As previous posts mentioned, I just took a train across the US, or at least from Los Angeles to Chicago.
What did I expect:
Not getting to read or watch shows as much as wanted because people would talk to me. The dining car food would be mediocre (but not bad), and the scenery would be beautiful.
What actually happened:
Pretty much exactly what I expected. I was surprised by the amount of creeps on the train, but that just means next time, I wouldn’t try to talk to people closer to my age. There were a lot of older folks and they were fascinating and extremely sweet. I gave several my contact info. One man is a rare art collector and gave me tips on how to tell if art is old/might be valuable and then how to follow up. Another used to be the stage manager for the Academy Awards and General Hospital (and trust me, he had plenty of pictures to prove it).
The dining car was interesting, but as to be expected, was not particularly delicious. Everyone recommends going to the dining car for one meal, and I would too. There are different people than you’ll find in the observation deck.
For any ladies out there, there’s a women lounge bathroom which I would highly recommend. The sink and toilet are in different rooms, so you can wash your face and change without standing an inch away from the toilet.
Overall, it was enjoyable. I brought my own food, pillow, and blanket. The first night got a little cold even with my blanket though, so I would suggest dressing in layers so help. One traveler’s meal that I randomly experienced with was a packet of tuna I brought and the cup ramen from the cafe car (which they can make for you). It was hot, filling, and inexpensive. The trifecta of travel food.
I would say it was like a 7/10. I would do it again, but hopefully next time they’ll have internet in the train.