Amtrak will phase in triweekly operation of its long-distance trains over a three-week period beginning Oct. 5, according to a message to employees obtained by Trains News Wire. Trains moving to triweekly schedules as of Oct. 5 are the California Zephyr, Capitol Limited, City of New Orleans, and Crescent. The Coast Starlight, Lake Shore Limited, Southwest Chief, and Texas Eagle will become triweekly on Oct.12, with the Empire Builder and Palmetto triweekly as of Oct. 19. Auto Train will remain daily, while the Cardinal and Sunset Limited will continue their current triweekly operation, and frequency reductions have already occurred for the Silver Star and Silver Meteor.
Amtrak has said that the switch to triweekly operation is because of financial losses reflecting decreased ridership because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but could be avoided if a funding proposal passes Congress [see “Amtrak CEO: Appropriations proposal would preserve daily service, avoid job cuts,” Trains News Wire, July 13, 2020]. Earlier this week, the company released the metrics that it will track to determine if trains resume daily operation in spring or summer 2021 [see “Amtrak releases criteria for restoring long-distance service,” Trains News Wire, Aug. 11, 2020].
The planned schedule is shown below. This is a developing story; follow Trains News Wire for more information as it becomes available.