Amtrak discount train tickets are just one of the many perks available when traveling by American rail. Officially called the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, Amtrak serves millions of people traveling on local routes and long-distance each year. Amtrak train fares offer a range of price points and seating types. Amtrak train travel has been available to the public since 1971 when the very first New York-Philadelphia train left New York Penn Station. At the beginning of the 1970s, Amtrak offered more than 183 trains serving more than 300 destinations around the United States. Today, there are Amtrak discount train tickets available for 500-plus stations throughout 45 states in America.
The Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad (which evolved into the Rio Grande Railroad), Southern railway, Georgia railroad, and Rock Island Railroad were all amalgamated under Amtrak and the company took over the routes. The few states where Amtrak train fares are unavailable include Wyoming, Hawaii, South Dakota, Maine, and Alaska, where the revered Alaska Railroad and White Pass & Yukon Railroad operate. Amtrak train travel is available each day and every hour of the year.
Amtrak Discount Train Tickets
Booking Amtrak discount train tickets is possible via a number of different methods. Amtrak’s website always offers some kind of current deal, whether it’s a window of opportunity for 20 percent-off tickets for select trains or preferential military discounts. Children ages 2 through 15 always get half-price Amtrak train fares. Students and veterans save 15 percent-off ticket fares every day. Seniors also gain the advantage of discounted Amtrak train travel on whichever route they choose. Though Amtrak can be unreliable—the trains share tracks with freight trains that sometimes bump them off route—they are still one of the most preferred modes of transportation. They provide a unique social interaction among passengers, present an eco-friendly means of travel, routes are often scenic, and train cars are spacious, making them perfect for longer railroad vacations or daily travel.
Multi-Ride passes are another convenient way to save on Amtrak train fares. The Two-Ride Flex Pass is good for 30 days and allows for two rides on specified trains. The Six-Ride College Pass is designed for use on Downeaster trains and are valid for a full year. Ten-Ride Tickets are also an option and are valid throughout three specified periods, depending on which is chosen, between certain trains only. The last option is the Monthly Ticket, permitting the passenger unlimited boarding on all trains for a one month period. These are all types of Amtrak discounts tickets designed to offer savings to more frequent riders and tourists. All tickets can be purchased from Amtrak stations, on their website, by calling an Amtrak agent, or at Amtrak Kiosks.
Amtrak also partners with select tour agents to offer valuable tour packages, including trips to Sequoia National Park, Hearst Castle, Yosemite National Park (where the famous Yosemite Railroad is), Monterey, Santa Barbara, and more. These train tours are created with many worthwhile discounts on hotels, car rentals, and Amtrak train fares. Amtrak also employs agents who will completely customize a rail vacation. Simply choose the destination, length of stay, and preferred attractions and an agent will arrange your entire getaway.
One of the best ways to save when touring the United States by rail is to purchase the USA Rail Pass, a 15-, 30-, or 45-day train pass offering innumerable train combinations, or the California Pass, which includes a week of unlimited travel over 21 days for little more than 100 dollars. Each week, from Tuesday to Friday there are Weekly Specials on selected routes, and there are always a dozen or so advertised specials on. Amtrak train travel is popular and passengers have access to a host of deals at any time of the year.
Image: Doug Riddell, Amtrak