The company is officially called the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, with the commonly used name "Amtrak" deriving from the words American and track. Service officially began on May 1, 1971 when Clocker #235 departed New York City's Penn Station en route to Philadelphia. Amtrak immediately took over passenger service for all but three railroads; the Southern Railway gave up its Southern Crescent route to Amtrak in 1979 and the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad ended passenger service in 1983, forcing Amtrak to reroute its California Zephyr service to cover those routes. The Rock Island Railroad went bankrupt in the late 1970s, and when Amtrak wouldn't take over its single long-distance passenger route and the state of Illinois wouldn't subsidize it, that service folded as well. There are more than 500 Amtrak stations in 45 states - those without service are Alaska, Hawaii, South Dakota, Maine, and Wyoming. Trains operate over more than 22,000 route miles, only 730 of which are owned by Amtrak (mostly in their Northeast Corridor and in Michigan) - the rest of the tracks are owned by freight railroads. Service in the New York/Washington corridor alone carries enough passengers to fill 121 airline flights daily, and Amtrak carries approximately 61,000 passengers every day. The company is also contracted to provide commuter rail service for a number of regions, including California's Caltrain, Coasters, and Metrolink, MARC in Maryland, the VRE in Virginia, the MBTA in Massachusetts, and Connecticut's Shoreline East.

Amtrak Routes by Region:

Sources: and as well as trainman's helpful tips.