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‘Tis the Season for Western Travel on Amtrak

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As an inducement to travel during the off-season, Amtrak is again offering a $7 return trip on any one-way full fare costing $65 or more.

The offer is good only on routes where no change of trains is involved, and travel must be completed by May 21.

For example, Amtrak’s one-way Los Angeles-San Francisco fare is $75, so travelers can get the round-trip fare for $82. This fare would be available on both the scenic coastal route and the inland route that goes through the San Joaquin Valley.

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The $7 return fare also may apply on some routes that cost less than $65. One example is the Los Angeles-San Diego route, which is $24 one way. You can get the return fare for $7, bringing the round-trip price to $31.

The one-way fare from Los Angeles to Phoenix is $82. With the return-trip program, the round-trip fare costs $89.

Another Amtrak off-season bargain is the reduced fares for the rail company’s All Aboard America program, for which Amtrak divides the United States into Western, Central and Eastern regions. Through May 21, travelers can ride round trip on a coach basis within any one region for $179 (the program’s regular fare is $189), two regions for $229 (down from $269) or three regions for $259 (regularly $339).

Up to three stopovers are permitted, whether travel is in one region or all three. The fare is valid for 45 days, with no advance-purchase restrictions. Sleeping accommodations cost extra.

Children 2 to 15 travel for half the adult coach fare; a limit of two children per adult.

The Western region covers 11 states, from the Pacific Coast to an imaginary line extending from Wolf Point, Mont., through Denver, Colo., Albuquerque, N.M. and El Paso, Tex. The Eastern region runs from the Atlantic Coast to Chicago and New Orleans; the Central region lies between the Western and Eastern.

Savings can be substantial within these areas, though All Aboard America discount seats are limited. The regular round-trip coach fare from Los Angeles to Denver is $306.

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When traveling on Amtrak without reservations, it’s a good idea to get to the train station early, especially on weekends and during holidays. Similarly, it’s a good idea to make reservations as early as possible on those routes requiring reservations.

Contact travel agents or Amtrak at (800) USA-RAIL.

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