You Can Hitch a Private Train Car to Any Amtrak Train — Here's How Much It Costs

If you own a private rail car, you can take an exclusive journey with Amtrak.

Amtrak Pacific Surfliner traveling south on rail tracks through Del Mar, California.

Studio One-One/Getty Images

Slow travel is all the rage these days, and for train enthusiasts in the United States, that can mean riding on Amtrak across the country. While Amtrak has all sorts of seating arrangements — from coach and business class seats to full bedrooms on sleeper cars — there's one form of train transportation that's far more exclusive than the rest: a private rail car.

No, we don't mean chartering your own Amtrak train. (Though you can actually do that, too.) We mean taking a rail car that you personally own and attaching it to an Amtrak train. 

“Amtrak offers the ability for people to attach their privately owned rail cars to our trains for travel to destinations on the Amtrak system to see North America in an extraordinary way," an Amtrak spokesperson told Travel + Leisure.

Admittedly, there aren't many people who own private rail cars. There is, however, an American Association of Private Railroad Car Owners and a Railroad Passenger Car Alliance, which goes to show that owners are out there. And for those lucky few, Amtrak's service is one of the best ways to travel significant distances. Amtrak also offers additional services, from short-term and long-term rail car parking to car washes. 

If you don't have your own rail car, it's possible to buy one but be prepared to set a pretty high budget. Fully restored vintage rail cars can cost $500,000 to $1 million, easily. Even DIY projects can cost six figures. On top of that, you'll also have to pay Amtrak for the tow. Rates start at $4.09 per mile, and that doesn't include a slew of fees.

And if that's a little out of your budget, don't worry. You can always plunk down in a traditional Amtrak window seat and take in the views all the same.

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