Are There TVs on Amtrak Trains?

As of 2022, Amtrak remains the most popular rail line for passenger travel in the United States. The company boasts 21,000 route miles across 46 states, not including Washington, DC and three provinces in Canada. One of the most popular questions regarding this company is, “Are there TVs on Amtrak trains?” The answer may depend on several important factors. 

Some Facts about Amtrak

Amtrak operates about 300 trains across the US and parts of Canada each day, and these trains travel to more than 500 unique destinations. Amtrak trains can move at speeds of up to 150 miles per hour, making them some of the fastest trains in the nation. Four commuter rail agencies and 17 individual states endorse Amtrak as their operator of choice for various state-supported services. The company also provides an energy-efficient means for commuting and long-distance traveling across the entire nation. 

Are There TVs on Amtrak Trains?

Are there TVs on Amtrak trains? The answer isn’t immediately evident when searching the transport company’s website. However, a trip through Amtrak Unlimited Forums and the information included on the company site does point toward the answer. 

In short, only the Viewliner Sleeper cars – private rooms that are only available on some trains – have a TV. The screen is very tiny, and it is not connected to any kind of cable or satellite service. Instead, Amtrak preloads these TVs with a small selection of three or four movies from which you can choose. 

How to Watch TV on Amtrak Trains

If you are taking a long distance trip and you want to watch TV on Amtrak trains, the best option is to bring your shows or movies with you before you board. Amtrak does offer Wi-Fi on many of its long-distance trips, but due to sheer volume, it bans high-bandwidth applications such as Netflix (and other similar streaming services). However, most of today’s popular streaming services – including Netflix, HBO Max, and even YouTube Premium – allow you to download a selection of video directly to your device. 

Many Amtrak passengers have found that preloading a tablet with downloaded movies and TV shows provided them with the best experiences in terms of watching movies and TV. If you are traveling Coach, Business Class, or First Class and you do not have a private room, you will want to make sure to bring devices for each of your traveling companions as well as headphones or earbuds so as not to disturb others. 

amtrak long distance
Jonathan Lee

Amtrak Train Features for Passengers

Amtrak offers its passengers a wide range of options in terms of travel accommodations. Some of the most notable options include:

  • Seating Options: Like many airlines, Amtrak offers various seating options including Coach, Business, and First Classes. Each one has its own unique set of benefits and amenities. 
  • Coach Class offers the basic train experience for passengers, and it is available on all trains except for the Acela, which runs between Washington, DC and Baltimore. 
  • Business Class provides some additional perks, including larger seats, extended legroom, and complementary non-alcoholic beverages. These passengers also receive 25% bonuses on their Amtrak Guest Rewards points perk. 
  • First Class is Amtrak’s luxury offering, and it provides at-seat service, priority boarding, onboard food and beverages, and access to station lounges in some locations in the Northeast. It also provides reserved seating as well as conference tables, Wi-Fi access, and AC outlet access. 
  • Private Rooms: Many long-distance Amtrak routes offer private rooms. These rooms contain two comfortable seats for daytime travel and two berths for sleeping at night. Additional perks include upgraded bedding and linens, private per-car showers and restrooms, and big picture windows for amazing views. 
      • These rooms come in a variety of styles, as well. Amtrak trains offer roomettes, bedrooms, bedroom suites, family bedrooms, and accessible bedrooms at a variety of different price points. 
  • Onboard Dining: Many Amtrak trains offer one or more options for onboard dining, including simple snack services, in-seat meals, and meal cars with fine dining options. Amtrak food facts – including nutrition information – are available online
  • Quiet Cars: Amtrak trains may also offer a Quiet Car, which is intended to provide a quiet retreat for those who need to work, make phone calls, or simply unwind without all the din and clamor inside the train cars. 
  • Wi-Fi: Some Amtrak trains offer Wi-Fi, which may or may not be complementary depending on the seating option and train you choose. 
  • Pet Travel: Amtrak will accommodate cats and dogs up to 20 pounds for trips that do not exceed 7 hours, though there are some restrictions. 
amtrak coast starlight
Glenn Beltz

Amtrak vs. Other Modes of Travel

According to information from the Bureau of Travel Statistics, about 56% of all long-distance travel in the United States is leisurely while 16% is for business and 13% is for commuting. Only one out of 10 long distance trips in America are carried out via some form of mass transportation, including Amtrak and other services like Greyhound, and surprisingly, only 7% of all long-distance trips are taken by air. 

If you are planning a long-distance trip, it is important to weigh all the factors that will apply to that trip. Amtrak is often one of the most affordable means for traveling long distance in the United States; in some cases, its prices beat those of Greyhound, the most popular long-distance bus service in the country. Just as you might ask, “Are there TVs on Amtrak trains?” ask yourself the following questions before deciding on a mode of travel:

  • How much does it cost? Cost is an important factor for most travelers, and the good news is that Amtrak is one of the most affordable options. It is often less expensive than the fuel you would put in your own personal vehicle, and it is almost always less expensive than air travel. 
  • How long will it take? Amtrak will almost always get you to your destination faster than your own personal car or a mass transit bus, but it is significantly slower than air travel. 
  • What will the trip be like? How crowded will the trip be? Will you have access to a restroom when needed? Are meals going to be provided? Is there entertainment on board? Is it comfortable and roomy enough to take a nap or sleep overnight? These questions can help you avoid some serious headaches on your trip. 
  • What can I bring with me? Whereas Amtrak will allow you to bring a bicycle or even a pet on board, many other modes of transport will not. Make sure that you consider everything you plan to bring with you and do your research well in advance. 

Are there TVs on Amtrak trains? The answer is yes, but only in a select few trains, and even then, only in select rooms – and these come at a significant upcharge. Nevertheless, Amtrak is affordable, eco-friendly, and fast, which makes it one of the most popular modes of long-distance travel in the United States today. 



Lifelong Rail Enthusiast and Owner of Worldwide Rails

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