The Complete Guide To Taking The Train From California To Texas

Traveling across the country by train can be an unforgettable adventure. If you’re considering taking the train from California to Texas, you’re in for a scenic ride across deserts, mountains and prairies on historic rail lines like the Sunset Limited. To help you plan your train trip, here is a comprehensive guide with everything you need to know to take the train to Texas from California.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: The most direct train route from California to Texas is on Amtrak’s Sunset Limited line. The train runs three days a week from Los Angeles to New Orleans, passing through southern Arizona, New Mexico and Texas along the way. The journey takes around 48 hours one-way. You can book tickets, sleeping accommodations and meals on Amtrak’s website.

Choosing the Best Train Route from California to Texas

When it comes to traveling from California to Texas by train, there are several routes to choose from. Each route offers its own unique experience and scenic views along the way. Let’s explore some of the best train routes to consider for your journey.

Taking Amtrak’s Sunset Limited from Los Angeles

If you’re starting your journey in Los Angeles, one of the most popular train routes is taking Amtrak’s Sunset Limited. This route takes you through some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the Southwest.

As you travel east, you’ll pass through desert landscapes, majestic mountains, and charming small towns. The train stops in cities such as Tucson, El Paso, and San Antonio before reaching its final destination in Houston. This route offers a great balance of convenience and scenic beauty.

Connecting through Chicago on the Southwest Chief and Texas Eagle

Another option for traveling from California to Texas is to connect through Chicago on a combination of the Southwest Chief and Texas Eagle trains. This route allows you to experience the beauty of the Midwest and the heartland of America.

You’ll pass through cities like Albuquerque, Kansas City, and St. Louis before reaching Chicago. From there, you’ll transfer to the Texas Eagle, which takes you through cities such as Dallas and Fort Worth before arriving in San Antonio.

This route is a great choice if you want to explore more of the country during your journey.

Alternate Long Distance Routes

If you’re looking for an alternative to the traditional routes, there are a few long-distance options to consider. For example, you can take the Coast Starlight from California to Seattle and then transfer to the Empire Builder, which will take you to Chicago.

From there, you can connect to the Texas Eagle to reach your final destination in Texas. This route allows you to experience the stunning beauty of the West Coast and the Pacific Northwest before heading to the Midwest and Texas.

It’s important to note that train schedules and routes may vary, so it’s always a good idea to check with Amtrak for the most up-to-date information. Additionally, it’s recommended to book your tickets in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, to secure the best prices and availability.

For more information on train routes, schedules, and ticket bookings, you can visit the official Amtrak website at

How Long Does the Train from California to Texas Take?

If you’re considering taking the train from California to Texas, one of the first things you’ll want to know is how long the journey will take. The duration of the train ride can vary depending on several factors, including the route you choose and any potential delays or schedule changes.

Let’s explore the different aspects of the train journey and how they can impact travel time.

Sunset Limited Direct Route Duration

The Sunset Limited is the Amtrak train that runs directly from California to Texas. It offers a scenic and comfortable journey, taking passengers through picturesque landscapes and vibrant cities. The duration of the trip from California to Texas on the Sunset Limited can range from approximately 35 to 45 hours, depending on the specific departure and destination points.

The direct route of the Sunset Limited covers a distance of around 2,000 miles, so it’s understandable that the journey takes a significant amount of time. However, many travelers find the extended travel time part of the charm, as they can relax, enjoy the views, and make the most of the onboard amenities.

Connecting Route Durations

If you’re looking for a faster option or want to explore more cities along the way, you can consider taking connecting routes. These routes involve transferring trains at specific stations, allowing you to break up the journey and potentially reduce travel time.

For example, you might choose to take a connecting train from California to a major city like New Orleans or Houston, and then continue your journey to Texas from there. The duration of these connecting routes can vary depending on the specific connections and layover times, but they generally offer a faster alternative to the direct route.

Delays and Schedule Changes

It’s essential to keep in mind that train travel, like any other form of transportation, can be subject to delays and schedule changes. Factors such as weather conditions, maintenance work, and unforeseen circumstances can impact the timeliness of your journey.

While Amtrak strives to provide reliable and punctual service, it’s always a good idea to check the train schedule before your departure and stay informed about any potential updates or changes. This way, you can plan your trip accordingly and make any necessary adjustments to your itinerary.

For the most up-to-date information on train schedules and potential delays, you can visit the official Amtrak website at It’s always wise to stay informed and prepared to ensure a smooth and enjoyable train journey from California to Texas.

Finding and Booking Train Tickets from California to Texas

Amtrak Ticket Classes and Fares

When it comes to traveling by train from California to Texas, Amtrak offers a variety of ticket classes and fares to suit your needs. Whether you’re looking for a basic seat or prefer a more luxurious experience, Amtrak has options for everyone.

The ticket classes range from economy to business class, and some trains even offer sleeper accommodations for overnight journeys.

As for fares, they can vary depending on factors such as the time of year, how far in advance you book, and the class of service you choose. It’s important to note that prices can fluctuate, so it’s always a good idea to book your tickets as early as possible to secure the best deal.

Booking Online, By Phone or At the Station

Booking your train tickets from California to Texas is easy and convenient. Amtrak allows you to book your tickets online through their website, over the phone, or at the station. Booking online is often the most popular option as it provides a hassle-free experience and allows you to compare fares and schedules.

Plus, you can choose your seats and even print your tickets at home.

If you prefer to speak to a representative, you can also book your tickets by phone. Amtrak’s customer service team is available 24/7 to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have. And if you’re old-fashioned or simply enjoy the experience, you can always visit the station in person to book your tickets.

Choosing Your Departure and Arrival Stations

When planning your train journey from California to Texas, it’s important to consider the departure and arrival stations. California has several major cities with Amtrak stations, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Sacramento.

Similarly, Texas has stations in cities such as Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio.

Depending on your starting and ending points, you can choose the station that is most convenient for you. Consider factors such as proximity to your location, parking availability, and any additional amenities or services offered at the stations.

Deals, Discounts, and Promotions

Traveling by train from California to Texas can be an affordable option, especially if you take advantage of deals, discounts, and promotions offered by Amtrak. The company regularly provides special offers for various routes, including those between California and Texas.

Keep an eye out for discounted fares, promotional codes, and seasonal deals. Amtrak’s website and social media channels are great places to find information about the latest promotions. Additionally, signing up for Amtrak’s rewards program, Amtrak Guest Rewards, can also provide you with exclusive discounts and benefits.

Remember, booking your train tickets in advance can also help you secure the best prices. So, plan ahead, explore your options, and enjoy your journey from California to Texas!

Onboard Accommodations: Coaches, Sleepers, Roomettes and Bedrooms

When taking the train from California to Texas, passengers have a range of onboard accommodations to choose from. Whether you prefer a comfortable seat, a cozy roomette, or a spacious bedroom, Amtrak offers options to suit every traveler’s needs and preferences.

Coach Class Seating

For those looking for a budget-friendly option, coach class seating is available on all Amtrak trains. These seats provide ample legroom and come with amenities such as power outlets, reading lights, and access to the train’s café car for refreshments.

While not as spacious as sleeping accommodations, coach class seating is a great choice for shorter journeys or travelers on a tighter budget.

Sleeping Accommodations: Roomettes, Bedrooms and Family Bedrooms

For a more comfortable and private experience, sleeping accommodations are available on California to Texas trains. Roomettes are ideal for solo travelers or couples, featuring a cozy space with two seats that convert into a bed, along with a small table, storage space, and access to a shared restroom and shower facility.

For those seeking more space and privacy, bedrooms offer a larger sleeping area with a private restroom and shower. These rooms typically include a sofa that converts into a bed, a small desk, and additional storage space.

Family bedrooms are also available, accommodating up to four people with additional bunk beds.

Accessible Accommodations for Disabilities

Amtrak is committed to providing accessible accommodations for passengers with disabilities. Trains are equipped with wheelchair-accessible seating and restrooms, as well as accessible sleeping accommodations.

Passengers with disabilities are encouraged to notify Amtrak in advance to ensure their specific needs are met during their journey.

Tips for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep on a train can be a challenge, but with a few tips, passengers can enhance their sleeping experience. First, consider bringing earplugs or headphones to block out any noise. Additionally, using a sleep mask can help create a darker environment for better rest.

Finally, dressing in comfortable clothing and bringing your own pillow or blanket can contribute to a more comfortable and restful sleep.

For more information on Amtrak’s onboard accommodations and to book your California to Texas train journey, visit the official Amtrak website.

Dining, Lounges and Amenities on Amtrak Long Distance Trains

When it comes to traveling on Amtrak long distance trains from California to Texas, passengers can expect a variety of dining options, comfortable lounges, and complimentary amenities. Whether you’re looking to enjoy a delicious meal, relax in a cozy lounge, or stay entertained throughout your journey, Amtrak has you covered.

Meals in the Dining Car

One of the highlights of traveling on Amtrak long distance trains is the dining experience in the dining car. Passengers can savor a wide array of freshly prepared meals, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

From omelets and pancakes in the morning to steaks and pasta dishes in the evening, there’s something to satisfy every palate. Plus, the dining car provides a great opportunity to socialize and meet fellow travelers as you enjoy your meal.

Cafe Car and Lounges

In addition to the dining car, Amtrak long distance trains offer a cafe car where passengers can grab a quick snack or beverage. The cafe car is stocked with a variety of options, including sandwiches, salads, snacks, and a selection of beverages.

For those looking for a more relaxed atmosphere, some trains also feature comfortable lounges where passengers can unwind, read a book, or simply enjoy the scenery passing by.

Complimentary Amenities

Amtrak long distance trains provide passengers with a range of complimentary amenities to enhance their journey. These amenities may include spacious seating, power outlets to charge devices, and ample storage space for luggage.

Additionally, some trains offer access to private sleeping accommodations, allowing passengers to rest and relax during their trip.

Activities and Entertainment Onboard

To keep passengers entertained, Amtrak long distance trains offer a variety of activities and entertainment options. Travelers can enjoy panoramic views from the observation car, watch movies or TV shows on personal devices using Amtrak’s free onboard entertainment streaming service, or simply relax and enjoy the journey.

Connecting to WiFi

In today’s digital age, staying connected is important for many travelers. Amtrak understands this and provides WiFi connectivity on many of their long distance trains. Passengers can stay connected to the internet, browse the web, check emails, or even catch up on work while onboard.

What to Expect During Your Train Trip to Texas

Taking the train from California to Texas can be an exciting and memorable experience. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or someone who’s never been on a train before, knowing what to expect during your journey can help you make the most of it. Here are some key things to keep in mind:

Depot Stops Along the Way

One of the great things about traveling by train is the opportunity to explore different cities along the way. As you make your way from California to Texas, you’ll have the chance to stop at several depots and experience the unique charm of each location.

From the bustling streets of Los Angeles to the historic beauty of San Antonio, each stop offers its own attractions and local cuisine. Take the time to explore these cities and immerse yourself in their culture.

Scenic Highlights

The train journey from California to Texas offers breathtaking views of the American landscape. As you travel through deserts, mountains, and open plains, you’ll witness stunning natural wonders that can only be fully appreciated from the train’s large windows.

Keep your camera handy to capture the majestic scenery along the way. Don’t forget to take a moment to appreciate the beauty of the changing landscapes and marvel at the diversity of the country.

Border Crossing Procedures

When traveling from California to Texas by train, it’s important to be aware of the border crossing procedures. As you approach the border, immigration officers will come on board to check your documents. Make sure to have your passport or other identification ready and easily accessible.

The process is usually smooth and efficient, but it’s always good to be prepared. Remember to follow any instructions given by the officers and ask any questions you may have.

Delays and Schedule Changes

While train travel is generally reliable, there can be occasional delays and schedule changes. Factors like weather conditions, maintenance work, or unforeseen circumstances can affect the train’s arrival and departure times.

It’s always a good idea to check the latest updates on the train’s schedule before your trip. Stay informed and be prepared for any changes that may occur. Remember, sometimes delays can lead to unexpected adventures and new experiences, so embrace the journey with a flexible mindset.

Taking the train from California to Texas is a unique and enjoyable way to travel. From the depot stops along the way to the scenic highlights and border crossing procedures, being prepared and knowing what to expect will ensure a smooth and memorable trip.

So sit back, relax, and get ready to embark on an amazing train adventure!

Arriving in Texas By Train

End Destinations Served

When taking the train from California to Texas, there are several end destinations served that you can choose from. The most popular ones include Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin. Each of these cities offers its own unique attractions and experiences, so be sure to research and decide which one suits your interests best.

Whether you’re looking to explore the vibrant music scene in Austin or indulge in the world-famous Tex-Mex cuisine in San Antonio, there’s something for everyone in Texas.

Deboarding and Arrival Process

Upon reaching your chosen destination in Texas, the deboarding and arrival process is usually straightforward and hassle-free. The train will typically arrive at the designated station, where passengers will be guided to disembark by the train staff.

It’s always a good idea to gather your belongings and be prepared to exit the train once it comes to a complete stop. If you have any questions or need assistance, the train staff is usually available to help.

Onward Travel Options

Once you have arrived in Texas, you have a variety of onward travel options to choose from to reach your final destination. Depending on the city you’re in, you can opt for public transportation such as buses or taxis to get around town.

Additionally, most major cities in Texas have reputable car rental services available, allowing you the freedom to explore at your own pace. If you prefer a more organized approach, there are also guided tours and shuttle services available that can take you to popular attractions and landmarks in the area.

For more information on train schedules, fares, and routes, you can visit the official Amtrak website at They provide comprehensive information and resources to help you plan your journey and make the most of your train travel experience.


With its roomy seats, scenic views and unique amenities, going by train can be a relaxing way to travel between California and Texas without the hassle of airports. Advance planning is key to getting good fares, booking accommodations and having essentials like snacks for your trip. Keep the tips in this guide in mind when booking your train vacation to Texas from California. Enjoy the journey and the amazing landscapes you’ll cross along the way!

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