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Amtrak does not coordinate with Greyhound

I visited America for the first time in almost seven years, staying for the month of March 2007. I flew to Los Angeles, and visited people in Oregon and Washington states.

I looked at the possibility of getting a train from Seattle to Montana, notwithstanding that my journey up the West Coast had convinced me that Amtrak is not a viable means of tranportation.

I wanted to visit a friend in Helena. Having taken Amtrak from Los Angeles to Central Oregon, I was planning to get a lift with a cousin up to the Seattle area to see some friends. From there, I figured, I could find a way eastward, by train and bus.

There's one eastbound line in the northern part of the United States, traveling from Seattle to Chicago — near the Canadian border. Helena lies about 150 miles from the Amtrak line. I wanted to find the best possible way to catch a southbound bus from an Amtrak stop.

As it turns out, that was optimistic. I'd have better hoped that I could catch any southbound bus from an Amtrak stop — I could not.

Amtrak does not coordinate with Greyhound, the largest national bus company, nor apparently with any other mode of transportation.

The shortest distance that I could find between an Amtrak station and a Greyhound bus terminal along the train track in northern Montana was forty miles. That fact was not strange to the lovely female Amtrak representative in Texas with whom I spoke on the telephone — "You either take the train, or you take the bus," she said.

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Amtrak routes

The nearest east-west line south of the Seattle-Chicago is a track from Sacramento that also goes to Chigago. It's about 500 miles south, on average.

Between these two routes there is a region about the size of Western Europe that is unserved by Amtrak — which passes entirely outside the massive states of Wyoming and South Dakota.