Introducing myself - stumbled across these forums from Reddit, and have already spent an hour or two reading! Lots of good info here
I hope you won't mind my throwing a few (many) questions out, I am planning a trip to the US in October-December next year and plan on travelling West to East coast on Amtrak.
Included below is a photo of one of my local trains. These are intercity trains running in my state of Victoria, Aus. Photo credit Jim Houghton.