First, let's recognize that plenty of people have had a gripe with Amtrak in the past. It has an aging (and underfunded) system of trains, and passengers often face delays and high prices.
But there is still something darn romantic about traveling by train — stretching out your legs, gazing out the window as the forest or sea slips by you. It can be casually luxurious in a way flying or driving just can't compete with.
And the beauty you can see out the window as you cut your way across the US can be breathtaking, as evidenced by Amtrak's Instagram account, which showcases the best photos taken by its passengers. The photos span from Seattle to Florida, and from snow to sunshine.
Here are our favorite Amtrak photos that show the enduring romance of trains:
38 photos of romantic train rides around the US
38 photos that show how darn romantic it can still be to ride a train around the US
Last week I took the train from Portland to Los Angeles. 30 hours of slow travel. It was incredible and I'm definitely going to be traveling by train more.
There's something enchanting and romantic about chugging your way through snow covered Oregon forest, kissing Redding, curving around the Bay, speeding down the I-5 and surfing down the coast. It felt like I was going to Hogwarts, only without the dementors.
I had plenty of work to get done which helped pass the time but I found myself staring at the window a lot, taking in our beautiful west coast. There's something special about traveling the long haul with the same people. You gradually realize how equal you all are and that you're in it together, no one is getting off anytime soon and we've got the same destination in mind. There was a kind of safety about traveling this way. The notion that time was on our side and we could chat and enjoy the ride. A bit like life. Keep on traveling my friends. We're in this together.
@affinityphoto perfectly captures the Empire Builder heading off to Northwest #AmtrakAdventures. 🌲🗻🚄
Let's see America together. #Amtrak 📷: @hip_hipster_ray
Next stop: Adventure. 🗻 #Amtrak 📷: @railroad_mike_
Proudly serving as America's Railroad for 45 years. #Amtrak #Anniversary 📷: @kevinyutz
Now that's a window seat! #Amtrak #500destinations 📷: @anthonyfalls
See America at sea level. #Amtrak #500destinations 📷: @vccaphoto
All aboard the Coast Starlight from Seattle>LA for comfy seats and sweet #AmtrakViews. 📷: @getlostkm
Windows on the ceiling. #thatisall #amtrak 📷: @brandonsloter.
Plug in or relax and enjoy the sweet #AmtrakViews from the Pacific Surfliner ☀️. 📷: @clubsullivan
@easton.green captures Washington State on his #AmtrakAdventure through the Pacific Northwest.
Your next adventure is only a train ride away. #500destinations #amtrak 📷: @superbrewhaha taken at #glaciernationalpark.
The sun sets on another weekend filled with epic #AmtrakAdventures. #500destinations 📷: @tyarnell5
America the beautiful. #amtrak #500destinations 📷: @briancoxphoto
"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." - St. Augustine. 📷: @voxscholar
Catch the sun before it sets on the Coast Starlight and see the wonders of the West on #Amtrak. 📷: @lakikaravias
At the heart of every great #AmtrakAdventure is a little quality time in the Observation Car. #500destinations 📷: @andyshenphotography
@steve_deck captures an awesome shot of the #Amtrak Surfliner as its headlights curve around the shoreline of Del Mar, CA at sunset. 🌅
@dhullman's view of Oregon on the #Amtrak Cascades. All aboard for sweet #AmtrakViews. 🌲
Brr! #Snowzilla may be over, but we're still working hard to take the East Coast where it needs to go. For the latest schedules and train statuses, check www.amtrak.com, our mobile app, or Twitter @amtrak. Stay safe and warm! ❄️. 📷: @divisionpost7
Here's to sunny skies and fun travels. 📷: @aviewoflife
We couldn't think of a better way to celebrate an amazing year than one more #AmtrakAdventure. Here's to many more in 2016! 📷 by: @dhullman.
Adventure's calling. We'll help you answer. #Amtrak 📷: @amari3o_0
It's the most wonderful time of the year to catch the #CaliforniaZephyr through the Rockies ❄️. 📷: @openroadjoe
From big cities to small towns, #Amtrak connects America. 📷: @stewofkc
Guess this Art Deco #Amtrak station! Hint: 🌴☀️. 📷: @iriegal4u2
Stunning seaside sunsets on #Amtrak from Portland to Seattle. 🌅 Photo by @erindumitru
Guess this Amtrak-served city! Hint: ☕️
#Amtrak: The cure for wanderlust. 💫
Surf's up! 🏄
Adventure's just around the corner. #PPAmtrak
Double tap if you love the excitement of going to the station. #TravelByTrain
Your chariot has arrived. #AllAboard
We ❤️ #AmtrakViews like @stayathomechick's from the #CoastStarlight.
LA>NY and everywhere in between. #Amtrak
Double tap if you love the window seat as much as this little one! Photo courtesy of @themartinbunch
There's a lot of beautiful country out there to discover. #Amtrak #500destinations 📷: @photographeral