• Pre-Amtrak U.S. rail adventures

  • Tell us where you were and what you saw!
Tell us where you were and what you saw!

Moderator: David Benton

  by EastCleveland
These days, lots of people rack up thousands of Amtrak miles by undertaking mammoth, coast-to-coast, multi-city rail adventures that involve traveling on multiple trains along many different routes. The general idea is to see America. The train trip itself is the vacation.

Does anyone know how prevalent this sort of thing was from the 1920s through the late 60s, before Amtrak came along?

Yes, I know individual trains like the California Zephyr have long been popular with "tourists." But have truly hardcore "9 long distance trains in 14 days" adventurers always been a part of American passenger rail? Or are they a relatively recent phenomenon?

Did anyone on this forum ever take such a trip prior to Amtrak?

  by LI Loco
My grandmother made such a trip in the early 1950s. Her itinerary included the 20th Century Limited from New York to Chicago, Santa Fe's Grand Canyon Limited to Riverside, CA, various trains to Vancouver, BC, Canadian Pacific's Dominion to Banff and the Soo-Dominion to Chicago. She told me the train through the Canadian Rockies was hauled by two steam locomotives.
  by eddiebear
In 1939 U. S. Railroads offered cross country round-trips, $90 coach, $135 first class (plus space charges). Go one way, return another. Lots of roads participated in the effort and multiple routings were available.
Up until late 1950s anyway SOO and CPR promoted the MOUNTAINEER from St. Paul to Vancouver and tour groups were sought.
B & O used Washington as a tour destination and actively promoted it.
In New England, the New Haven had Pilgrim Tours which promoted destinations on NH and its connecting lines and had package deals with hotels, etc.
Many roads had tour departments that could package transportation, transfers, hotels, etc. With a little tinkering, you could probably work with the tour department and modify their canned routings with one of your own.

  by Gilbert B Norman
Any of my "travel for travel's sake' trips in this life were either pre-Amtrak or overseas. With a few exceptions over the years, any of my Amtrak riding has been to get somewhere for a reason.
  by bill haithcoat
Oh, tons and tons of people traveled extensively in the old days, such trips as you mention. Note that there were many, many more trains and many, many more routes from which to choose. Yes, many of us took lots of trips such as you describe.

There were many Zephyrs, besides the CZ, many Eagles besides the Texas Eagle, many Chiefs besides the Southwest (fomerly Super Chief )then they there were the beuutiful yellow Union Pacific "City " trains, i.e. City of LA, SF. Portland , Denver and St. Louis.The Golden State and various Rockets on the Rock Island, R.R

On it goes. Much opportunity.