Amtrak to offer sleeping cars on Northeast Regional trains beginning April 5
Amtrak will return sleeping-car service to the Northeast Corridor beginning April 5, with sleepers added to one overnight Northeast Regional train in each direction. Northbound, train No. 66 will depart Washington Union Station at 10 p.m., arriving in New York at 1:55 a.m. and Boston’s South Station at 7:58 a.m. Southbound, train No. 67, operating Sundays through Thursdays, departs Boston at 9:30 p.m., arriving at New York’s Penn Station at 2:30 a.m. and Washington Union Station at 7 a.m. On Fridays and Saturdays, the sleeping car will operate on train No. 65, with slightly different arrival times. Roomette, Bedrooms, and Accessible Bedrooms are available, with one-person, one-way fares as low as $288 between Boston and Washington. Roger Harris, Amtrak’s executive vice president, chief marketing and revenue officer, says in a press release that the sleeping-car accommodations are “a one-of-a-kind way to reach your destination … “In addition to all the safety precautions we are taking to make rail travel a safe experience, a private room will enhance the trip and give customers the added benefit of more comfort, space and privacy.” Visit the Amtrak website for more information.
Bus advocates criticize plans for Washington Union Station redevelopment
Plans for redevelopment of Washington Union Station, already under review because of concerns they are too car-centric, are now being criticized by the bus industry for a design that would decrease current bus capacity by as much as 72%. The Washington Post reports the preliminary design by the Federal Railroad Administration would reduce the bus facility from 61 to as many as 40 spaces, with some options that could reduce that number to 17. Proponents say the smaller facility better uses scarce space and the current bus station is not used efficiently. Greyhound, a major user of the facility, has asked the current size be maintained or even expanded. The $10 billion project, which will expand Union Station rail facilities and retail space, is at least a decade from beginning construction.
Pittsburgh faces decision on new light rail equipment
The Pittsburgh-area Port Authority of Allegheny County is gearing up for the process of replacing its oldest light rail vehicles, which will take up to nine months to prepare specifications and five to eight years to receive the equipment after ordering. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that many of the 53 Siemens-built vehicles date to the opening of the light rail system in the mid-1980s. The fleet also includes 28 cars built by CAF in the 2000s. A Port Authority spokesman told the newspaper that the agency first has to decide whether to rehabilitate or replace the equipment, noting the 35-year-old equipment is going to reach a point where a rehab is no longer fiscally feasible. Replacing the fleet will come with a price tag of $400 million to $500 million.