Compared to Asia and Europe, train connections in the USA are treated rather neglected. Although the rail network has made a significant contribution to the continent’s success, innovations remain in short supply. Since the introduction of express train traffic between the metropolises in the late 1960s, time has stood still.
Airlines, cars and bus connections dominate the traffic culture and the travel market. CNBC offers very good documentation on the development of rail transport and the lack of progress in the USA.

Nevertheless, there are train routes that could hold their own and represent a long tradition. Strategic planning in advance is important for a planned train journey through the USA, as the number of most loss-making connections is manageable.

USA: Train journey across America. From Chicago to San Francisco

Video Credit – The Elevator Channel – Train ride from Chicago to California.

The largest American railway company Amtrak offers the California Zephyr, one of the most famous long-distance trains in the country. This connection leads from Chicago to Sanfrisco or Oakland. The trip goes through 7 states: Nebraska, Denver and Nevada are the longest sections. The train rarely reaches a maximum speed of 240 km / h along the entire route. Most of the time, the traveler has to make do with speeds of around 140 km / h. For comparison: The Japanese Shinkansen drives 350 km / h over long stretches. After all, the German ICE reaches over 300 km / h on the high-speed roads. China is even planning a new Transrapid. At 600 km / h, the top should cover distances of 1,000 km in 2 hours.

Old trains: Hardly any wifi, but nice outlook

America is still far from such dimensions. The trains are often several decades old. Wifi is rarely available. The California Zephyr takes 53 hours to cover the 5,600 km route. The spectacular nature prospects make up for a long journey. Large sections lead through the Rocky Mountains.
The price for a single ticket starts at around € 150. Sleeping cabins with their own shower & toilet are significantly more expensive.

For longer journeys through the USA, a Railpass can be worthwhile, which enables train journeys of several days / weeks at a special price.
It is recommended to regularly check Amtrak promotions to get cheap train tickets for the USA trip. With a little luck, a ride for 2 people in the private compartment is available from $ 193. Otherwise, it is worth booking ahead. As with the saver prices for train tickets in Europe, significant savings can be made on tickets purchased in advance.

Canada: Vancouver to Toronto

Video Credit: The new travel

Similar to the USA, the train network in Canada is getting a bit old. Modern high-speed trains are non-existent. The Canadian provider VIA Rail offers the train route The Canadian from across the country from Vancouver to Toronto. The trip takes a little over 4 days. In the meantime, with many tickets it is possible to leave the train and continue the journey to a later one. Instead, somewhat older, slower trains dominate the offer. A cruising speed of 170 km / h is never exceeded, which can also be an advantage in the beautiful landscape. The pace is much lower on long stretches of the route.
Passengers can choose between the Prestige, Sleeper Plus and Economy classes.