By Molly Colestro

Traveling by train gives you the opportunity to see more of the countryside. New York, Miami, Chicago, San Francisco — all exciting cities — but there is so much more to see and do in between. And the best way to experience all of it is on a train.

Train travel makes your journey a part of your vacation by giving you the freedom to walk around, enjoy a pleasant meal, meet new friends or simply relax and take in the ever-changing U.S. landscape. You can create some exciting packages traveling by train. Another advantage with train travel is that children receive 50 percent off the coach ticket.

Amtrak is our train service within the United States. Many passengers plan their long-distance trips by choosing to travel along one or more of the famous American train routes in the Amtrak route system.

Follow the storied path of the City of New Orleans down the Mississippi from Chicago to The Big Easy, or ride the mighty Empire Builder from Chicago to Seattle, through America’s great Northern Plains. Some other famous routes include the Coast Starlight and the Southwest Chief, or take the Capital Limited (Washington, DC to Chicago) route.

Amtrak’s Southwest Chief runs daily between Chicago and Los Angeles, through the vast expanse of the fabled American West. You’ll be mesmerized by this region s beauty and allure. Your trip will take you across the Mississippi through eight states — past wheat fields and ranches, missions and pueblos, mountains and deserts. Carving through curving canyon passages only a few feet wider than the train itself, you’ll see spectacular landscapes and pristine vistas not visible from interstate highways.

Experienced travelers say the California Zephyr (Chicago to San Francisco) is one of the most beautiful train trips in all of North America. As you climb through the heart of the Rockies, and further west through the snow-capped Sierra Nevadas, you may find it hard to disagree. The Zephyr runs daily, coursing through the plains of Nebraska to Denver, across the Rockies to Salt Lake City, and then through Reno and Sacramento into Emeryville/San Francisco.

Reserve a spacious coach seat for your journey or, for a more luxurious experience, reserve a roomette or bedroom in one of the Superliner sleeping cars. Sleeping accommodations are available on most long-distance routes. Amtrak trains traveling long-distance routes typically use either two-level Superliner or one-level Viewliner train car equipment, each of which has sleeping cars with bedrooms arranged in various configurations.

Most sleeping car rooms are designed to comfortably accommodate two average-sized adults, one in each berth. Some rooms can accommodate more, like on Superliner trains, for example. Family bedrooms are designed to accommodate two adults and two children. Regular bedrooms (not bedroomettes, family bedrooms or accessible bedrooms) can be combined to create bedroom suites. In addition, lower berths in all bedrooms (but not roomettes) can accommodate two small adults or children, allowing up to three to share a room.

The purchase of sleeping accommodations is considered an upgrade to your regular rail fare. The charge is applied as an add-on, usually to the lowest rail fare available. When you share a sleeper, you will be charged only one accommodation charge for all parties sharing the sleeping accommodation. Each passenger pays regular rail fare. With the purchase of the sleeping accommodations, your meals are included.

Train travel is a very popular way to travel throughout Europe, also. Actually, it is less expensive to travel between European countries by rail than by air, and there are many high-speed trains available throughout Europe. Another great area to travel by train is throughout Canada. So, wherever it may be, you can make a great adventure!

Don’t hesitate any longer and give Molly’s Travel Agency a call at (716) 699-5847 or e-mail with your ideas and let’s start working on turning your dreams into your next vacation and letting a travel professional do the work for you.