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By the early 1970s airline service and modern highways had replaced railroads as a primary way to travel in the United States, and Amtrak assumed responsibility for passenger train operations.
Amtrak's objective is to move people between stations as quickly as possible, stopping just long enough for maintenance and to let passengers get on and off the trains. There has been no regular train service designed to provide vacations, no luxury passenger railroads, and none that allow passengers to stay on board during extended stops so that they can enjoy activities at en-route destinations.
America's Trains fills this void with Journeys by Rail on luxurious rebuilt rail cars that travel as part of Amtrak or other trains with extended en-route layovers allowing passengers to enjoy a wide variety of activities while staying on board their luxurious resort on tracks. Cars are dropped off by one and picked up by another train.
Older passenger cars are repaired to meet Amtrak mechanical specifications. Upper body interiors are rebuilt to provide ultimate passenger comfort and service.
From two to several Cars travel together providing luxurious sleeping, lounge and dining facilities (a "Train Set"). A typical Train Set includes two sleeping Cars each with six bedrooms, a dining-lounge Car having two and a Dome Car with three bedrooms, 17 deluxe bedrooms for 34 double occupancy passengers (rooms can also accommodate a third passenger). A self sufficient Private Car with two or three bedrooms may travel as part of a Train Set, or can operate alone to provide very exclusive vacations for small groups and families.
America's Trains will introduce several Train Sets, and a growing number of Private Cars. Additional activity cars with special event capabilities or that are configured for business use as traveling displays and for presentations will travel with Train Sets or alone. As their improvements are completed, about 60 cars will be introduced within five years. Unscheduled service starts in 2013. Scheduled service starts in early 2014.