty routes to be found around the world, for me, it has a lot to offer.
This time last year I took a trip from Vancouver to LA on the train. (You can get some of the details here: Vancouver, SF and LA by Train – what I spent in eleven days.) Amtrak has 17 special routes. The route I took last winter is called the Coast Starlight. It runs from Seattle to Los Angeles and there's something special about taking a route from beginning to end.
The Coast Starlight in Photos
Now the photos here were taken through the window showing dirt and light refractions but I really think they're worth sharing so that you get a sense of this trip. While I love a road trip, what I like about the train is that I see a wider range of landscapes and different angles on a city – and I have time to contemplate them given that I'm not driving. The Amtrak specialty routes offer a real slice of Americana
So here you go… the Coast Starlight in photos.