Railroads used to be the major means of inter-city travel, but they have been largely replaced by airlines. Amtrak is the largest national passenger railroad. Two classes of service are offered: coach and sleeping car. If you are on an overnight train, you might want sleeping accommodations, which you will have to reserve in advance. Coach fare will seat you on a first come, first served basis. Some special trains, like the “Acela” in the Boston-New York-Washington corridor, will require a seat reservation. Trains vary as to the services offered. Some have bar and dining cars, while others offer no food or beverages.
Commuter trains are specialized railroads that bring people into cities from the suburbs and then back home on a daily basis–a good alternative to automobile travel. Commuter railroads have only one class of travel and neither take nor require reservations. You can purchase your ticket at an urban or suburban station or on the train, though there might be an extra charge if you boarded at a station where the ticket office was open. Commuter trains run frequently during rush hours, with less frequent service during the rest of the day, on weekends and holidays, or at night. Some commuter trains have sandwich and bar service. Many commuter trains ban smoking altogether. Those that do allow smoking restrict it to certain cars.
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