GA Voice


- Adalei Stevens

The U.S. leaves much to be desired where train travel is concerned, but the original choice of cross-country transporta­tion can still satisfy one’s desire to feel like a classy, well-traveled individual. There are sights to be seen across the country, and there’s nothing like a domed observatio­n car to give you a 360° view of the Rocky, Smoky, or Grand Teton Mountains. Environmen­tally, trains are responsibl­e for less than three percent of all gas emissions from transporta­tion, emitting 75 percent less greenhouse gas than cars. Rail travel is also the most reliable method of transporta­tion. Adverse weather and environmen­tal factors that affect alternativ­e modes of transport are less likely to set back rail trips. The original way of American cross-country travel guarantees beautiful sights and plenty of time to relax (along with some of the best sleep of your life).


Amtrak, the primary operator of passenger rail services, offers more wheelchair-accessible accommodat­ions than independen­t railway companies. Offered on a first-come, firstserve­d basis, Amtrak guarantees wheelchair­accessible bathrooms in Coach cars and overnight rooms in Sleeper cars. Amtrak also automatica­lly applies a 15 percent discount for guests requesting a wheelchair seating space.


Amtrak has several packages allowing you to visit the most beautiful sights America offers. The Northern Rail Experience begins in Chicago, stopping in Seattle, Northern California, and San Francisco before returning to Chicago. Over the nine-day trip, you will experience the Pacific Coast and Midwest like never before. This rail trip follows significan­t portions of the historic Lewis and Clark trail and many sightseein­g opportunit­ies in Seattle, Northern California, and San Francisco. The ticket price per adult starts at $1,849 and includes three nights of hotel accommodat­ions, five nights on board Amtrak, and one dinner. Buy tickets and learn more at amtrakvaca­


If you love the Coastal South and weeping willows, Amtrak offers a six-day experience of two beautiful Southern cities: Savannah and Charleston. At $1,199 per adult, this trip includes sightseein­g in Charleston and Savannah, where you will visit Rainbow Row, the Battery, Andrew Low House, and River Street. This trip also offers a riverside plantation tour and sightseein­g cruise, with overnight accommodat­ions via hotels. If you want to feel refreshed and well-fed, this Southern tour is the remedy to your postsummer blues. Buy tickets and learn more at amtrakvaca­


Alaska Railroad offers a variety of summer and winter packages. Ranging from one- to 11-day trips, you have your choice of sights and experience­s.


The Denali in a Day package offers a guided drive from Fairbanks to Denali, a visit to the Murie Science and Learning Center, a guided nature walk (or snowshoe), and a visit to the river community of Nenana on your way to Denali National Park. Denali National Park encompasse­s six million acres of wilderness, including the tallest mountain in North America. You’ll ride back to Fairbanks on the Aurora Winter Train for breathtaki­ng sights of The Last Frontier. At only $315 per person, this is an affordable option for anyone visiting Alaska. Buy tickets and learn more at alaskarail­




The New England Autumn Foliage Tour is an eight-day round-trip experience, departing from Boston to Kancamagus Highway, Vermont, and Mystic, Connecticu­t. Before returning to Boston, you’ll ride the Conway Scenic Railroad, Cog Railway, Amtrak’s Vermonter, and Cape Cod Central Railway. This package includes dinners, sightseein­g, and ample time for self-guided and group tours at Mystic Seaport Museum and Newport Mansion. This trip is perfect for viewing New England’s enviable fall foliage display, which remains unmatched on the Kancamagus Highway. Tickets start at $2,495 per person and include hotel accommodat­ions for seven nights and twelve meals. Buy tickets and learn more at vacationsb­


Smoky Mountain Rail Adventure starts in Nashville, with a guided sightseein­g experience, including many landmarks of the Music City, such as the Grand Ole Opry and RCA Studio B where legends like Elvis Presley and Dolly Parton have performed/ recorded. The nine-day trip includes three scenic rail excursions and sights of the Great Smoky Mountains and Biltmore Estate. The ticket price, $2,895 per person, includes hotel accommodat­ions for eight nights and ten meals. The trip, concluding in Asheville, offers transporta­tion to the airport to help you get home safely. This trip is perfect for Southerner­s and anyone who wants to know the mountainou­s region of the Smokies better. Buy tickets and learn more at vacationsb­

There are various ways to travel in style, and trains are as classic as they get. As the lowest emitting way of transporta­tion, you’ll be able to enjoy your travels without hurting the environmen­t. If you’re planning a trip for this fall (or next), consider a train trip to get you there.

 ?? PHOTO BY SHUTTERSTO­CK.COM / JACOB BOOMSMA ?? Amtrak Train crossing through the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
PHOTO BY SHUTTERSTO­CK.COM / JACOB BOOMSMA Amtrak Train crossing through the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

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