WASHINGTON — Amtrak will close seating in its café cars, making food service carryout only, and has extended its waivers on change and cancellation fees until Aug. 31, as part of its ongoing program to address COVID-19 concerns as it begins to ramp up for increased operations and ridership. The passenger carrier is has also enhanced cleaning and disinfecting at stations, and has introduced signage to indicate safe distancing, along with clear protective barriers at customer counters at its busiest stations. These join prior moves such as limiting ticket sales to 50% of each train’s seating capacity and requiring customers as well as employees to wear face coverings. More information on coronavirus safety efforts is available at Amtrak’s website.
Amtrak is also modifying service on its trains using CSX’s A-Line south of Richmond, Va., because of daytime trackwork and low ridership. A rundown of the scheduling changes through June 2:
Silver Star: Southbound, departs New York Friday through Sunday only (in Florida Saturday through Monday); Northbound, departs Miami Thursday through Saturday only (in Virginia, North Carolina Friday through Sunday).
Silver Meteor: Southbound, departs New York Monday through Thursday only (in Florida Tuesday through Friday); Northbound, departs Miami Sunday through Wednesday only (in Virginia and NEC Monday through Thursday)
Palmetto: Cancelled Monday-Thursday through May 21 south of Washington D.C. to Savannah, Ga.
Carolinian: Cancelled New York-Charlotte through May 17; resumes Charlotte-Raleigh only May 18-31.
Piedmont: The single remaining round trip (trains 75-76) that has been providing Charlotte-Raleigh service will be discontinued effective May 18.
Some cities, including Columbia, S.C., and Tampa, Fla., on the Star’s route, will lose all service on on days when trains are cancelled. There is a Thruway bus connection to and from Tampa when only the Meteor runs. Either the Meteor or Palmetto will serve all stations on their North and South Carolina route, depending on the day of the week.
— Correspondent Bob Johnston contributed to this report. Corrected on May 15 to note Thruway bus connection to Tampa.