By Justin Franz
WASHINGTON — Amtrak will begin reducing long-distance train services across the country starting the week of Oct. 5, according to an internal memo drafted this week. The meno was first shared online by passenger rail advocates and Amtrak officials tell Railfan & Railroad that it is authentic.
The new schedules will be rolled out over the course of three weeks, starting with the California Zephyr, Capital Limited, City of New Orleans and Crescent the week of Oct. 5. On the week of Oct. 12, the Coast Starlight, Lake Shore Limited, Texas Eagle and Southwest Chief will be reduced. And finally, on the week of Oct. 19, the Empire Builder and Palmetto will be reduced to three days a week. Only the Auto Train will continue to run seven days a week.
In June, Amtrak told employees that it would be cutting long-distance services due to declining ridership amid the COVID-19 pandemic with the hopes of eventually restoring it in 2012. Earlier this week, Amtrak released a white paper that outlined the criteria for when a train would return to daily service, including regional public health, future demand and current performance.
Amtrak’s long-distance schedule starting in October.