Long-distance Amtrak trips can be a great adventure, but one downside is that it is impossible for good arrival and departure times at all stations along the route. At most there is only one train each day in each direction, which means some states are literally left in the dark during overnight hours. To prepare (or brace yourself) for awkward stops, here are the states with the worst Amtrak timetables.
On the California Zephyr route, Nebraska also has bad timetables. Trains in both directions stop in the state between midnight and 6 a.m.
There is only one Amtrak station in Idaho: Sandpoint. Empire Builder eastbound trains depart in the middle of the night and westbound trains arrive around midnight.
Kansas is a mixed bag of Amtrak arrivals and departures. The Southwest Chief stops in the middle of the night in both directions of travel depending on the station. Unfortunately, the capital (Topeka) has particular poor train arrival times. Meanwhile, Dodge City, on the opposite side of the state, only has bad train departures if you are traveling eastbound toward Chicago.
Minnesota doesn’t have ideal Amtrak arrival and departure times except for St. Paul-Minneapolis and the surrounding stations. In the western part of the state, Empire Builder trains stop in the middle of the night in both directions of travel.
Only the Texas Eagle travels through Arkansas, and most cities have bad train arrival times in at least one direction of train. Train arrivals in the northeast part of the state, including in Little Rock, are worse than in other areas.
Amtrak arrivals and departures in South Carolina are fine if you are traveling on the Palmetto route. Otherwise, the Crescent only stops in the middle of the night (in both directions), and the Silver Star and Silver Meteor southbound trains stop between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m.
Tennessee only has two Amtrak stations on the City of New Orleans route. One of the stations has train arrivals after midnight in both directions. Memphis is the other city. Southbound trains stop early in the morning around 6:30 a.m. while northbound trains stop around 10:30 p.m.
Utah has poor train arrival and departure times in just one direction of travel. Eastbound trains heading toward the Rocky Mountains stop in Utah between 3 a.m. and 8 a.m. Unfortunately, Salt Lake City is the 3 a.m. stop.
Train arrival times in Arizona are bad on eastbound trains only. The Southwest Chief stops in Kingman, Flagstaff and Winslow in the middle of the night. It’s a similar situation on eastbound Texas Eagle and Sunset Limited trains, with bad arrival times in Yuma and Maricopa (the Phoenix stop) if you are traveling eastbound toward Texas.