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on June 23, 2000
An excellent book which tells you all you need to know. I travelled all over North America by train last summer and found "USA by Rail" terrifically useful, especially for its clear and detailed route guides. These add so much to a journey by telling you in advance what to look out for and explaining the background to the things you are seeing. The chapter for visitors from overseas was very helpful and there's fascinating information about railroad history as well as lots of practical tips for finding accommodation, booking tickets and making reservations. The previous reviewer must have been looking at an earlier version of the book because I found the third edition (published last year) to be fully up to date so far as Amtrak routes are concerned. This edition also has a competition inside to win free rail passes. I can recommend USA by Rail to anyone visiting North America and thinking of travelling by train as it will add hugely to your enjoyment and understanding. An inspiring read in every way.
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on April 22, 2003
My yearly travel on Amtrak starts with the most recent copy of this book. I have traveled every Amtrak route and for knowing what to look for and when, it's indispensible. I might have missed some of the best sites or picture opportunities had I not had this companion by my side. Easy to read and with times to look out of which side of the train you're ready to see some of the most interesting sites of this beautiful country and also capture them on film. I read ahead and highlight the sites I'm most interested in, then just have to look for my highlights as I travel. I discovered this book by accident, now I won't leave home without it.
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on September 3, 1998
This is the book I'd take along on a rail journey although I also own Jim Loomis book (which I rate a 5 star). Every route (some are out of date) is reviewed with meticulous attention to all of the sights along the way. There are many good traveling hints for foreign travelers, too. While the style of writing is on the dry side (hence the 4 stars rating), the information is excellent. I do not consider this book as redundant if one already has the Loomis book...rather....its information is complementary since this book is much much more detailed regarding what is to be seen. Loomis gives more emphasis to train riding in general. I would recommend this book as the one of choice for foreigners already familiar with trains.
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on December 17, 2003
I've used this book as a guide on several lengthy Amtrak journeys, including a tremendous cross-country route from Florida to Los Angeles, and also on VIA Rail trains in Canada. The tips for accommodation and sightseeing were particularly useful as it meant I didn't have to lug around too many other books as well. USA by Rail gives all kinds of information for the journey and to help when planning routes and bookings in advance. The amount of detail is truly impressive. There are even articles about the building of the railroads and about steam trains you can ride now. The maps are very good, too. More photographs would have been nice but this is a minor point. The book is essential for travelling by train anywhere in North America, especially if this is a new experience for you.
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on June 12, 2001
Traveling by trains can be a lot of fun and is an inexpensive, romantic and relaxing way to travel. This guide can help you plan your trip and will save you money, too. It has a good index and resource listing.
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on October 24, 2006
This book gives you all sorts of handy tips for a train trip in the US and Canada. You learn about getting a seat in the middle of the car for napping, away from the noise of sliding doors. It goes into quite a bit of detail on the amenities on different coaches (viewliners, heritage coach, superliner) so you know whether to book a roomette or a deluxe bedroom or a family bedroom.

There's a section of info especially for overseas travelers.

Then it gets down to business, describing the towns and sights along the routes with notes like these:

*The grey granite spires of Castle Crags appear to the right.

*A Chrysler factory appear to your right before the train enters Chula Vista Mountain Tunnel.
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on January 31, 2002
This is fine as an armchair read as well as to take on a cross-country trip. There are chapters that will fascinate the railroad buff but it's also a great guide for the general visitor, with very pertinent advice.
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on December 7, 2001
Some books are indispensable and this is definitely one of them. Lots of people are traveling by train now who are new to the experience and this guide is practical as well as highly inspirational, making it a great companion on any train journey.
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on November 6, 2005
This book is a complete description of the passenger services offered by rail in the United States and (despite the title) in Canada as well. The book covers all of the named train routes, the commuter routes, the special trains like the American Orient Express, steam powered trains and more.

Each train route is covered by a map and by a list of the cities along the route with mileage between them. Each town or city is further described with a bit of its history, a bit of what you can see from the train and other points. It makes for an interesting book to read as you ride along.

The book is published jointly in England and in the United States. It is intended in part as a guide for Brits, so it has comments on things such as American currency. All in all, this is the complete Amtrak story, except of course for things such as the current disruption in service down around New Orleans as a result of the hurricane.

If you're thinking of a trip somewhere by train, I recommend it highly. I've taken several myself over the last few months. It's cheaper to get a round trip ticket on the train than it is to buy fuel to drive just one way. See you on the train.
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on February 24, 2003
I've traveled the USA a lot by train, which is enjoyable, doesn't cost much and makes it possible to visit many places that are otherwise more of a problem to see (such as the Rocky Mountains, the Grand Canyon and desert country). Train travel is quite different from anything anything I've encountered before so it was great to have the Bradt guidebook to plan my trip and help me find my way around. The book is right up to date with the latest trains, including Amtrak's superb high-speed Acela (capable of 150 mph), and has excellent route guides for all long-distance trains in the US and Canada. The associated USA by Rail website also has useful free information, including rail pass prices and tips from other travelers. Highly recommended!
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