USA Rail Pass
The USA Rail Pass allows holders to visit any destination within Amtrak's network, and offers a choice of validity periods. Like the equivalent European passes, the USA Pass is valid for travel throughout the USA, with three different options for how long you can travel for.
The USA Rail Pass is valid for a limited number of travel segments, which are effectively individual journeys. A travel segment begins when you get onboard a train/bus/ferry, and ends as soon as you get off that same vehicle. It doesn't matter how long or short your journey is, it will count as a segment; so minimise the number of small routes you take, and think about how to make your journey in the smallest number of segments!
The USA Rail Pass can be bought for three travel durations and segments:
15 days / 8 segments
30 days / 12 segments
45 days / 18 segments
Each Pass option is valid for travel within a 180 day period.
The USA Rail Pass is valid for travel on all Amtrak services except:
Thruway Motorcoach Connections
Canadian sections of routes operated jointly by Amtrak and VIA Rail Canada
On top of these limitations, travel is also limited to four trips along the same route, regardless of which direction of travel, or whether you get off the service at different destinations.
Reservations must be made by passholders on each train they plan to take; it isn't enough to simply turn up with your rail pass. Hard-copy tickets should be obtain for every route travelled; the pass isn't valid without an accompanying ticket. Tickets can't be bought onboard, so make sure you buy them in advance. There are a limited number of tickets allocated for Rail Pass holders on each train, so book as far in advance as possible to ensure that you get a place on your chosen service.
The USA Rail Pass entitles passengers to regular seated travel. You can upgrade to Business Class or Sleeping Accommodation for an additional fee (payable at time of ticket reservation).
Refunds for rail passes will only be issued if the pass hasn't been used, and the pass as well as any tickets are returned to Amtrak. If you've pre-booked sleeping accommodation, you may be charged if you cancel within seven days of your scheduled journey.
If you lose your pass, you should be aware that USA Rail Passes are non-refundable as soon as you use it for the first time. If you lose your pass, any tickets that you have pre-booked will become invalid. If you lose your tickets but not your pass, they may be reissued.
Unfortunately, rail passes cannot be used in conjunction with special offers (unless it says so in the offer conditions).
15 days (8 segments): Adult $389, Child (2-15) $194.50
30 days (12 segments): Adult $579, Child (2-15) $289.50
45 days (18 segments): Adult $749, Child (2-15) $374.50
When you buy your pass, you will be asked when you plan to first use your pass. This date must be within a year of you purchasing the pass.
Passes can be picked up from Amtrak stations, and you will need to specify the date you plan to pick up your pass. If you fail to pick up your pass on or before the first date of travel specified previously, your pass will be cancelled.
How to Buy a USA Rail Pass
USA Rail Passes may be bought online through the Amtrak website, by telephone, or through your local travel agent.
Customers in the USA: 1-800-872-7245
International Customers: (001) 215-856-7953
Passes can be picked up from any staffed Amtrak station, by showing your Confirmation Number and appropriate ID.
Once you have bought your pass, you can reserve tickets for specific journeys, even before you arrive in the USA (if you aren't already there!).
International passengers should send their name, desired travel date(s), USA Rail Pass Confirmation Number, and details of the train you want to catch to firstname.lastname@example.org before arriving in the USA, or telephone (001) 215-856-7953.
Passengers from the USA can call 1-800-872-7245 to speak to a reservations agent.