Want To Be An Amtrak Resident?!

I mean, d’oh, who wouldn’t want to be, right? Check out the #AmtrakResidency program:

Amtrak is excited to announce the official launch of the #AmtrakResidency program.

#AmtrakResidency was designed to allow creative professionals who are passionate about train travel and writing to work on their craft in an inspiring environment. Round-trip train travel will be provided on an Amtrak long-distance route. Each resident will be given a private sleeper car, equipped with a desk, a bed and a window to watch the American countryside roll by for inspiration. Routes will be determined based on availability.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and reviewed by a panel. Up to 24 writers will be selected for the program starting March 17, 2014 through March 31, 2015.  A passion for writing and an aspiration to travel with Amtrak for inspiration are the sole criteria for selection. Both emerging and established writers will be considered.

Residencies will be anywhere from 2-5 days, with exceptions for special projects.

There is no cost to apply for the #AmtrakResidency program. For more information, please read our Official Terms.

It doesn’t really get more “one mile at a time” than that, does it? I’m going to apply!*


*this post is being written from an Alaska Airlines flight after having consumed several shots of Crater Lake Hazelnut Espresso Vodka — I reserve the right to change my mind in the morning

(Tip of the hat to Frequent Flyer University)


  1. Looking at the menus, I imagine the five-day residency could get a little monotonous in terms of dining…

  2. I can so see this being a perfect fit for you. Soon you’ll have flown all airlines (if not already). A little diversification is never a bad thing. Write about the experience of travelling accross America 35 000 feet lower than normal.

  3. Absolutely do apply! All great travel writers experience train journeys at some point in their careers and it will give you a chance to expand your perspective.

  4. Thoroughly enjoyed the “California Zephyr” from Chicago to San Francisco in a roomette last fall … from the station lounge (surprise) to the lie flat seat, scenery, smooth ride (2nd surprise), food/drink, service, and conversation (i.e., smooth ride results from ribbon rails) … can’t wait to read your review!

  5. Long distance travel on Amtrak can be fun. The key things to remember are that you can’t really be in a hurry to get there, and you need to have plenty of padding on any plans at your destination (including a flight home), because the long distance trains are particularly prone to lengthy delays. I took the Sunset Limited from New Orleans to Los Angeles in 2006, and while it was a great journey, delays during the last night and morning of the trip caused us to arrive in LA about six hours late.

    Still, it’s hard to beat for a comfortable, relaxing ride when you just want to disconnect and do nothing but watch the world go by for a day or two. I read a lot, watched some movies on my laptop (pre-tablet days), and hung out with other passengers. I had a roomette, which was quite comfortable for a two day journey for one person. I’d gladly do it again.

  6. I’m really intrigued by this “Each resident will be given a private sleeper car…”

    A private CAR? An entire car? Or just a roomette?

    If it’s an entire car, that’s the height of luxury travel… or at least it was in the days of Leland Stanford and J P Morgan. You should definitely apply!

  7. I guess it is a way of getting their name into the many travel blogs out there (for relatively small price).
    I wonder how unbiased you can be when you are given a “residency” to write about them and how unbiased will Amtrak be when deciding which report to publish vs. throw away.

  8. I took AmTrak ONCE…Never again. I thought it would be a fun journey from Ventura to Sacramento. Wow, was I disappointed. I could have run faster than that train went at times. Took 13 hours..I could have flown the same distance in an hour and there was only $1 price difference between taking the train and flying (at the time), but I thought it would be a “different” experience. Was I wrong!

    Watching paint dry would have been much more fun.

    Stick to flying. Take the train (in USA) only out of necessity. If you’re used to getting from one end of the planet to the other in the same amount of time, fly by all means. Really hated having to deal with “sea legs” after getting off the train to as well..Not a fun feeling!

  9. @SparkininCA, the reason for taking Amtrak on most routes is not to get there quickly. I would never take Amtrak in most of the country if I’m in a hurry.

    However, there are big exceptions to that rule. The Northeast Corridor is one; I live in DC and the fastest way for me to get to Philadelphia or New York is by train. It’s fast, reliable, and frequent. There are no traffic delays like I would have with driving, and it’s far less stressful. Even the “slow” Northeast Regional service runs around 100 MPH on portions of the trip between stations. There aren’t many stops, and most of them are less than five minutes in length, so it’s usually far faster than driving one of those trips on I-95. There are some other corridors in the Amtrak system with similar service.

  10. Per the terms, you agree not to “Disparage sponsor, its agencies, any other person or entity affiliated with the Program or products, services or entities that are competitive with any of the foregoing.”

    They give you a room they estimate to be worth $900 and you agree to give them positive press.

    And on most routes the room would go empty anyway…

  11. If you have the time, the experience of rolling in and out of downtowns and then across vast landscapes is really very enjoyable. If you travel far enough, you are in forests, then farmlands, then mountainsides, then deserts, then along the coast. Such a neat experience.

    I traveled from coast to coast on Amtrak 15 years ago, and it was one of the best experiences I had. The experience does seem to force you to slow down and be reflective, if you have the right personality for that. If you are always in a rush, it could drive you crazy.

    I do agree that you need to expect significant delays on the long distance trains.

    I did it in a coach seat, which had a lot of room on the double-decker cars.

    Good luck!

  12. I enjoyed the Portland to Seattle Amtrak journey in business class on the Cascades. In Philly am used to the NE Corridor trains which have an entirely different feel to them so this residency traveling across the US seems like an interesting idea for bloggers and those writers trying to have chunks of uninterrupted time. Seems like an adventure so why not apply –

  13. Well, for those that rather
    fly like a bird, lots of luck.

    Traffic bottlenecks to the Damn
    Airport, the Security, which keeps beefs up, Post 9-11.

    And a long walk to your gate.
    Plus, checking your bag.

    & now the first part, sitting to some greeting slob in addition to the you’re seated like a sardeen, unless you’ve got the air miles or means for business class!

    Then, on a rare ocassion, a Passenger or etc for what ever reason, causes for an Emergency Landing, take the Initiative, to what I getting at!

    & just trying to exit calmly Idiots screaming on their damn cell phone
    & which is childish behavior, which are those type of people, that can’t wait their turn to exit the plane!

    Now a distiance to get your bag, which adds up to 30 minutes, & a ridiculous cost to check your bag, unless eg; your in southwest or the means for business class!

    Planes runs late too. waiting to
    take off like a bird & a landing gate!

    Yes, Trains also runs late, often
    Freight Traffic, even tho, Amtrak previously had priority! Provided that it wasn’t already running late.

    Actually, the rare that whines on
    Amtrak being tardy are exactly the same type, that doesn’t criticize the airlines for running late.

    Those of us that aren’t in a real hurry, will enjoy the trip better. Usally, the Conductor Initiatives the explanation on why the Train is Tardy!

    Meanwhile, the Airplane Fans are in their seat like a sardine! I’ve read stories on how, the Airline was running late waiting for a gate to open & the Passengers were getting, yes, restless!

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