It’s hard to imagine a more varied and dramatic landscape than the United States of America. From the Great Lakes of the north to the swamplands of the Deep South, the cactus-studded deserts of Arizona to the towering Rocky Mountains, travel in the USA is nothing short of spectacular.
These epic landforms have backdropped thousands of movies, and inspired a million journeys of discovery. And for a grandstand view of the scenery, the only way to travel is by rail.
Although historically trains have lived in the shadow of Americans’ great love, the automobile, rail is finally being recognised as the most economical, easy-going and scenic way to cross the States.
The US passenger rail service, Amtrak, serves more than 500 destinations in 46 states, over a 21,000-mile route network.
And with 18 iconic long-distance routes, from California to Vermont, you can expect to see all manner of panoramas unfolding past the trains’ wide sightseeing windows.
For longer journeys, you can enjoy convivial meals on board, and whisk through the night in comfortable sleeper roomettes. Some routes even pass through iconic National Parks, where rangers may hop aboard and provide a running commentary to passengers.
Wanted! Your loco photos
Want to jump aboard yourself? We’re looking for inspirational photos of rail travel from around the world, be it your local network or somewhere far more exotic.
The prize is the freedom of the US rail network: a pair of 15-day/8-segment Amtrak rail passes.
The winner and a companion will fly to New York courtesy of Trailfinders, the travel experts – voted top tour operator in this year’s Wanderlust travel awards – and then take an unforgettable ride on the rails.
Ten runners-up will receive copies of Bradt’s USA by Rail guidebook, the bible for US-bound train travellers.
Got great train photos?
We’re looking for photographs that capture the romance, drama, personality and scenic splendour of train travel. The pictures can be taken onboard a train, or (safely) as the train goes by. They can be abstract or traditional; and can be shot anywhere in the world (not just the US).
How to enter
Up to six photos can be emailed in as low resolution images to:
If short listed, a high resolution image will be requested.
Or sent up to six images as prints to:
Suite A, 55 Slant Gate, Kirkburton,
Huddersfield HD8 0QN
For more information, please contact Jane Wilson on 020 8948 2388 or email
email@example.com. For more details on Amtrak, visit www.Amtrak.com
The closing date is 31 March 2011 and winners will be announced at the end of May 2011. Judges from Amtrak, Bradt, Trailfinders and Wanderlust will decide the winners and runners-up. Good luck!
Terms & Conditions
The USA Rail Pass prize offer is for coach travel on Amtrak routes nationwide over any 15-day period. Sleeper accommodation is not included. Standard terms and conditions for this pass apply – check www.amtrak.com for details.
The USA Rail pass is not valid on the Acela Express, the Auto Train, Thruway motorcoach connections (7000-7999) or Canadian portions of trains jointly operated with VIA Rail Canada. The pass alone is not valid for travel: tickets must be obtained before boarding the train or a Thruway bus service.
The pass is not transferable, and may not be combined with any other type of discount or offer. The prize includes two economy class flights from London to New York, courtesy of Trailfinders. The flights are valid for departures 22 August to 9 December 2011 & 1 January to 31 March 2012. They are subject to availability and the winner and their partner must travel together.
All photos submitted will remain the photographer’s copyright. However, by entering the competition you grant Amtrak and the other sponsors the right to reproduce images, free of charge, in any communication, online or in print, specifically relating to this competition. Any further use will be by negotiation.
Wanderlust standard Terms & Conditions apply