Train travel is one of the most efficient forms of transportation. However, in North America, traveling by rail is not particularly systematic or comprehensive. It’s difficult to get an overview of what’s available. Thankfully, there are several good books on North American train travel, which I read recently. Here’s a brief review:
USA By Rail gives a great guidebook to the U.S rail system. This book is full of information on almost all the rail lines in the US, but you won’t find any photographs or maps in this book — just the facts. The 7th edition of this book is coming out later this month.
The book Great American Rail Journeys was a companion to a series on PBS. It highlights some of the best rail journeys on this continent with numerous photos and maps. It’s a coffee table book, so if you want to get a sense of rail travel at its best, this is a good introduction.
A companion to Great American Rail Journeys is the book Eight Great American Rail Journeys: A Travel Guide. This pocket-sized book fills in all the practical travel information about the rail routes covered in Great American Rail Journeys.
The Trans-Canada Rail Guide is a very comprehensive guide to rail travel in Canada. It’s full of detailed information on trail routes and destinations, and it has nice color photographs of routes. It’s obvious that the author has first-hand knowledge of the routes and destinations she covers.