How to Book Train Travel From Los Angeles to St. Louis

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It's a busy route for travelers headed to St. Louis from Los Angeles. Heavily traveled, Amtrak has three routes you can choose from to travel from the West Coast to the Midwest, though none of them are direct yet. One improvement to the route is the new St. Louis Amtrak station. Previously, St. Louis travelers had to use inconvenient regional stations. After a long journey, you'll be relieved to finally see those famous St. Louis arches. Follow these steps to start planning your trip.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer with Internet access

Book the Very Scenic Route

  • Book your ticket through the Amtrak Web site (see Resources below) or call Amtrak at (800)872-7245.

  • Start at Los Angeles Union Station. Board the 14 Coast Starlight train. You'll be on board for about 22 hours.

  • Change trains in Klamath, Oregon. Take Amtrak bus 3014 for 11 hours to Pasco, Washington.

  • Board the 28 Empire Builder train at Pasco Station in Washington. This is the longest leg of the trip at 40 hours total.

  • Arrive at Chicago Union Station and look for the 305 Lincoln Service. You'll finally arrive in St. Louis in about 5 hours.

Travel on the Southwest Chief and Lincoln Service

  • Get there somewhat quickly. With one connection and 48 hours of travel time, this itinerary is slightly longer than using the faster Southwest Chief and Kansas City Mule.

  • Depart the Los Angeles Union Station on a train called the 4 Southwest Chief. It takes up the majority of this travel time with 42 hours on board.

  • Arrive at Chicago Union Station. Grab your seat on the 305 Lincoln Service, which brings you to your last stop in St. Louis in just over 5 hours.

Take the Southwest Chief and Kansas City Mule

  • Get there faster. The 4 Southwest Chief and 316 Kansas City Mule are the quickest options, taking just about 40 hours to deliver you to St. Louis.

  • Depart from Los Angeles Union Station aboard the 4 Southwest Chief. In 34 hours, you'll be in Kansas City, ready for your one and only connection.

  • Change trains. Get on the 316 Kansas City Mule for a quick 5-hour trip into St. Louis, Missouri.

Tips & Warnings

  • This itinerary is ideal for those who aren't in a hurry and want to really see the country.
  • Book first class. This is a very long trip no matter how you slice it. You'll feel better afterwards if you take advantage of the trains with sleeper cars.
  • Re-set your watch. You're traveling through different time zones. The conductor will alert you.
  • If you're overwhelmed by train changes and necessary bus travel, avoid this route at all costs.
  • Don't promise anyone you'll be on time in St. Louis. This route is complicated. Any bit of bad weather will cause delays that may even caused missed connections.
  • Not all of the trains serve hot meals. Check with your booking agent when you purchase tickets so you can make adequate plans.
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