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Home / Amtrak announces dates to restore daily service on 12 long-distance routes

Amtrak announces dates to restore daily service on 12 long-distance routes

By | March 10, 2021

First trains return May 24; ticket inventory already on sale

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Passenger train running along shoreline
Passenger train running along shoreline
Amtrak’s ‘Coast Starlight’ heads north at Steilacoom, Wash., in June 2019. The ‘Starlight’ and 11 other trains will be returned to daily service in May and June. Trains: David Lassen

Amtrak service will resume daily on 12 long-distance routes which had been cut to triweekly service in May and June, following Wednesday’s passage by Congress of the American Rescue Plan aid package, which includes funding for service restoration. Ticketing is already available for the restored service in Amtrak’s reservation system, meaning availability for seats and sleeping-car accommodations on the restored dates is currently high.

The 12 trains will have daily service restored on three sets of dates. Returning to daily operation on May 24 will be the Chicago-Emeryville, Calif., California Zephyr; the Seattle-Los Angeles Coast Starlight; the Chicago-Portland/Seattle Empire Builder, and the Chicago-San Antonio-Los Angeles Texas Eagle. Restored to daily service on May 31 will be the Washington-Chicago Capitol Limited; the Chicago-New Orleans City of New Orleans, the Chicago-New York/Boston Lake Shore Limited, and the Chicago-Los Angeles Southwest Chief. And resuming daily operation on June 7 will be the New York-New Orleans Crescent, the New York-Savannah Palmetto, and the two New York-Miami trains, the Silver Meteor (via Savannah) and Silver Star (via Raleigh). Amtrak notes in a press release that new Viewliner II sleeping cars will be making their debut on the Silver Service trains.

Auto Train continues to operate daily, while the Sunset Limited and Cardinal will remain triweekly.

Funding to restore daily long distance service is part of $1.7 billion Amtrak is receiving from the bill passed Wednesday. In a statement, Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn said, “This critical funding will benefit the entire Amtrak network, our state and commuter partners, customers and employees. With this support, we can restore daily long-distance service, bring back employees furloughed as a result of the pandemic and continue our progress on vital capital projects. We will work closely with Congress and the Biden Administration on next steps for funding to support Amtrak’s long-term growth.”

— This is a developing story. Watch Trains News Wire for further information.

13 thoughts on “Amtrak announces dates to restore daily service on 12 long-distance routes

  1. I’m glad to hear that they will be returning more service throughout the country. I believe more people will be using this service in the near future.

  2. This is welcome news that frankly I did not think would come. But folks, it’s simply not enough anymore these once daily LDs. It’s not enough anymore to condemn certain cities and towns along these routes to arrival/departure times at uncivilized hours (assuming OTP, ha, ha). Take the Lake Shore Limited, the LD I have ridden far more than any other, for example. After 50 years we were never even to get two trains on the route on complimentary schedules, one BOS-CHI with a NY connection, the other a NY-CHI with a BOS connection. Are the intercity bus companies and the airlines operating with no growth strategies and with eq that was new in the 1980s? Of course not. But the Biden and the Democrats for all their happy talk are throwing Amtrak ”crumbs” in this relief package while they are feeding the airlines and the airports a “7-course” meal along with champagne to go with it. What $1.5b and $15b/8b respectively? Why the disparity? Because they fly. Because riding Amtrak is not socially acceptable to them any more than it is for the Republicans. Riding trains is for the little people, the commoners, the great unwashed. They have not the slightest interest in experiencing the good, the bad, and the sometimes ugly on a 20 hour ride on an LD. If they did then we might see some action worth writing home about. Make ‘em eat “Contemporary Dining” fare and sleep in the window-less, coffin-like confines of the upper bed in the Superliner Economy Bedroom. Then we’ll either see some positive changes…or the discontinuance of these trains.

    1. MARK – I won’t get into a debate on the current legislation just signed into law by Mr. Biden. I will however support you on the 2x daily bit. We’ve known for 50 years that 1x daily doesn’t work ….. Something else we’ve known for fifty years is the need for the connection at Chicago Grand Crossing to get trains from New Orleans/ Memphis/ Champaign directly into Chicago Union Station. The time for that was the 1970’s. I’ve not heard any updates — does anyone else know of the status?

    2. Charles: The Grand Crossing connection as far as I know is dead. It may have been a victim of CN pulling out of CREATE and deciding to go its own way for finding a route around Chicago. That connection was to be shared with crossovers added up on the Conrail/NS end to get Amtrak across to Chicago Line Tks 1&2.

  3. Yes Sir, Amtrak Joe will help a lot, this is what Amtrak been needing for a very long time! We as a country need Amtrak and upgrade the system, this will help our over all transportation system, like the depot in Houston, Texas needs a face lift big time. Also make stops more available and restore the full dinning along all routes and extend Southwest Chief into Florida and in other parts of the country with better routes and hours where more people will ride, just bye simply adding better hours of arrive or departures would help so much.
    Yes again I’m Very Very Happy for Amtrak! Now use this money wisely for their employees and infrastructure and trains and upgrade depots. The truth is so much of this money from the Government and Joe’s administration will be wasted on items that have nothing to do with the pandemic or economy, sad but true. This is said for both sides of the aisle.
    So go Amtrak, make your ridership and future ridership proud!

    1. “Amtrak Joe” spent $1.9 Trillion of non-existent money. Which we will pay for over the coming years with gargantuan inflation. I support Amtrak subsidies. Most of the remainder of the stimulus bill is far beyond horrible to this nation.

    2. We could of course pay for it by returning tax rates to what they were in the Reagan era.

  4. The bad legacy of Southern Pacific Railroad continues with the triweekly schedule of the New Orleans – Los Angeles ‘Sunset Limited’ along with the pathetic tiny station built in 1959 in Houston.

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