Amtrak Restores Daily Service to Long-Distance Routes It Cut During the Pandemic

We're taking it as a big sign that the return of travel is full-steam ahead

Amtrak Coast Starlight (Los Angeles - Seattle) powered by P42DC locomotives at Moorpark, California
Laser1987 / Getty Images

Both Amtrak and travel have had a rough last year (who didn't?), so if there’s any one thing that’s signaling travel is making its way back on track, it’s this week’s news that Amtrak has begun restoring regular service on several of its long-distance routes.

Previously cut back to just a few times a week due to low ridership numbers during the thick of the pandemic, as of Monday, the national rail service has already restored daily service on four of its long-haul routes on the west coast and in the midwest. This is great news for travelers who love taking the scenic route or, in light of airlines unblocking middle seats, just prefer to travel by train until the pandemic is squarely in the rearview.

Call it a belated birthday present from Amtrak, who turned 50 back in March. “For 50 years, Amtrak has been connecting us to our destinations,” read a written statement by Washington senator Maria Cantwell, who sits on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and helped to secure triple-comma levels of relief funding for Amtrak during the pandemic. “We need to restore services cut during the pandemic, and we look forward to another 50 years of Amtrak.”

Daily service has already been restored on the California Zephyr (between San Francisco and Chicago), Coast Starlight (between Los Angeles and Seattle), Empire Builder (between Seattle and Chicago), and the Texas Eagle (between Los Angeles and Chicago).

Service on the City of New Orleans (between New Orleans and Chicago), Capital Limited (between Washington, D.C., and Chicago), Lake Shore Limited (between New York/Boston and Chicago), and Southwest Chief (between Los Angeles to Chicago) is set to resume daily service on May 31, while Crescent (between New York to New Orleans), Palmetto (between New York to Savannah), and the Silver Star and Silver Meteor (both running between New York and Miami) riders will have to wait until June 7.