It's a vintage train car whose windowed dome makes the fall foliage seem even more brilliant on one of the most scenic train routes in the world.

For about six weeks late September to early November during the height of autumn colors, Amtrak's only remaining dome car in service travels the renowned Adirondack route. Northbound from New York City, you make your way by rail through Upstate New York including the Hudson Valley wine country and the famous Adirondacks, across the border to the world's second largest French-speaking city: Montreal, Canada.

The Great Dome car's upper level has windows on all sides for panoramic views over the spectacular changing colors of the trees in rolling hills, rural vistas and scenic views of Lake Champlain. Its autumn return to the Adirondack route elevates the famous train ride to one of the world's iconic rail trips. (Image courtesy of Amtrak).

That's just the 1-day, 10-hour train ride. Bookend it with a couple of days each in two of the East's most dynamic and diverse cities, and it's an autumn vacation you'll never forget.

Here are a few tips to get the most out of a Fall Foliage train trip in Amtrak's Great Dome car:

  • Advance reservations for the route are required.
  • The Great Dome car and its views come at no extra cost, but…
  • Seats in the upper, panoramic level are non-reserved and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Discounts are available for children, so you can bring more members of the family – make it an extended / multi-generational family celebration of the autumn season.
  • The Great Dome car generally travels northbound from New York City on one day, and southbound from Montreal the next on the same route, with one day a week not in service. 
  • There are a number of stations along the line where you can embark mid-route, and arrive in one of these two, world-class terminus cities by dinner. Or you can disembark and explore the local sites along the way before picking up the route again on a subsequent day.
  • Amtrak has partnered with the National Park Service in an America-wide 'Trails and Rails' program to connect train passengers to U.S. national parks. On the Adirondack route, Saratoga National Historic Park, Roosevelt Vanderbilt National Historic Sites, and the National Parks of New York Harbor are among the National Park Service Sites participating in the 'Trails and Rails' program. Volunteers from National Park sites board select Great Dome car trips to provide local and historic insights that enrich your journey even beyond the unforgettable scenery.

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