It’s winter time once again! Winter time means travel time. Winter time also means train time! Everyone has ridden on the train during the winter time before. There is an hora to winter train travel. At speed, the trains kick up snow, crossing over ice-covered rivers. The windows get a bit foggy from the cold air outside. It is all what makes winter such a magical time of year on the rails. The question is always asked; “What are the best winter train routes on the Amtrak system?”. Honestly, there are five. No shovel, no gloves, no problem.
At #5, it’s time to board the California Zephyr at Chicago’s Union Station. The California Zephyr travels between Chicago and Emeryville, CA. Experienced travelers say the California Zephyr is one of the most beautiful train trips in all of North America. The train climbs through the heart of the Rockies, and further west through the snow-capped Sierra Nevadas. The California Zephyr runs daily between Chicago and San Francisco, coursing through the plains of Nebraska to Denver, across the Rockies to Salt Lake City, and then through Reno and Sacramento into Oakland and Emeryville. It is a window view well worth it!
Moving eastward, there is a route on the Amtrak system with plenty of sightseeing, which doesn’t get the respect it deserves. At #4, the Capitol Limited runs daily between Washington, DC and Chicago. The train follows the historic B&O line on its journey through the Potomac Valley, past historic Harpers Ferry and the Allegheny Mountains into Pittsburgh. Leaving Pittsburgh, the train crosses into Ohio heading north to Cleveland, and then across Ohio and Indiana into the center of Chicago. This route is certainly without a doubt, photograph worthy.
Now, it’s time to pass through the Big Apple and experience #3. It’s time to head to Chicago aboard the Lake Shore Limited. A two-portioned train from New York and Boston, the train travels to Chicago via Albany, Buffalo, and Cleveland, later speeding along the south shore of Lake Michigan, the Mohawk River, and the Erie Canal, following a famous Native American Highway. During the winter, the snow on the rivers, paired with the cold air from Lake Michigan and Lake Erie, make the Lake Shore Limited the most unforgettable journey imaginable.
Long-distance train routes make awesome traveling experiences. During winter time, the northeastern routes have plenty to offer too. The Pennsylvanian, #2, and the Vermonter, #1, are two northeastern routes no traveler should pass up. The Pennsylvanian travels daily between New York City and Pittsburgh. Highlights include Pennsylvania Dutch Country, the famous Rockville Viaduct, the Allegheny Mountains, and the historic Horseshoe Curve near Altoona, PA. Having crossed the Susquehanna River on the Rockville Viaduct, passengers should keep an eye out for the thirty-foot replica of the Statue of Liberty, perched on an old bridge pier. With ice on the river, it’s a photograph opportunity well-anticipated.
When it comes to ski season, the Vermonter is the most picturesque winter train route ever. The journey aboard the Vermonter begins in Washington, DC and runs through New York City to Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. After changing power in New Haven, the Vermonter travels the Hartford-Springfield route, continuing north on the “Knowledge Corridor” through Holyoke, Northampton, and Greenfield. Vermont is renowned for the longest ski season in the East. Its world-famous ski resorts include Killington, Mount Snow, Smugglers’ Notch, Stowe, Sugarbush and Stratton. In Vermont, the scenery is mesmerizing. Speaking of skiing, the Vermonter is the only train where passengers can make ‘tracks’, making it the #1 Amtrak winter route.
Winter time has finally arrived. Now that the season has begun, winter train travel season has begun too. Winter is the most magical time of the year, with snow, cold air, ice, and hot chocolate coming to mind. Amtrak offers five of the most incredible winter routes ever. The California Zephyr offers passengers a view of the Sierra Mountains they’ve never seen before. The Capitol Limited gives passengers the golden opportunity to take in the glow of the blast furnaces and the twinkling lights of Pittsburgh. The Lake Shore Limited immerses passengers in a New York, Ohio, and Indiana state of mind. The Pennsylvanian and Vermonter together immerse passengers in wintry landscapes and plentiful mountain air to be savored time and again. Next time someone says, “Let’s drive to Vermont!”, it’s best to ask Amtrak for a ‘lift’.