Amtrak shows off updated long-distance carriages and food options for New York services

Sep 13, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Amtrak is moving forward on its renewed focus on passenger comfort, with new sleeping cars, updated carriages and food service on long-distance routes out of New York coming this fall.

The onboard improvements will gradually be introduced on the railroad’s Capitol Limited, Cardinal, City of New Orleans, Crescent, Lake Shore Limited, Silver Meteor and Silver Star long-distance routes beginning in October and continuing through 2020.

Related: Your guide to all the Amtrak routes in the U.S.

Other improvements in the works include the Next Generation Acela trains, new Northeast Corridor carriages, as well as Moynihan Station in New York and a revamped Union Station waiting area in D.C.

Amtrak plans to debut early next year its first new long-distance sleeper carriage — known as the Viewliner II — in a quarter century. The 25 single-level cars feature 12 Roomettes and three bedrooms, all with room for two passengers.

The Roomettes are updated to reflect passenger requests. For one, the private toilet that was located next to the beds has been removed and replaced by two communal toilets at the end of the carriage for all Roomette passengers. In addition, each berth has four power outlets instead of one.

The Roomette on Amtrak’s new long-distance sleeper carriage. (All photos by Edward Russell/TPG)

Amtrak will also begin offering updated bedding, linens and towels, plus complimentary toiletries, on its Viewliner long-distance services.

Updated bedding and amenities in Amtrak’s new Viewliner bedroom.

The new Viewliner II carriages will operate on overnight routes from New York, Amtrak’s chief marketing and revenue officer Roger Harris told TPG on Friday. They expect to introduce the cars on the Silver Services to Florida early in 2020 with all 25 carriages in service within 18 months.

Amtrak is also refreshing the interiors of its long-distance Amfleet carriages, the ones with seats rather than private berths. Seats are receiving new covers and padding, carpets are being replaced and new LED lights installed to brighten the space.

“It’s like an airline first class seat, a recliner,” said Harris of the updated Amfleet seats.

Amtrak is not just updating its long-distance hard product. A new dining service and food options will debut on single-night routes on Oct. 1. The service will give passengers a variety of options on how the want to eat — whether in the dining car, to pick up and eat at their seat, or delivered by an attendant — as well as an expanded selection of hot offerings.

“We’re not going to tell you how to receive your service — we’re going to give you options on how you want to receive your service,” Amtrak vice-president of product development and passenger experience Peter Wilander told TPG.

Amtrak will begin offering updated dining options on its single-night long-distance trains Oct. 1.
Amtrak will begin offering updated dining options on its single-night long-distance trains Oct. 1.

Wilander said the food changes are in response to passenger comments on dining boxes that were implemented last year but only included one hot option. Now passengers will have multiple hot entree options to choose from, including an Asian Noodle Bowl, Creole Shrimp and Andouille sausage, and Chicken Fettuccini with Broccoli.

“We’ll see what works, what doesn’t,” said Wilander on the new entrees. “We can easily make changes.”

That is exactly what Amtrak appears to be trying to do — at least with food service. Become a more nimble organization that, like airlines, can adapt to the market as it changes.

The sit-down dining service on Amtrak’s multi-night long-distance routes remain unchanged for the time being.

All photos by the author

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases.
  • 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 2x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.