This interactive map was created as a service of The ALICE A.I. Foundation, Inc.. Obviously it is a work in progress. I wasn't sure where to draw the boundary around this project exactly. I was originally thinking of all "connected" railways in the USA including commuter rails, that is, systems that you can transfer between without taking an airplane, bus or renting a car (allowing for regular ticketed ferries and short taxi rides). But then I realized I would probably eventually have to add Canada. I must confess that I am a closet dreamer in the Bering Straight tunnel project so eventually I would hope to add all the railways of Asia and Europe. God Forbid peace should break out in Latin America, I might one day add railways south of the border too. I think I'll start with Amtrak and links to others working on local transit systems in the USA.
I put together the map originally to help railfans and smokers get a feel for the territory immediately around the stops. Click on a station stop for a minimap of the local area. In many locations there is a high resolution satellite view of the area. Sometimes you have to zoom out a few levels from the minimap to see the satellite view however.
Another fun trick is to locate your station and then follow the tracks to the next station at maximum zoom to see the exact map of your route. Google maps includes railway tracks quite nicely at higher resolutions, alongside highways, rivers, lakes and other landmarks.
The key piece of information needed for the map is the station's longitute and lattitude. If I haven't already found it in a free government database, I use this tool: http://geocoder.us to look up the stations from their addr, and once I have that I put them on the map. If you want to contribute a few of those, it would be appreciated greatly. Station street addres may be found on Amtrak.com.
Geocoder.us works for some but not all stations. Local.live.com will give the lat/long if you search for a location, add a "pushpin", click Permalink, and then look in the URL text:
Now you can pull out the 40.053753 -76.307311. Searching for that "addr" in maps.google.com confirms that it's the right location.
Please address any comments to drwallace at gmail. We would like to extend our thanks to the many people who have written in with station contributions and suggestions. This project is intended for entertainment purposes only.