SCOCO Project Administrator Tyler Snortum-Phelps and his family love to travel by train and want to remind you how fun, and green, train travel can be! In terms of carbon emissions, train travel is the clear winner over flying. Per-passenger-mile emissions for rail trips can be as little as half those for an airplane trip. And you'd need to put at least 3 people in your car for your automobile emissions to be less than an Amtrak vacation.

In addition, airports put a tremendous toxic burden on the surrounding landscape, with particulate matter from exhaust and the many chemicals used ending up in local soil and waterways.


BUT, this earth-friendly mode of travel also happens to be the most fun and relaxing way to go! Coach seats on Amtrak long distance trains are as roomy as First Class on an airplane. And you can get up and walk around any time you like.

You'll also see beautiful scenery that you can really look at, since you're not worrying about driving. Much of the train tracks go through areas where there aren't even any roads. There are observation cars on most trains where you can get a great view. The observation cars feature lots of food as well, from quick snacks up to full meals. And the dining cars are a very fun way to eat, and the food is actually pretty darned good!

The price evens compares much more favorably with air travel. If you book early, you can often get much cheaper fares that airlines, and you can stop in smaller cities that don't have an airport, or if they do, would be very expensive to fly to.


Lastly, Tyler and his family appreciate the pace and “sense of time” of train travel compared with flying. You can really get a sense of how vast the United States is, and how beautiful and varied the geography is of the land you pass through. They've developed a much deeper appreciation of the forests around Mt. Shasta, or the red rock country of Utah, than they ever could have by flying over!

Visit for routes, fares and all the details. And if you're travelling to Canada, Via, the Canadian rail system, has packages that connect with many Amtrak lines.

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  • I've started taking the train to Sacramento for work, as well as to Roseville to visit my family. I have found it to be reliable, pleasant, and a great way to spend time with a colleague, friend, or just look at the beautiful view of bay, delta, and agricultural abundance of our state. I knew it was a good action for the environment, but was not aware of just how much impact this choice can make. Thanks, Tyler!

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