Rail Usage:
Ways to Optimize A 30-Day
North American Rail

Unlike a 1000-mile airline ticket that gives you a few frequent flyer miles, buying a 30-Day North American Rail pass can give you many days and thousands of miles of travel. This writer, perhaps jeopardizing a personal magic carpet by sharing the hidden ops, traveled ? in Fall 2005, # in Spring 2006, # in Fall 2006 and 25,058 miles in Spring 2007. A number of ways have been outline with maps and itineraries, e.g., weekends, vacations, must-sees and tours. Click on the below links for more information as well as signup forms to signal tentative interest.

Some couples will find it easy to match 30-day passes. One partner might take a business trip at the start while the other takes the business segment later. And, worse comes to worse, just buy a Rail and split the cost.


The simplest way to use a Rail is for weekend visits. Leave Friday night and return Sunday night or early Monday morning. With the cost of one business trip one could get three weekenders which, with a personal leave or vacation day, could be extended from three to four days. Three day holidays can become four-day vacations (best to travel the day before and after the weekend so as to have more room on the train.)

Travelers using rail-passes purchased for business travel should not have to claim the personal use of the pass as an incentive to encourage energy efficient, environmentally friendly mass transportation. If the politicians can subsidize ethanol, they can authorize no 1099's for rail pass usage.

If you are a civil war buff, you could travel on the train, reading the book that focuses on the battlefield of interest. If you are a theatre buff, you could catch a train to NYC for the day and evening, catching a late night return train. Sunbunnies can get to Miami cheap during the winter months. Museums on the cheap? How about college visits? What does it cost to fly to colleges versus the cost of a Rail that is good for 30 days? Spend some time with the kid.

Vacations: Nine-Day

More extensive than weekend railtrips are vacation. One could leave on Friday and return after nine or tens days on the train. Several itineraries are provided which show one can, in nine days, travel and return between two geographical extemes. With most extremes, you can have more than one route by which to use your Rail. The two primary extremes is from the Northwest (Vancouver, BC) to the southeast (Miami) and from the Northeast (Halifax) to the Southwest (Los Angeles). By traveling in a group, you can benefit from a hostel with a greater sense of security.

Another extreme vacation is to Churchill, Manitoba, where in the winter you can be eaten by a polar bear or in the summer you can swim with the Beluga whales.

It is important to note that most of these trips allow only one day of vacation at the destination point with the train trip being part of the vacation. If you want more destination, add more vacation day. Equally important is how if you live a day closer to an extreme point, e.g., Washington, DC., you get more days at the destination.

One could make the business trip the beginning, middle or end of an extended Rail. If you had two-days on the other side of the continent, you could take the train over the weekend to your destination. Once there, you could begin a eleven or twelve day vacation with no upfront travel time.


A number of custom tours have been intinerarized. While designed for special groups, there is no reason why one or more people could not buy a 30-day pass independent of the special group to join the tour.  It's a free country. Should the popularity of the tours become sufficient, a train independent of Amtrak with its own power units will be started with additional cars passengers other than those in the specific group, e.g., students. There are many private rail tour companies.

Must-Sees: Grand Canyon, Niagra Falls and Riverwalk

There are three places in the United States that one should see before they die: the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls and Riverwalk. A 30-day Rail would allow one to see them in a swoop, on a loop or as part of one of the writers tours.

Student Tour: Map ... Itinerary ... Signup forms

A 28-day circuit (map & itinerary) will allow students to experience North America as well as meet other students from different nations and culture. Students will be accepted based on some criteria of individual responsibility. Students will sign a contract of personal responsibility listing various do's and don't's for public safety and well-being. No Amtrak coach personnel will manage the coaches as students are expected to manage the coach. On day fifteen of a student's tour, they have household duty, that is, the vaccum the aisles and clean the public areas, e.g., anti-bacterail wipe the hand rails and doorknobs. Cleaning toilets is another duty on day 15.

Students on the train will be able to fulfill, if they have one, their government requirement. A lecture will be piped in each day on local historical events of political interest with stops at key points, Springfield, IL, Ottawa, ON, and Washington, DC. In addition, a 28-course in global warming will provided.

Initially, the tour will be tried with two cars, or about 100 students. That is one hundred students per month. The starting point is Chicago. Students from the days 5 to 25 may at their own expense travel to Chicago to have 28-days plus the time travel to their city. When the initial train leaves city Chicago, it should have more than just a few students from the Chicago starting point.

Combining North American and international students as well as lamprey travelers, the Student Tour could grow into a train with twenty cars for students and several cars for non-students with a total passenger count of over 1,000. This seems strange today but was on the small side for long-distance trains of the past. In 1968, on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I rode the City of New Orleans out of Chicago with a consist of 30 passenger cars that was packed. At 70 seats per coach that would be over 2000 passengers.

It is important to note that the car and engine maintenance will be through corporate sponsorship. Sponsors will be given first rights to providing any services, e.g., meals on wheels. Among the sponsors that could benefit from a revenue stream would be a burger chain, a pizza chain, a dinner chain, a news organization, a car rental, a hotel chain, an insurance firm. Ideally, a standalone train--Student Limited or Democratic Capitalist Unlimited--will make the circuit with more flexibility and freetime by more nighttime travel with mid-day visits to cities and sights.

It is hoped that a rail connection to Mexico City can become part of the Road Scholars circuit with the rail pass being truly, a North American Rail. Mexico City could be the gateway for international students from Central and South America. Freight travels on rails to Mexico City. Why not students?

If you are a high school student who would like to be a rail student, you can sign up. If there is sufficient interest the organizational plans will be initiated. On the form, you can designate the month that you desire to travel. Summer months cost more. With a free on-board internet wifi system, you should be able to keep up with your coursewok including tests proctored by the on-board tour supervisor. train rides (military)

If you are a non-student and would like to work as a supervisor or as a lamprey passenger, you can also sign-up.. Supervisor will be route or train specific, e.g., Capital Limited, with the Supervisor receiving a free return pass. Accompany each supervisor will be a first enlisted service member. Young people can benefit from talking with those who chose to defend our nations.

Writers: Compass Directions

From the beginning in purchasing 30-day passes for the additional mileage, reading and writing has always been the primary focus of this rail rider. Four itineraries are available that meet the requirement of entering either Canada or the US

Writers Tours
Tour Days Miles Map Lists Privot Cities Must Sees


13000 Blue North Seattle, Vancouver, Prince Rupert, Churchill, Toronto, Halifax, Chicago Niagara Falls


11000 Yellow South New York, Washington, Miami, New Orleans, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, San Antonio, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto Grand Canyon
Niagara Falls
River Walk



Red East New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, Miami, New Orleans, San Antonio, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, New Orleans Toronto, Montreal Niagara Falls
River Walk,


13000 Green West Chicago, Dallas/Ft.Worth, San Antonio, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Seattle, Vancouver,Toronto Grand Canyon
Niagara Falls
River Walk

These routes vary in length with the option of stayovers or sidetrips not listed as pivot cities, cities where trains are changed. Free days are alloted for traveling to and from the circuit if live away from the tour, e.g., a west coastie wanting to take the Writers East Tour. Other extra days can be allocated to spend more time in a particular city on the rail tour--stayovers, non-scheduled rests. or take an Amtrak Throughway bus to city not on the railline. Examples of sidetrips, e.g., Nacogdoches (TX), Truth or Consequence (NM), or Las Vegas (NV). To optimize your time, be sure to travel light so you can quickly leave the train and deposit your unneeded possession in a baggage room or locker (Small fees are required.) Don't leave any valuables in a baggage room for while most baggage room employees are honest, you can find yourself losing personal possesson--see Toronto Baggage. If it takes more than fifteen minutes to organize your traveling accoutrements, you have too much.

While these itineraries are free for one to use, it is requested that if you use a form that you make a donation to the Veterans Administration, McGuire Hospital, Volunteer Services, Richmond, Virginia, of at least one hour of wages.

As part of proving out the quality control a trip itinerarized that can only be called a masochist's dream. A forty-eight day train trip might be too much even for this rail supporter: map ... itinerary. Like the trip that was the origin of the term "Around the world in 30-days," the trip for masochists goes over 25,000.

Senior Citizens

Travel in groups of four ... split the hotel room or do a hostel group room. Take prunes. If the engineer cannot get the locomotive moving, offer your moving solution.

Needed changes in Amtrak operations

For Railes to become even greater, only two things need to be done.

  1. Passenger Trains have right of way over freight trains. Passenger trains save CO2 and America while freight trains carry the products of CO2 sinning and American economy demise.

  2. Sunset Limited needs to be restarted between New Orleans and Orlando.

  3. An Amtrak president that is not on loan from the freight industry.

By appointing wolves to shepard the sheep, the Bush administration has eviscerated many bureaucracies, programs and nations. Amtrak is one of them along with the military and the nation of Iraq.

Individuals or groups can use the provided itineraries without any formal association with the proposed programs through the signup forms.