Due to decreased demand for rail service related to the Covid-19 pandemic, Amtrak is modifying service on some of its long-distance routes starting in October. Frequency on these routes is changing from daily to three days per week. Two routes, Cardinal and Sunset Limited, were already operating on the three-day per week schedule and will remain unchanged. See below for other things to know.
Routes With Changes
The following routes will change from daily frequency to service on three days per week starting in October:
- California Zephyr
- Capitol Limited
- City of New Orleans
- Coast Starlight
- Empire Builder
- Lake Shore Limited
- Southwest Chief
- Texas Eagle
Some Amtrak routes change schedules during the first week in October, other routes on the second and third weeks. Schedules are in the system, so you can begin the booking process to see your options.
The first routes to change schedules on Monday, Oct. 5 are primarily in the eastern half of the US: Capitol Limited, Crescent and City of New Orleans. Additionally, the popular California Zephyr route through the Rocky Mountains is in this initial group.
Starting Monday, Oct. 12, these Texas and western U.S. Amtrak routes change: Southwest Chief, Texas Eagle and Coast Starlight. In the east, Lake Shore Limited begins new frequency as well near the Great Lakes.
The last routes to change to a frequency are the Empire Builder (Chicago to/from Portland or Seattle) and Palmetto (New York City to/from Savannah) starting Oct. 19, 2020.
Florida Daily Service
The Auto Train will maintain non-stop daily service between Virginia and Florida. You must reserve a spot (and pay for) a vehicle in order to book tickets on this train. The Silver Meteor and Silver Star routes also provide a combined daily service between Florida cities and New York.
If you are transferring to/from long-distance trains in Chicago, you’ll most likely be changing trains on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Keep these days in mind when planning your trip.