Train Help

Let’s say someone were to travel by train through the United States for a week this fall or winter. What would be some good routes to take and/or things to keep in mind? Amtrak seems to have a good site, as far as coming up with itineraries goes, but maybe there are some more-creative options/tools out there. And what kind of clothes would someone wear, and/or people would someone meet on a long rail trip these days? Here’s a little of what they’re currently serving on one overnight train — the dining car menu for the Coast Starlight train, which goes from Los Angeles to Vancouver (they’ve also got a wine-tasting menu). Would it be sad or especially fiscally unwise to not share a sleeper car with someone?

Are trains cool? What IS cool?