The summer of train travel: Amtrak to restore daily service on 12 long-distance routes

Mar 11, 2021

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Amtrak sees the return to travel starting as soon as this summer. On Wednesday, the company announced that it will restore 12 long-distance routes with daily services.

Wednesday’s announcement showed Amtrak’s commitment to long-distance train travel, a service that it wants to resume sooner, rather than later.

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Made possible by government COVID-19 relief funding, Amtrak said that not only can it resume the 12 long-distance routes with daily service, but it will also recall more than 1,200 furloughed employees throughout the remainder of 2021 and into 2022. The funding is pending President Biden’s signature.

Amtrak will resume the following routes with daily service as of May 24:

  • California Zephyr (Chicago – Omaha – Denver — Salt Lake City – San Francisco)
  • Coast Starlight (Seattle – Portland — Sacramento – Oakland – Los Angeles)
  • Empire Builder (Chicago – St. Paul-Minneapolis – Spokane – Portland/Seattle)
  • Texas Eagle (Chicago – St. Louis – Dallas – San Antonio – Los Angeles)

The following routes will resume with daily service as of May 31:

  • Capitol Limited (Washington, D.C. – Pittsburgh – Cleveland – Chicago)
  • City of New Orleans (Chicago – Memphis – Jackson – New Orleans)
  • Lake Shore Limited (New York/Boston – Albany – Buffalo – Chicago)
  • Southwest Chief (Chicago – Kansas City – Albuquerque – Los Angeles)

Finally, the following four routes will regain daily service as of June 7:

  • Crescent (New York – Washington, D.C. – Atlanta – New Orleans)
  • Palmetto (New York – Washington, D.C. – Charleston – Savannah)
  • Silver Meteor (New York – Savannah – Jacksonville – Orlando – Miami)
  • Silver Star (New York – Raleigh – Jacksonville – Orlando – Tampa – Miami)

“Offering daily long-distance service represents a vital step in our road to recovery,” said Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn. “Recognizing the immense value of our employees, we’d like to thank Congress for enabling service restoration and helping us recall furloughed employees.”

Amtrak’s not just focussing on its long-distance routes in a post-COVID-19 world. Last year, Amtrak showed off the interiors of its brand-new Acela train cars, which will enter service at some point in 2021. While not a long-distance route — with service between Boston and Washington, D.C. via New York — the new Acela trains will hold 378 passengers and feature reliable Wi-Fi and new interiors, among other improvements.

Related: The brand new Amtrak Acela fleet is coming; Here’s a look inside the new trains

Earlier this week, Amtrak announced it would be adding sleeper rooms to its popular Northeast Regional route between Washington, D.C. and Boston, with tickets costing as low as $199 one-way.

In January, the long-awaited follow-up to Penn Station opened in New York City. Called the Moynihan Train Hall, the $1.6 billion renovation and expansion project features a baggage claim and new flagship Amtrak lounge.

Related: You can now upgrade your next Amtrak trip with new bidding system, but is it worth it?

Learn more about Amtrak:

Featured photo by Laser1987/Getty Images.

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