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Amtrak is returning to daily long-distance service.

Amtrak's City of New Orleans
Amtrak’s City of New Orleans picking up and dropping off passengers at Jackson, MS

Amtrak is returning to daily long-distance service because, during the pandemic, Amtrak reduced long-distance trains to three days a week service. The restoration is due to the American Rescue Plan funding, and Amtrak will again begin daily service.

Dialy long-distance service starts in May and will begin in three phases.

Many state-sponsored trains are slowly returning to pre-pandemic schedules, but I do not have those dates for each route. I know the Hiawatha will be back on its pre-pandemic schedule before June, according to available booking.

Face Mask are still needed

Amtrak still requires the use of face masks on all trains, platforms, and stations. Even if the state does not require them, Amtrak does.

The dates Amtrak is returning its daily long-distance service.

May 24May 31June 7
California ZephyrCapitol Limited Crescent 
Coast Starlight City of New OrleansPalmetto
Empire BuilderLake Shore LimitedSilver Meteor
Texas Eagle Southwest Chief Silver Star
The has maintained seven days a week; the Cardinal and the Sunset Limited still follow their historic three days a week.

Daily service and what that means for food.

Amtrak Veggie Burger
A Veggie Burger with cheese bacon from Amtrak’s Dining car

According to a Train Magazine post, Bob Johnston talks to Roger Harris, Amtrak’s chief marketing and revenue officer.

Amtrak plans to restore “traditional” dining car meals with the daily frequencies, Harris says, “but we’re not quite sure yet how to work through the health implications. Communal dining is probably a non-starter for now, and you can work backward through food preparation and delivery.”

“It’s important to figure this out because it involves the recall of employees for the daily service this summer, so it’s a rather intertwined process,” Harris says. “There will be some foodservice decisions in the coming months, but there will be further developments in the next year, as we get our new team really focused on this.”

From what I have heard, trains running east of the Mississippi will continue to use Amtrak’s flex dining.

Stay tuned to see what happens to dining on Amtrak.

Updates you will find as you return to travel.

According to an Amtrak press release: Scheduled restoration is a critical part of Amtrak’s strategy for investing in long-distance service. Other components include:

  • The debut of the new Viewliner II sleeping cars on the Silver Service, the first addition to the Amtrak sleeper fleet in over two decades
  • Upgraded bedding, towels, and linens in private rooms aboard the Auto Train, with additional routes rolling out starting in summer
  • Fully-refreshed Amfleet II cars for Coach class routes along East Coast, including new seating cushions, carpets, curtains, and LED reading lights
  • Multi-year interior refresh program for Superliner and Viewliner I equipment—including new seating cushions, carpet, and curtains—beginning to enter service this summer
  • New Amtrak ALC-42 diesel-electric locomotives with higher performance and lower emissions will replace the current long-distance engine fleet this year.
  • Improved lounge experience for all private room customers—including the debut of the Metropolitan Lounge in the Moynihan Train Hall at New York Penn Station
  • Enhancements to the Auto Train customer experience

If you have a trip booked

Amtrak Superliner Sleeper
The entrance to an Amtrak Superliner Sleeper Car

If you currently have an upcoming trip, there is a chance you can move those reservations to a more convenient date if you wanted. Some fees could apply, but it is worth calling or checking electronically. There is a chance you could find cheaper rates, but that is not guaranteed.

Regional trains

Regional trains are starting to return as well. If you are interested in when some of those trains are returning, check out Trains Magazine’s article.


For anyone that has tried to book an Amtrak adventure lately, this is exciting news. The tone Amtrak is taking these days is more optimistic than in past years, and I am excited to see what is in Amtrak’s future.

Many regional trains are also returning to their pre-pandemic services as well.

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Safe Travels!


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Kev has traveled over 125,000 miles on over 660 trains all around the United States aboard Amtrak. When he is not on the move, Kev enjoys making music as an organist.

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