Frequently Asked Questions

How far in advance to I need to make a reservation?

Many tours sell out, thus it is recommended that you make your reservation as soon as you’ve made your decision.

Where can I join a tour?

Most tours begin and end Chicago. We can arrange your connection to/from Chicago from your nearest Amtrak station or airport.   You may also join a tour en route at any Amtrak station included in the tour itinerary.

How do I make a reservation?

Simply call toll free 888-777-6605 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern Time.  You can also make a Reservation Request on our website. Check out our Request A Reservation page »

How much is the deposit?

Most tours are $200 per person; tours that include cruises are $500 per person.

What types of payments are accepted?

We accept most major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover), personal checks and money orders.

When is the remaining balance due?

For most tours the balance is due 75 days from departure.  Tours that include cruises are due 90 days from departure.

Do you offer travel insurance?

Upon enrolling we will include a brochure from Travelex along with your invoice.  The rates are quite reasonable and we highly recommend it. Click on the Travelex icon at the bottom of the page to get more information.

Viewliner Roomette vs Superliner Roomette?

Both roomettes are sitting rooms by day that transform into sleeping rooms at night with upper and lower beds.  The biggest difference between the two is that the Viewliner Roomettes (Crescent, Lakeshore Limited, Cardinal, Silver Star, Silver Meteor) have a lavatory in the room.  Superliner Roomettes (California Zephyr, Empire Builder, Coast Starlight, Southwest Chief, City of New Orleans, Capitol Limited, Texas Eagle, Sunset Limited)  do not have a lavatory in the room.

Can I bring my pet?

Only certified service animals are permitted. Service animals are animals that are trained to perform a specific task for the benefit of a person with a disability. You may be asked what task(s) your service animal performs for you.

I see several tours offer a “Fly Option”, does it include airfare?

The fly option does not include airfare; however America by Rail is a fully accredited ARC/IATAN agency and thus can arrange the best rates and routings.

Are there electrical outlets in coach?

There are some, but they are sporadic and as such we cannot guarantee that your seat will have one.

I have a c-pap machine?

Many of our customers travel with c-pap machines. Amtrak Bedrooms and Roomettes have electrical outlets; however, power disruptions are common.

I have a long layover in Chicago, what can I do?

This vibrant city has much to offer.  Gray Line (800-472-9546) offers a variety of sightseeing tours and has an office in the station.  The Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower), is about a block from Union Station.  Navy Pier and the Magnificent Mile are a short cab ride away as are the major museums.

Where can I park my car in Chicago?

Chicago Union Station Self Park is located adjacent to the station. 312-786-9525

What is the highest point (elevation) on the train route?


EMPIRE BUILDER – 5,215 feet at Maria Pass near Glacier Park
CALIFORNIA ZEPHYR – 9,239 feet at Moffatt Tunnel 50 miles west of Denver
SOUTHWEST CHIEF – 7,587 at Raton Pass at Raton, NM
SUNSET LTD (Texas Eagle) –4,653 feet southeast of  El Paso, TX
COAST STARLIGHT – 5,122 feet 400 miles north of Sacramento
THE CANADIAN – 3,711 feet  east of Jasper
SKEENA – 3,711 feet east of Jasper

Looking for other elevations?  Try one of these websites:

Can I bring alcoholic beverages on board the train?

You may bring aboard your own private stock of alcoholic beverages subject to the following limitations:

  • You may consume private stock alcoholic beverages only in Sleeping Car accommodations for which you have a valid ticket.
  • You may not consume private stock alcoholic beverages in any public areas.

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