In his new ITV show, comedian and actor Billy Connolly travels from Chicago to New York on a 6,000 mile scenic loop by rail, taking in 28 states and all four corners of the country. The first episode last week saw the humorous Glaswegian taking the Empire Builder from Chicago to Seattle, an Amtrak route that goes through the Great Lakes state of Minnesota, across the plains of North Dakota, past the dramatic scenery of Big Sky country and the Cascade Mountains to the Pacific Coast.
Written by: Emily Morrison / 02 April 2016
As Connolly points out himself, 'to travel across America by rail is always an event'. From the hustle and bustle of grand terminal stations to the liveried porters and restaurant car meals, there’s always something going on. And that’s before you start looking out of the window at the passing landscapes! Have a look below at some of our favourite Amtrak routes.
Hugging the coast on and off for over 1,300 miles, the romantically named Coast Starlight runs from Seattle down the Pacific seaboard to Los Angeles. Along the way, you can take in the grandeur of the Cascade Mountains and the towering redwood trees for which Northern California is famous.
Take the train through America’s heartland on this journey of discovery from Chicago to San Francisco. This journey takes you from the Midwest through Denver, over the front range of the Rockies, across the Continental Divide to the Utah Desert, the High Sierras and the City by the Bay.
Starting in LA, this epic rail journey takes you from Southern California, through the unique rock formations and cactus strewn deserts of Arizona, past Pueblo Revival architecture in New Mexico, under the snow-capped peaks in Colorado and then through the plains of Kansas, Missouri & Illinois.
City of New Orleans
This train route shuttles between the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico, taking in some of the greatest cities in America’s musical history along the way. You'll also see the forests of Tennessee and Mississippi along with the famous swamps of Louisiana.
Lake Shore Limited
The Lake Shore Limited follows some of the USA’s most beautiful lakes and waterways. Traversing the shores of Lake Michigan, Lake Erie, the Erie Canal, the Mohawk River, the Finger Lakes and the Berkshires, the line splits in Albany offering alternate routes to either Boston or New York.
Our consultants at My America Holiday can put together your own tailor made itinerary, picking the routes and stops that you want to make. Remember, if you choose sleeping car accommodation (rather than just a seat) on the long distance services, you'll get all your meals onboard included plus, during Spring and Summer, Volunteer National Park Service rangers provide a guide to sections of the route in the Sightseer Lounge/ Café.
Lake Shore Limited: Cleveland (OH), Erie, Buffalo (for Niagara Falls), Syracuse, Utica, Boston or New York.
Blogger Profile - Emily Morrison
Emily joined My America Holiday in September 2014 and writes about new holiday ideas and exciting destinations for the website (all of which adds to her ever present wanderlust). New York is one of her favourite cities in the world and her American dreams include driving all the way along Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica in an open top Chevy and catching the Coast Starlight train from LA to Seattle: As far as she’s concerned, it’s all about the journey.