Happening Now

Hotline #1,164

April 24, 2020

Rail news for the week ending April 24th

D.C. Office Closed, Rail Passengers Staff Is Working Remotely.

Click here for more information on how this affects your membership.


The April Passengers Voice Newsletter is now available.

Click here to read the digital version.

Amtrak Chairman Warns of Significant Increase in Financial Losses

Amtrak’s chairman warned that cratering ridership will lead to a significant spike in the railroad’s operating losses this year during a briefing given to reporters this week.

With day-to-day ridership currently down 95% when compared to the same period last year, Chairman Tony Coscia told reporters the railroad is projecting losses of $700 million on an adjusted operating basis.

“This has presented an enormous challenge to the company,” said Amtrak’s Chairman.

Rail Passengers favors an avoidable-cost methodology to assess the performance of the National Network and Northeast Corridor over Amtrak’s preferred method of evaluating operations, which excludes depreciation and other expenses. We believe Amtrak’s route accounting system misrepresents the public cost of providing passenger trains as a mobility choice for the entire nation. For instance, under generally accepted accounting principles, Amtrak’s FY2019 adjusted operating loss of $29 million grows to nearly $875 million when including depreciation of its equipment and NEC infrastructure.

[Read more about our plan for better financial reporting in our white paper.]

Regardless of how the pie is sliced, it’s undeniable that the precipitous drop in ridership revenue will create serious problems for corridors across the nation, and it will require a unified effort by passenger advocates to ensure that Amtrak is able to return to pre-coronavirus service levels. There is special concern for state-supported routes, with almost every state in the U.S. projecting severe budget shortfalls and considering cuts to existing services.

“Part of our efforts right now and focus is to think about recovery and what does a recovery look like, and how our operations are going to respond,” concluded Coscia.

Rail Passengers is doing its part by advocating for a strong passenger rail component in the infrastructure package currently being considered by the White House and House Democrats. We’ve assembled a list of Amtrak and state-sponsored projects that are ready to go if money becomes available, including over $6 billion to refresh Amtrak’s national fleet.

Want to help? Use our online advocacy tool to write your members of Congress and ask them to work with Rail Passengers on a strong passenger rail investment package!

Amtrak’s Baltimore Penn Station Mixed-Use Plan Set To Advance Despite Pandemic Recession

The important redevelopment plan for Baltimore Penn Station is going forward despite the coronavirus pandemic’s effects on Amtrak, railroad executives told reporters this week.

Amtrak Chairman Anthony Coscia warned in a press briefing that the nation’s passenger railroad is facing at least a $700 million adjusted operating loss this year. But in that same brief, Stephen Gardner -- the Senior Executive Vice President, Chief Operating and Commercial Officer -- declared that even though the cash crunch will force Amtrak to put off some capital projects, Baltimore Penn is critical enough to go ahead.

“We remain committed to our big strategic objectives and our important projects," Gardner said. "Baltimore Penn Station redevelopment is a critical one, along with several other station projects that we continue to advance."

Under the plan unveiled in 2017, Baltimore Penn Station would be the hub of a large mixed-use development that could include a luxury hotel. It’s the kind of project Rail Passengers has seen jump-start economies all across the country, from major cities like Denver to small communities like Meridian, Mississippi.

Amtrak has said it would contribute $90 million to the effort, which also involves a mix of government development funds and private capital.

Fourth Round of Coronavirus Relief Passes Congress, Infrastructure Component Still Missing

Congress passed the fourth coronavirus relief package this week, directing $484 billion towards a small-business loan program, hospitals, and coronavirus testing. However, in spite of bipartisan interest, infrastructure investment didn’t make the cut in the final package.

As the U.S. economy continues to reel, there is already talk of a next round of coronavirus relief from House Democrats, who have outlined an ambitious infrastructure proposal and a $500 billion bailout for states facing budget deficits from precipitous drops in payroll and sales tax revenue. A state bailout will be important to maintain existing service levels for transit systems, commuter railroads, and Amtrak’s 29 state-supported routes.

Senate Republicans, however, hint they’re ready to slow down the pace of spending on coronavirus relief. They’ve also drawn a hard line against support for state governments, suggesting allowing states to declare bankruptcy could be their preferred strategy.

House Democrats may have an unexpected ally in the White House. President Trump is once again indicating he’s interested in a big infrastructure bill and would be open to providing financial aid to states.

Rail Passengers is still updating our list of move-quick rail infrastructure projects that are well positioned to receive funding at RailPassengers.org/Covid19, including enough funding for a complete overhaul of the national fleet.

Rail Passengers Supports FRA Passenger-Rail Standards, But Seeks Survey-Independent Metrics Plus Focus On Disabled And Public Benefits

Rail Passengers President and CEO Jim Mathews is slated to testify next Thursday in strong support of the Federal Railroad Administration’s proposed rule establishing metrics and standards for passenger-rail performance, while also offering improvements centered on disabled and rural Americans’ needs.

FRA is holding the hearing by conference call to comply with coronavirus restrictions. The 60-day comment period opened at the end of March.

“Just publishing these proposed standards, after endless litigation-driven delays and obstruction, is an important milestone,” said Mathews. “Tens of millions of people in hundreds of American communities have been waiting for more than a decade to see this moment. Passengers have a right to be on time, and the proposed rule gets us all that much closer to getting there.”

Many of the elements of the proposed rules reflect input your Rail Passengers professional staff supplied to FRA and Amtrak last summer, and overall we were pleased to see so many of our passengers’ needs reflected in the proposal.

In our written comments to the docket we recommended additional customer metrics that do not depend on survey data, as well as more focus on the needs of elderly, disabled and rural travelers. (You can read Rail Passengers’ formal comments here.) We also continue to push for even more transparency on passenger operations and more effort to measure the financial benefits of service to individual communities, especially those smaller rural communities that are underserved.

Among the specific recommendations were enhancing Amtrak’s Customer Service Index (CSI) surveys with questions that recognize and include the needs of the disabled, the elderly, special-needs and rural passengers.

We developed and proposed additional metrics to evaluate the customer experience without relying on a survey score, such as the number and rate of mishandled bags, customers not receiving booked service, consumer complaints, and metrics associated with those requiring ADA accommodations.

Rail Passengers also urged FRA to broaden and strengthen the assessment of Public Benefits, to include the effects of economic contributions to served communities, network- and multiplier effects, the financial contributions of connections and the effect of degraded on-time performance on connections. We also advocate using per-passenger-mile and per-departure calculations to assess the value and contributions of particular routes.

In addition, your Rail Passengers staff is using this comment period as an opportunity to state for the record that the Customer OTP standard benefits everyone, not just Amtrak passengers. It should be obvious, but it bears repeating: late trains interact with other trains, so it follows that passenger improvements can benefit all operations, freight, intercity passenger rail and commuter.

Rail Passengers believes that the proposed rule will encourage more disciplined operation for host railroads, promoting fluidity, speed and reliability for all users. We all want a fluid and reliable railroad -- commuters, shippers and end-use customers deserve nothing less. While we are sympathetic to the host railroads' challenges, the fact remains that our members rely on, and pay for, timely and regular service on those routes, whether riding as an Amtrak passenger or as a daily commuter on systems all across the country like Metra or MARC or TRE.

Mathews encourages all Rail Passengers members to read the proposed Rule, and then consider adding their own comments to the public docket by visiting this link: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=FRA-2019-0069. Before commenting, please be sure your comment is constructive, fact-based, and reflects how the standards in the rule will affect you as a passenger.

Amtrak To Require Masks For Employees

All Amtrak employees in customer-facing roles will be wearing facial masks, says new CEO William Flynn. During Friday’s employee Town Hall he requested that employees wear either reusable, freshly washed cloth or new disposable masks, and he encouraged passengers to do the same. Amtrak will make masks available to employees at staffed stations and crew bases. While masks are not mandatory for passengers on board, social distancing will be.

VIA Rail is requiring masks for international passengers en route to their quarantine location, and while it is not mandatory they invite all their guests to use protective measures. Transport Canada is recommending passengers to wear masks or face coverings moving forward.

South Shore Line Starts Post-Virus Planning

While the agency is still uncertain about the amount of funding it will reviceve from the CARES Act, the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD) is moving ahead with plans to prepare the South Shore Line for when passengers start to travel again. The NICTD has announced that their intensive equipment cleaning will continue even when ridership starts to bounce back and will hire more crew members to accomplish this. Current ridership for the South Shore Line has seen dramatic reductions in the last couple months due to the virus, just as all public transit has in the United States, and is currently only caring about 5% of their normal daily passengers.

With the ridership down, the NICTD is using this time to complete a number of smaller improvement projects such as repaving the East Chicago station parking lot. The railroad is also still waiting on funding from the Federal Transit Administration that is expected to come later this year for the West Lake Corridor project - which will double-track an eight mile stretch of track between Hammond and Dyer while adding in four new stations.

Pacfic Surfliner Awarded Millions For Service Improvements

As part of the 2020 Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP), the San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) Rail Corridor Agency was awarded $38.7M to improve and expand Amtrak Pacific Surfliner service in southern California. The TIRCP pays out a total of $500M to projects in California that aim to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by improving rail and transit services and is funded by the state through the Cap and Trade Program.

The grant money will be used to:

  • Construct a Central Coast Layover Facility in San Luis Obispo

  • Design and construct a new maintenance and layover facility in San Diego that will allow overnight storage and servicing of Pacific Surfliner equipment to be relocated from the Santa Fe Depot to a new location in National City

  • Overhaul and modernize the Pacific Surfliner railcars.

Member & Donor News and Notices

  • While the Rail Passengers staff is working remotely, we cannot print permanent membership cards or membership/benefits information. Luckily, you can find information about your Rail Passengers membership (like your member number and membership level), update your personal information, and print a temporary membership card by creating an account at www.railpassengers.org and selecting “My Account” on the homepage. Additional member benefits information can be found on our website.

  • While the Rail Passengers staff is working outside of the office, without access to stationery, mailed copies of ‘thank you’ letters are a challenge. We are currently working with our Neon membership database to use email distribution as an alternative; let us know at [email protected] if you would like us to add your email address to your account. Even though the thank you letters are delayed, please know that your membership and donations are immensely appreciated. Thank You!

  • The Rail Passengers Association with participate in #GivingTuesdayNow, a new global day of giving and unity that will take place on May 5, 2020. Look for additional information in your inbox and on our social media in the coming days.

  • If you renew your membership by mail, please be sure to send a membership renewal form in with your payment! We will update your membership status only if you return a form to RENEW your membership. Forms asking you to DONATE are processed as general donations, not membership dues. Membership dues renewal forms typically read, “Yes, I deserve better: I’m renewing to make sure passengers’ voices are heard!”

  • If you are renewing or donating by credit card, before you seal your envelope, PLEASE double check to make sure you’ve included the cards expiration date and CVV number. Without those numbers your payment/donation can not be processed.


#ICYMI - In Case You Missed It: This Week’s Social Media Highlights

This week on social media we talked about FRA’s plan to provide grant money for rail projects, thousands of MTA employees coming back to work after quarantine, Sound Transit’s rebranding, we sent out a thank you #ToThoseWhoKeepUsMoving, and much more.

Do you follow the Rail Passengers Association on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter? Join the digital conversation! Follow along and make your opinions heard.


Tell Us What’s Happening Where You Live!

When you see rail-related news stories, op-eds, editorials, or letters to the editor in your communities, send them along to us! We will include them in our social media efforts, along with the weekly Hotline. Send your news items to Joe Aiello at jaiello[at]narprail.org, and we will share it with members. Are you holding a rally, a community meeting, or another kind of rail-advocacy event? We can help spread the word if you send them to us. We can put them on the website here. Please follow Rail Passengers on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on all things passenger rail.

Rail Passengers Track Update

Where are we and what are we working on? This section will update you on what Rail Passengers HQ is up to...even when we’re all working online or from home!

  • Jim Mathews, President & CEO, completed analysis and comments on the FRA’s proposed new passenger-rail standards, which you can read about elsewhere in the Hotline. He also spent considerable time this week preparing for the monthly Rail Passengers Board meeting and working on revising the Association’s events strategy in response to the continued coronavirus crisis.

  • Sean Jeans Gail, Vice President of Policy, rolled out a new version of our move-quick infrastructure project database, which details tens of billions of dollars of rail projects that are well-positioned to receive federal funds in the event of a bailout. He also is working with the policy team to prepare a series of online briefings to help our members advocate for their local trains and transit systems in the age of social distancing.

  • Carolyn Cokley, Director of Customer Programs, has made progress in building the Screening, Collection and Database tools that will be used for the Focus Group Project.

  • Joseph Aiello, Field Coordinator, worked with Sean Jeans-Gail on preparing the new infrastructure project database this week as well assisted Madi Butler on a number of outlines for what the next few months of online advocacy and outreach will look like from the Association.

  • Madi Butler, Grassroots Organizer, assisted in creating blueprints for future webinars, outlined plans for the field team, and fielded interest from members looking to participate in online advocacy.

  • Jonsie Stone, Director, Resource Development, spent the week working on our GivingTuesdayNow campaign, developing messages for future outreach campaigns, talking with members and donors and Association administrative activities.

  • Kim Williams, Membership Manager, spent the week processing payments, resolving member queries, discussing new benefit opportunities with external partners, and worked with USPS to ensure that our mailings/receivables are unaffected by COVID-19.

Stuck At Home For Awhile? Grab A Copy Of Lonely Planet's ‘Amazing Train Journeys’ And Support Your Association At The Same Time

If you’re spending more time than you used to at home waiting for the “All Clear” to start hitting the rails again, why not order yourself a copy of Lonely Planet’s ‘Amazing Train Journeys’ guidebook to pass the time? It’s not only a gorgeous and fun book, but with every purchase Lonely Planet will donate 15% of the proceeds to your Association, to help us keep working for More Trains, Better Trains and a commitment to better infrastructure! You win and we win

Through this beautiful book, you’ll experience 60 of the world’s greatest and most unforgettable train journeys, from classic long-distance trips like Western Canada’s Rocky Mountaineer and Darwin to Adelaide’s The Ghan, to little-known gems on regular commuting lines. It’s the culmination of asking more than 200 travel writers for their absolute favorites.

Some are epic international adventures, others are short suburban routes along stunning coastline. There are incredible feats of engineering, trains that snake their way through mountain peaks, and even those which have achieved Unesco World Heritage status.

More than just a collection, each profile will give you the practical information you need to experience one or more of these epic journeys yourself -- including ticket options, timetables and stops, plus inspiring photos and illustrated maps. It’s all here!

Amazing Train Journeys is available as a book, e-Book or in both formats at a low combination price. And your purchase helps supports your Association’s mission too! Remember, Lonely Planet is contributing 15% of all Amazing Train Journeys sales to Rail Passengers! You can order copies by clicking here

Partnership with Signature Federal Credit Union

We are excited to announce our recent partnership with Signature Federal Credit Union. Rail Passengers members now have access to a full service, nationwide federal credit union with extensive product and service offerings. Signature FCU also becomes the exclusive provider of the Rail Passengers Association-branded Visa credit card with our logo, which supports our work by giving back to our organization, and gives you 1 point for every $1 you spend to redeem for travel and merchandise. The card has no annual fee, no balance transfer fees, no foreign transaction fees, and has a very low interest rate.

Gifts from Donor Advised Funds


If you have a donor advised fund, please consider recommending a grant from your fund to be the Rail Passengers Association. It is a great way to maintain flexibility with your support throughout the year. For more information, go to http://myimpact.railpassengers.org/daf. As always, please feel free to contact Jonsie Stone if you have any questions.

The Rail Passengers Association would like to thank our Annual Partners for their support!


Upcoming Events

go to railpassengers.org/events for more events and information

Due to the current situation with the COVID-19 outbreak, many meetings around the country are being postponed and rescheduled for later dates. Please check our events page for updates and information.

Please contact Joe Aiello ([email protected]) to have a local, state or regional meeting added to the Rail Passengers calendar (print and on-line) of upcoming events!

Amtrak Passenger Service Notices

Amtrak Thruway Buses Temporarily Replace Hiawatha Trains

Between Milwaukee and Chicago

Effective Friday, April 24, 2020

In response to lower ridership demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Amtrak, in partnership with the Wisconsin and Illinois state transportation departments, will temporarily substitute daily Amtrak Thruway Buses for Amtrak Hiawatha Service trains between Milwaukee and Chicago.

Effective Friday, April 24, Bus 3332 will operate in place of Hiawatha Service Trains 330 and 332. The bus will originate at the downtown Milwaukee Intermodal Station at 7:55 a.m. and arrive at Chicago Union Station at 9:54 a.m. Also effective that day, Bus 3339 will operate in place of Hiawatha Service Train 339, originating in Chicago at 5:00 p.m. and arriving at the Milwaukee Intermodal Station at 6:59 p.m. All times local.

These buses will serve all Amtrak stations on the Hiawatha Service corridor except Glenview, Ill. The Amtrak Empire Builder serves Glenview and will continue to also temporarily provide daily service at all other Hiawatha stations. Full schedules are on the Amtrak Passenger Service Notice.

Reservations will be required in order to maintain social distancing for seating on Buses 3332 & 3339. Amtrak customers traveling with current monthly and 10-ride tickets are welcome without reservations.

Customers are strongly encouraged now to wear masks while using all Amtrak services. The bus operator will wear a facial covering while interacting with customers and the buses will be thoroughly cleaned between trips. More information about safe essential travel is at Amtrak.com.

The Thruway Bus service substitution will be in effect through Monday, May 25. Hiawatha train service is expected to resume on Tuesday, May 26. These ADA-accessible motor coaches offer passengers many of the same features as our trains including Wi-Fi service, reclining seats, ample legroom, tables, cupholders and lavatories.

Thruway Service Changes Sunset Empire Bus Terminal in Astoria Temporarily Closed

Effective April 27 through May 31, 2020

Attention Amtrak Passengers: Amtrak Thruway Service between Portland and Astoria will be reduced, effective April 27 through May 31. The Sunset Empire Bus Terminal in Astoria is temporarily closed.

Thruway Schedules Reduced

  • Buses 5500 and 5565 are suspended

  • Buses 5563 and 5564 will continue to run, offering two round trips daily from Portland to Astoria.

Northeast Regional Service Weekend Schedule Changes

Effective April 24-25, 2020

To accommodate bridge work being performed between New Haven, CT and Springfield, MA, Northeast Regional schedules will be adjusted as outlined below.

Friday, April 17 and 24: Train 148, which normally operates between Washington, D.C. and Springfield, will terminate at New Haven. Alternate transportation will be provided, via Bus 3148, making all intermediate stops at State Street, Wallingford, Meriden, Berlin, Hartford, Windsor and Windsor Locks.

Saturday, April 18 and 25: Train 147, which normally operates between Springfield and Washington, D.C., will originate at New Haven. Alternate transportation will be provided, via Bus 3147, making all intermediate stops at Windsor Locks, Windsor, Hartford, Berlin, Meriden, Wallingford and State Street.

Illini Train 393 Departs 30 Minutes Earlier

Effective Fridays, April 24 - May 22, 2020

Due to track work being performed by Canadian National Railway, Train 393 will operate 30 minutes earlier Fridays, April 24 through May 22.

Train 393 will operate on its normal schedule Saturday through Thursday, as shown.

Illini Train 393 Temporary Schedule

April 24 through May 22, 2020



Sat - Thur

Chicago, IL




Homewood, IL



Kankakee, IL



Gilman, IL



Rantoul, IL



Champaign Urbana, IL



Mattoon, IL



Effingham, IL



Centralia, IL



Du Quoin, IL



Carbondale, IL




San Joaquins Thruway Service Schedule Changes

Effective April 24 through 27, 2020

Due to the Interstate I-5 construction work being performed between the 134 and 170 freeways by Caltrans, Burbank Airport stop is suspended on the following dates as outlined below:

  • Buses 5811 and 5818 will not stop at Burbank Airport on April 25, 26 and 27.

  • Buses 5713, 5910, 5912, 5915, 5916 and 5919 will not stop at Burbank Airport on April 25 and 26.

William H Gray III, 30th Street Station Temporary Changes

Effective Immediately

Effective immediately, Philadelphia’s William H Gray, III 30th Street station will reduce the number of entrances and modify station hours, until further notice.

Station entrances will be reduced to a single entrance in the 30th Street Portico, the SEPTA concourse from 30th street and through the parking garage.

The station will be closed between 1:00 am and 5:00 am, to all non-Amtrak personnel, in order to clean and disinfect for our riders and employees.

City of New Orleans Trains 58 and 59 Suspended between McComb and New Orleans

Until Further Notice

Please be advised that Canadian National Railway is prohibiting passenger trains over the Bonnet Carre Spillway due to planned emergency flood control, affecting the City of New Orleans service as outlined below:

Train 59, which normally operates between Chicago and New Orleans, will terminate at McComb, MS. Bus 3259 will operate between McComb and New Orleans, serving intermediate station stop of Hammond.

Train 58, which normally operates between New Orleans and Chicago, will originate at McComb, MS. Bus 3258 will operate between New Orleans and McComb, serving intermediate station stop of Hammond. Bus 3258 will depart New Orleans at 1:00 pm, 45 minutes earlier than Train 59’s scheduled departure time.

Please note: Trains 58 and 59 will not stop at Brookhaven and Hazlehurst and no alternate transportation will be provided.

California Zephyr Schedule Changes

Effective Immediately

California Zephyr and Amtrak Thruway bus service will be reduced effective immediately, until further notice, as outlined below:

Train Service Changes

  • Trains 5 and 6 will terminate/originate at Denver

  • Service is suspended between Reno and Denver with no alternate transportation provided.

Thruway Bus Service

  • Amtrak Thruway Buses 3524 and 3547 continue to operate daily between Reno and Sacramento, serving Truckee, Auburn, Rocklin, Roseville and Sacramento. The bus does not service Colfax.

  • Reno station is temporarily closed during this time.

Piedmont Services Schedule Changes

Effective March 23, 2020

Piedmont Service schedules are adjusted effective March 23, until further notice, as outlined below:

Train Service Changes

  • Piedmont Trains 73, 74, 77 and 78 are cancelled.

  • Piedmont Trains 75 and 76 will operate daily on their current schedule.

Vermonter and Ethan Allen Schedule Changes

Effective March 26, 2020

Effective March 26, schedule changes and station closures will impact Vermonter and Ethan Allen trains, until further notice, as outlined below:

Vermonter Trains and Stations:

  • Trains 54, 55, 56 and 57 will not operate between New Haven, CT and St. Albans, VT.

  • Vermonter trains will continue to operate between Washington, D.C. and New Haven, Monday through Saturday.

  • All Amtrak stations in Vermont are temporarily closed.

Ethan Allen Trains:

  • Ethan Allen trains will not operate between Rutland and Albany.

Coaster Commuter Trains

Effective March 23, 2020

The North County Transit District has announced it will temporarily reduce service for its Coaster commuter trains starting Monday.

  • Weekday train service will be reduced by about 50%, particularly around the noon hour, when several northbound and southbound trains will be suspended. Likewise, just one evening train in either direction will continue to run, 5:41 p.m. southbound and 7:13 p.m. northbound.

  • Southbound commuters will have to be on the 7:40 a.m. train or wait until 2:42 p.m. Northbound commuters can leave as late as 9:18 a.m.

  • Weekend Coaster service will be suspended entirely beginning March 28. The Breeze bus service has been temporarily eliminated.

  • In addition to the Coaster trips which will remain active, riders with a valid Coaster Regional day or monthly pass will still be able to ride the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner. Amtrak will also be implementing service reductions.

Capitol Corridor Service Schedule Changes

Effective March 21, 2020

Please be advised that the Capitol Corridor service will operate on limited schedules beginning March 21.

In addition to schedule changes, some station facilities will be adjusting hours of operation.

For the most up to date information and changes, please visit www.capitolcorridor.org or call 1-877974-3322.

Travel Tip of the Week

Amtrak Essential Service Plan: Updates to Service - April 22, 2020

At this time, various states are undertaking specific safety precautions at stations for customers arriving from out of state. Check with each state for specific guidance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has urged residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential travel for 14 days.

Amtrak service continues to operate on the Northeast Corridor, providing essential services during this challenging time. While Amtrak continues to operate, we have temporarily suspended the following services due to reduced demand.

Operating on a reduced schedule:

  • Adirondack (New York – Montreal): No service north of Albany

  • Amtrak Hartford Line (New Haven, Conn. – Springfield, Mass.)

  • Amtrak Thruway Bus routes

  • Capitol Corridor (San Jose – Sacramento)

  • Cascades (Eugene – Vancouver, B.C.): No service north of Seattle

  • Empire Service (New York – Niagara Falls)

  • Ethan Allen Express (New York – Rutland, Vermont): No service north of Albany

  • Hiawatha (Chicago – Milwaukee): Replaced by Amtrak Thruway Buses, April 24-May 25.

  • Illini/Saluki (Chicago – Carbondale)

  • Illinois Zephyr/Carl Sandburg (Chicago – Quincy)

  • Lincoln Service (Chicago – St. Louis)

  • Maple Leaf (New York – Toronto): No service west of Niagara Falls, New York

  • Missouri River Runner (St. Louis – Kansas City)

  • Northeast Regional (Boston – New York – Washington, DC – Virginia)

  • Pacific Surfliner (San Luis Obispo – San Diego)

  • Piedmont (Charlotte – Raleigh)

  • San Joaquins (Bakersfield – Oakland and Sacramento)

  • Valley Flyer (New Haven, Conn. – Greenfield, Mass.)

  • Vermonter (Washington – St. Albans): No service north of New Haven (Monday – Saturday) and no service on Sundays

  • Wolverine (Chicago – Pontiac)

Suspended services:

  • Acela (Boston – Washington, DC)

  • Carolinian (Charlotte – New York)

  • Downeaster (Boston – Brunswick, Maine)

  • Keystone Service (Harrisburg – New York)

  • Pennsylvanian (New York – Pittsburgh)

  • Pere Marquette (Chicago – Grand Rapids)

What to Expect

Due to service reductions, some stations may not be staffed. If the station is closed, customers should proceed directly to the platform to board their train. Café service will also be suspended on select trains. Other services may be impacted as circumstances change.

Travel Changes

Customers with reservations on trains that are being modified will be contacted and accommodated on trains with similar departure times or on another day.

Ticket Changes and/or Cancellations

Amtrak is waiving change fees for reservations made before May 31, 2020. To modify a reservation, customers can log in to their account, go to ‘Modify Trip’ on Amtrak.com, or find their reservation from their account on the home screen in the Amtrak app. A fare difference may apply to a new itinerary. If customers want to cancel their reservation with no fee, they must call 800-USA-RAIL and speak with an agent (not available via Amtrak.com or the app).

Stay healthy.

TravelReview Feedback Card

As you travel, please help us promote the Travel Review with other rail passengers. As you encounter passengers who want to make their positive and negative opinions known, please direct them to www.railpassengers.org/Travel Review. All participants will remain anonymous. If you encounter any problems with the Travel Review, or have any questions, please send an email to [email protected]

Do You Need More TravelReview Feedback Cards?

Please help us to spread the word. We need your help in engaging other passengers when you travel and let them know that their feedback is welcomed by RailPax. To facilitate this sharing of information the TravelReview Feedback Card is now available for you to download and print for regular usage. The card can be given to fellow passengers to introduce the work that RailPax is doing as well as our desire to have their feedback. The cards can also be left behind in stations as you pass through.

The template is in a .pdf format and will open in Adobe document cloud. First download the file and save it to your desktop for easy access. Then print as needed. The original template is formatted for Avery 5871 or 5371 cardstock which are both 2” x 3½” business card formats. Any brand cardstock should function as long as the dimensions match.

If you experience any problems in accessing the file, please send an email to [email protected]

Looking Beyond Pandemic: The Work Continues

Even before the coronavirus outbreak, 2020 was shaping up as a critical year for the future of American passenger rail. With Amtrak ridership down more than 90% and rescue packages taking shape for intercity passenger rail, private operators, mass transit and airlines, there is a risk that when the crisis is over critically needed investment capital will be cut off -- and the legislative gains we have spent five years setting in motion could be squandered.

Amtrak is quasi-public corporation, with the federal government providing a significant portion of the railroad’s annual operations and capital budget. The current funding authorization expires at the end of FY2020, and in 2020 the Rail Passengers Association will be leading efforts in the courts and on Capitol Hill to ensure that America’s passenger rail service continues to thrive. We will fight to sustain our vision of “A Connected America” where all of us, rich or poor, rural or urban, are linked together.

We’re committed to this work and ready to take action, but we can’t do it alone. As we gear up to fight for passenger rail’s present and future, please consider donating to support this critical work.