Riding the Amtrak Trains in Reno

Amtrak train at platform
Alex Wong / Getty Images

Amtrak trains are one of the transportation alternatives for Reno residents and visitors. Amtrak trains pass through Reno on a daily basis, stopping at the downtown Amtrak station. The main passenger train is the California Zephyr, running the route between Emeryville, CA (San Francisco Bay Area) and Chicago.

Reno Amtrak Station

Reno's Amtrak station is located downtown at 280 N. Center Street, corner E. Commercial Row. There are several metered parking slots right in front of the building. As part of the ReTRAC train trench project, a new station addition was built onto the existing historic station building. It is inside the new section where you buy tickets, board trains leaving Reno, and detrain when arriving in town. A waiting room and historic displays are included in the complex.

While digging the ReTRAC train trench, many early Reno artifacts were unearthed. Archaeologists also discovered prehistoric sites dating back around 4,000 years. Many of the Reno items, along with pictures and stories, are on permanent display in the Amtrak station downstairs at track level (note that prehistoric items are not included among the artifacts on display). The centerpiece of the display is a large drinking fountain that used to be a public fixture in Reno. It was dedicated to Spanish-American War veterans by the Woman's Christian Temperance Union and the American Red Cross.

It even included low drinking places for dogs. This little-known display of Reno history is worth a visit even if you aren't riding the train.

The California Zephyr

The California Zephyr makes daily runs between Emeryville/San Francisco and Chicago. Between each end, the California Zephyr provides service to Sacramento, Reno, Salt Lake City, Denver, and Omaha. You can, of course, just ride a section of the route and enjoy some spectacular scenery. Right here in our neighborhood, the ride over the Sierra Nevada between Reno and the Bay Area is one of the best parts of the entire route.

An added bonus to riding the California Zephyr and other Amtrak routes is Trails & Rails, a partnership program between Amtrak and the National Park Service that provides passengers with educational opportunities that foster an appreciation of a region's natural and cultural heritage while promoting National Park Service areas and providing a service to encourage train ridership. It also renews the long tradition of associating railroads with National Parks. Specifically, the California Zephyr Trails & Rails program operates from Denver to Grand Junction, Colorado.

Amtrak for Disabled Passengers

To learn more and get information about riding Amtrak if you are disabled, call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).