Happening Now

Hotline #1,160

March 27, 2020

Rail news for the week ending March 27th

The April Passengers Voice Newsletter is now available.

Click here to read the digital version.

Coronavirus Relief Package Includes $1 Billion for Amtrak, $25 Billion for Transit Agencies

The U.S. House voted to send the CARES Act to the president’s desk this afternoon, enacting a $2 trillion coronavirus relief package into law and providing critically needed financial assistance to rail and transit operators across the country. The bill (H.R. 748) provides Amtrak over $1 billion in aid to weather the precipitous drop in ridership, and directs $25 billion to the nation’s struggling transit providers—the largest single-year transit appropriation in U.S. history.

“I want to thank the members of Congress who supported this aid package for rail transportation on behalf of the more than 40 million passengers in the U.S. who depend on passenger rail to work and travel—whether it’s intercity, commuter, or transit,” said Rail Passengers President & CEO Jim Mathews. “While addressing the health crisis will always be the most important part of our response, it’s important that we all understand the gravity of the current moment for our nation’s infrastructure. If we want these services to be there when we start traveling and commuting normally, then the time to act is now.”

[We need your help to say “THANK YOU” to Congress for keeping America’s trains going! Please join us next week in delivering our message to your members of Congress. Find out more at RailPassengers.org/RailNation2020.]

The funding directed by Congress to intercity rail operators and transit agencies in Phase 3 legislation meets or exceeds the levels outlined in the Rail Passengers’ COVID19 request. This financial aid includes:

Amtrak Grants - $1.018 billion

Northeast Corridor - $492 million;

National Network - $526 million;

State Supported Corridors: $239 million

Mass Transit Grants - $25 billion

Urban Area - 13.9 billion

Rural Area - $1.8 billion

State of Good Repair - $7.6 billion

Fast-Growth & High-Density State - $1.7 billion

We’re actively tracking any additional needs at RailPassengers.org/COVID19, and will continue to work with Congress to ensure that these systems are able to return to full service once travel restrictions are eventually eased.

Rescue Package Doesn’t Eliminate The Need For Further Amtrak Investment

As Congress considers Phase Four of its coronavirus response, Rail Passengers is educating policymakers on the central role that intercity passenger rail and transit will play in getting our economy back on track.

Towards that end, we are currently developing a list of rail projects that are able to move quickly if funding becomes available. These projects will get Americans back to work by creating construction jobs and demand for manufacturing capacity. They are also investments in a better, more efficient U.S. transportation system that will return dividends for generations to come.

As Rail Passengers CEO Jim Mathews told the Washington Post last week, advocates need to be alert to ensure that rescue package funding doesn't wipe out any hope of paying for Amtrak's ambitious growth plans, plans your Association has been working patiently with Congress and Amtrak to advance for more than a year.

“Amtrak has outlined an incredibly bold, thoughtful and ambitious plan in its Fiscal 2021 legislative report and grant request,” Mathews said, “and the danger is that after a $1 billion bailout there will be reluctance to fund what has needed to be funded all along. That would be a mistake.”

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Amtrak's ridership is down 92% because of the coronavirus outbreak. Meanwhile, in the same Post article quoting Mathews, Stephen Gardner, Amtrak’s Chief Operating and Commercial Officer, observed that “eventually this will pass, but none of the bridges or [train] cars or any of the things we have that are old and need to be replaced will get younger as a result of this crisis.”

Rail Passengers agrees with Gardner that all of the crucial elements of our National Network will still need investment when this crisis has passed. And that investment will pay major dividends, in jobs, in economic vitality and recovery and in preparation for resilience if -- or when -- we face another crisis like this one.

Rail Passengers Members Forge Ahead with Advocacy Work

On the week of March 31, 2020 Rail Passengers members from all across the nation will engage in a virtual Rail Passengers Day on the Hill to fight for more and better passenger trains in the U.S.

Rail Passengers has created a one-stop advocacy resource for passengers looking to help us build a better passenger rail and transit system in America.

Because Congress is struggling to respond to problems in every part of the U.S. economy, in addition to helping our healthcare system deal with the strain, we will need to be focused and to the point with our message to offices. We've ranked the different sections of our “Ask” into three tiers, in order of importance.

Tier 1: “Thank you for supporting intercity rail and transit in the coronavirus aid package, and please continue to support these essential systems as you consider additional stimulus.

Tier 2: Provide robust funding for Amtrak, commuter rail, and transit in the FY2021 budget.

Tier 3: Rail Passengers Association is ready to work with Congress on the surface transportation reauthorization when regular order returns.

You can find all our resources at RailPassengers.org/RailNation2020


As you may have read, due to the current COVID-19 outbreak across the nation the Rail Passengers Association decided to delay our annual spring meeting until late June.

However, the legislative gears are still rapidly turning in Washington, D.C., and we’re still working every day for a bigger and better passenger rail system. With that in mind, we will be going ahead with our plans for the Passenger Rail Day on the Hill to be more “virtual.”

This is where we need your help! We are asking you to take the pledge to join us on Tuesday, March 31 to call your members of Congress - or even schedule a future meeting with staffers at your local district offices - to ask for more investment in passenger trains.

We’ll provide you with specific requests for:

  • Fiscal Year 2021 Appropriations: House and Senate appropriators are currently considering spending levels for Amtrak, passenger rail grant programs, and transit. It’s important that they hear from passengers about the pressing needs of Amtrak and transit systems.

  • Surface Transportation Reauthorization Blueprint: Congress is drafting a bill that will control passenger rail funding and policy over the next five years, and shape the passenger rail network for decades.

  • Infrastructure/Stimulus Bill: With a flagging economy, leaders in both the Senate and the House are discussing using an infrastructure bill to revitalize our economy, and we need to make sure rail is part of the conversation. This will be even more important with news coming that travelers across the country are canceling their travel plans, causing a sharp drop in Amtrak and airline revenues.

On Monday, March 30th, Joe Aiello and Madi Butler will provide a video presentation to help guide you through the necessary “Asks” and an online portal to make it easier for you to contact your elected officials. They will also be answering your advocacy and policy questions through all the Association’s social media channels.


Auto Train Derailment in Florida

After leaving the station in Sanford, yesterday's northbound Auto Train derailed less than 20 miles away outside of DeLand, FL around 4:15p. While none of the passenger cars were affected, nine of the vehicle cars ended off the tracks and on their sides. There were no injuries reported among the 294 passengers and one member of the 23 person crew was transported to the hospital with a foot injury.

News chopper footage of the derailment can be found here.

High-Speed Train to Las Vegas Moving Forward

It’s been over 20 years since passengers have been able to access the famous Las Vegas Strip via rail, but that is all about to change with current plans in motion for the Brightline/Virgin Trains USA operated XpressWest. The $4.8 billion, 170-mile project will connect Southern California and Las Vegas by way of a 125+ mph passenger train that will take people end-to-end in 90 minutes. While this exact route has had a number of false starts and promises over the years, things have become much more concrete in recent weeks and earlier this month the USDOT signed off on issuing $1 billion in tax-free bonds to help with infrastructure costs.

Next month, triggered by the bond ruling, officials in California will call a committee hearing to approve an additional $2.4 billion in private activity bonds as part of California’s share of the program. State Treasurer Fiona Ma said that the USDOT bond letter was the “affirmation” she was looking for as her office takes a lead role in the project. Art Bishop, former mayor of Apple Valley, CA, told reporters that this would be a “shot in the arm” for the region and will bring hundreds of new permanent jobs.

Essential Workers Still Need Transit Options

A new report released this week by New York’s TransitCenter states that nearly 3 million transit users around the country are labeled “essential workers”, this includes over 600,000 people who work in hospitals, doctors offices, or as home health providers. This highlights the need for the various agencies to maintain a frequent service so the workers have a safe and healthy way to get back and forth. As TransitCenter points out in the report, “with less frequent service, buses and subways are more likely to be crowded and therefore unsafe due to the inability to adequately keep a safe distance from others.”

You can read the full report here

Transit Travel Updates

An update from a variety of transit agencies from around the country and how they are dealing with the current pandemic crisis.


Valley Transportation Authority has indefinitely shut down the South Bay light rail network after an employee in training had tested positive for coronavirus. With ridership down 86% after the shelter in place orders went into effect, VTA is shifting focus to their bus services, sanitizing their fleet, and making sure employees are provided protocol and training to better handle these conditions. Santa Clara County has been one of the most impacted communities in the region thus far.


The Municipal Transit Agency decided to suspend light rail and muni metro services (routes J, KT, L, M, N) late Wednesday night. This coming Monday, the affected routes will be serviced by bus for passengers needing to run essential errands and those working in essential fields. Muni Rapid Routes 5R, 9R, 28R, and 38R will be halted while 14R will continue. While bay area passengers will still be able to rely on BART, Muni Metro subway stations will be closed with the exception of the downtown stations.


After a reported 94% drop in ridership, SEPTA announced that they are transitioning to an essential services schedule beginning this Sunday. The Regional Rail trains will run every two hours and the Airport Line every hour. SEPTA will not be running the Cynwyd Line on weekends, however the other 12 regional lines will continue running everyday. Bus, trolley, and subway service will continue on the Saturday schedule.


As cases increase in New York, MTA is providing essential services and reducing hours and locations for customer service. NYCT will be running with limited crews indefinitely. LIRR will be running on alternating hourly and half hour schedules. Metro-North will be continuing to modify its schedule with updates to come. MTA is also guaranteeing a 72 hour turnaround time for full fleet sanitation in constant rotation and will continue to enforce strict protocol for their sanitation department.


Ventra 7-day and 30-day cardholders can apply to receive credit for unused time remaining on the card based on the last day of its use. Eligible customers can apply for this credit now until April 13th. All lines will remain open at this time and social distancing will be encouraged in the station, on board, and on the platform. Vehicle and station deep cleaning will continue daily with additional cleaning staff for full fleet deep cleaning routines.

Heartland Flyer Extension Takes A Big Step Forward With Endorsement By Kansas State Senate

Kansas lawmakers have taken one more step toward achieving the long-sought connection between the Texas Eagle and the Southwest Chief by extending the Heartland Flyer, unanimously passing a resolution supporting that extension.

On March 10, the Kansas legislators passed Resolution SR1767 supporting extending the Flyer’s daily round trip between Fort Worth and Oklahoma City -- operated by Amtrak on behalf of the Oklahoma and Texas Departments of Transportation -- north to Newton, Kan., where it would connect to the Chief.

The resolution text notes that “numerous studies conducted by universities in Texas and Kansas have determined the economic benefit of Amtrak’s Heartland Flyer passenger rail service and its extension to be at least three to one for every dollar spent.”

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) proposed dedicating state budget funds for preliminary work to develop additional passenger rail services.

The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) has already introduced the new FORWARD Kansas transportation plan, which included the development of the Heartland Flyer extension from Oklahoma City to Newton, Kansas. Ridership on the Heartland Flyer extension from Oklahoma City to Newton, Kansas, is anticipated to double if connected with the Southwest Chief.

Amtrak had approached the state of Kansas to enter into a multi-operational partnership for an extended Heartland Flyer that would bridge the Southwest Chief line to the Texas Eagle service at Fort Worth Central Station.

The newly passed resolution urges the Kansas congressional delegation to support the inclusion of federal funding for the full implementation and development of the Heartland Flyer extension in the upcoming reauthorization of the FAST Act (Fixing America’s Surface Transportation). Amtrak had presented to the 2020 Committee on Ways and Means of the Kansas Senate a plan to request 100% federal funding for rail development of the Heartland Flyer extension, through reauthorization.

The Northern Flyer Alliance, Inc. an advocate for the reintroduction of passenger rail service from Kansas City through Wichita to Fort Worth, has been instrumental in pushing both Kansas and Oklahoma lawmakers forward on passenger train issues. NFA is a coalition of 49 cities, six counties, and 19 Chambers of Commerce along the I-35 corridor that have joined together to promote passenger rail service in their communities.

(Rail Passengers Chairman and Texas Rail Advocates President Peter LeCody contributed to this report.)

As Amtrak Goes No-Cash Under Virus Threat, What Happens For Those With No Credit Card?

By Jim Mathews / President & CEO

The most vulnerable among us have a way of getting hurt the most by large-scale crises and disruptions like the coronavirus outbreak, and Rail Passengers is looking into one more unintended consequence of the need to maintain physical distance -- Amtrak’s recent instruction to accept no cash, which could leave poorer travelers and the “unbanked” with no options.

It’s a sensible move to guard against infection because handling physical cash can promote the spread of the virus, which appears to be able to survive for long periods on contaminated surfaces. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been urging businesses since March 10 to “promote tap and pay to limit handling of cash,” and we learned this week that Amtrak has adopted that policy.

We certainly recognize the need to limit the spread of this deadly virus, and we don’t fault Amtrak for taking this eminently reasonable precaution. But we all need to work together to find workarounds for those who must use cash. This includes poorer travelers who do not have credit cards, those who do not have bank accounts and rely on check-cashing stands for access to their money and groups, such as the Amish, who do not participate in the electronic banking system.

One recent solution seems to have become less practical: reloadable debit cards, which are beginning to be as hard to find at regular retailers as toilet paper and Lysol. We at Rail Passengers right now don’t have an answer. I’m raising the question as a challenge, however, that maybe all of us can come up with a solution.

[Edited to correct the headline.]

Membership News and Notices

  • While the Rail Passengers staff is working remotely, we don’t have access to our membership card printer or new member materials. Luckily, you can find information about your membership and print a temporary 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.

  • Did you know that your Rail Passengers membership dues and general donations may be tax-deductible? Your membership dues are tax-deductible, minus any Amtrak Guest Rewards points you receive (valued at 2.5 cents each). General donations are 100% tax-deductible. Rail Passengers’ EIN/Tax ID number is 36-2615221.

  • 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 forms typically read, “Yes, I deserve better: I’m renewing to make sure passengers’ voices are heard!”

  • Rail Passengers has developed a new Membership Committee and we need members like you! If you are interested in diversifying our membership, spreading the word about the work we do, and can spend a few hours a month working with us to do so, join our Membership Committee! Contact Membership Manager Kim Williams at [email protected] if you’re interested. You must be a current member in good standing. Bonus points if you’re a member who primarily rides commuter/intercity rail or lives outside the Northeast Corridor.

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

This week social media coverage was dominated by the current COVID-19 pandemic and keeping our followers informed of the latest Amtrak and public transportation service changes from around the country.

Do you want to weigh in on the digital conversation? Join us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to stay in touch and up to date on all things RPA everyday.


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 give you updates on what Rail Passengers HQ is up to...even when we’re all working online or from home!

  • Jim Mathews, President & CEO, spent much of his time this week preparing for next week’s Virtual Day on the Hill, while also meeting (digitally) with important stakeholders about efforts to include Amtrak, private operators and mass transit in coronavirus rescue packages.

  • Sean Jeans Gail, Vice President of Policy, worked with congressional offices and other stakeholder groups to coordinate a response for transit agencies and intercity rail operators in the just-passed coronavirus aid legislation. He also worked closely with our members to prepare materials for next week’s Rail Passengers Day on the Hill.

  • Carolyn Cokley, Director of Customer Programs, has continued meeting with Amtrak regarding the Working Group Project. Carolyn is continuing talks with Amtrak District Station Managers on location feasibility for volunteer programs, going forward. Stay healthy!

  • Joseph Aiello, Field Coordinator, has been working with the rest of the DC staff preparing for next week’s virtual Rail Passengers Day on the Hill and assisted Sean Jeans-Gail with a legislative update webinar this past week.. Joe also sat down over video chat last night with Madi Butler to record a new episode of their Rail Results podcast.

  • Madi Butler, Grassroots Organizer, is working to support the Field and Policy teams as we prepare for Day on the HIll. For any questions on how to support this virtual advocacy, feel free to reach out via email.

  • Jonsie Stone, Director, Resource Development, spent the week working on outreach messages, processing donations and Association administrative activities.

  • Kim Williams, Membership Manager, spent the week sorting through database issues, responding to member inquiries, and processing payments.

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!

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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

San Joaquins Service Schedule Changes

Effective March 26, 2020

Please be advised that the San Joaquins service will operate on limited schedules beginning March 26, until further notice.

Train Service Changes

  • Trains 701, 702, 703, 704, 714 and 717 and Thruway Bus connections are cancelled.

  • Thruway buses 3512 and 3519 between Bakersfield and Las Vegas are cancelled.

  • Please visit https://amtraksanjoaquins.com/amtrak-san-joaquinscovid-19-service-adjustments/ for the most up to date Thruway schedules.

  • Café car service is suspended effective March 26. Complimentary snacks and water will be available.

Station Changes

  • Station buildings at Fresno, Handford, Merced, Modesto and Martinez will close March 26, until further notice.

  • Customers boarding at these stations should proceed directly to the train and may purchase tickets onboard from the conductor.

  • Bakersfield, Stockton, Sacramento, Emeryville and Oakland will operate with reduced staff and hours.

Carolinian and Piedmont Services Schedule Changes

Effective March 23, 2020

Carolinian and 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.

  • Carolinian Trains 79 and 80 will operate daily on their current schedule with no Business Class or checked baggage.

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.

Amtrak Cascades Schedule Changes

Effective March 21, 2020

Amtrak Cascades will be operating on a reduced schedule between Seattle and Eugene as outlined below:

Train Service Changes

  • Train 500 will operate daily until April 3, departing Eugene at 5:30 am.

  • Train 504 will operate daily until April 3, departing Portland at 12:00 pm.

  • Train 517 will originate in Seattle, with no alternate transportation provided.

  • Train 518 will terminate in Seattle, with no alternate transportation provided.

  • Trains 502, 506, 507, 508, 511, 513, 516 and 519 will not operate between March 21 and April 3.

Please note: Café service is suspended until further notice effective March 21 for outbound and March 22 for inbound trains.

POINT Bus Service Changes-March 21 through April 3

  • Bus 5503 will operate daily, departing Portland at 12:25 pm.

  • Bus 5504 will operate daily, departing Eugene (Willamette Street) at 8:24 am.

  • Bus 5508 will provide service for Train 508, departing Eugene (Willamette Street) at 3:55 pm

  • Buses 5502 and 5545 will not operate.

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.

Missouri River Runner Train 311 Operating 1 Hour Earlier

Effective March 23, 2020

In an effort to increase on time performance and customer satisfaction, Missouri River Runner Train 311 will operate 1 hour earlier beginning March 23.

Schedule outlined below:


Train 311 Daily

St. Louis

8:15 a.m.


8:44 a.m.


9:21 a.m.


9:49 a.m.

Jefferson City

10:36 a.m.


11:49 a.m.


12:20 p.m.

Lee’s Summit

1:04 p.m.


1:20 p.m.

Kansas City

1:55 p.m.

Keystone Service and Pennsylvanian Schedule Changes

Effective March 18 through 30, 2020

Effective March 18, schedule changes will impact Keystone Service and Pennsylvanian trains as outlined below:

Keystone Service:

  • Keystone Service trains will not operate between Harrisburg and New York from March 18 through 29.

  • All trains will be operating on a reduced schedule at all other locations along the route.


  • Trains 42 and 43 will not operate between Pittsburgh and New York from March 19 through 29.

Palmetto Trains 89 and 90 Schedule Changes

Effective March 23 - April 9, 2020

Due to track work being performed by CSX, Palmetto Trains 89 and 90’s schedule will be impacted as outlined below:

Train 89:

  • Monday through Thursday, March 23 – April 9, Train 89 will operate between New York and Washington, D.C. with no alternate transportation provided between Washington, D.C. and Savannah.

Train 90:

  • Monday through Thursday, March 23-April 9, Train 90 will operate between Washington, D.C. and New York, with no alternate transportation provided between Savannah and Washington, D.C.

Please note: Trains 52, 53, 97 and 98 can expect approximately 30-minute delays between Savannah and Florence.

Bingen-White Salmon and Wishram, WA Stations Temporarily Closed

Effective Immediately

Effective immediately, the Bingen-White Salmon and Wishram station waiting rooms are temporarily closed, until further notice. Trains will continue to stop at both stations and passengers will have access to platforms.

Passengers will not have access to the inside of the station or restrooms during this time.

Albuquerque, NM, Station Waiting Room Hours Temporarily Modified

Effective Immediately

Effective immediately, the Albuquerque, NM, station waiting room hours are temporarily modified, until further notice.

Ticketed passengers and those wishing to purchase tickets will have access to the inside of the station by security 2 hours prior to train arrival and until train departs.

Friends and family picking up arriving passengers are not permitted in the station and are asked to wait in their vehicles.

Kirkwood, MO, Station Waiting Room Temporarily Closed

Effective Immediately

Effective immediately, the Kirkwood, MO, station waiting room is temporarily closed. Trains will continue to stop at the station and passengers will have access to platforms.

Passengers will not have access to the inside of the station or restrooms during this time.

East Lansing and Kalamazoo, MI Stations Waiting Room Temporarily Closed

Effective Immediately

Effective immediately, the East Lansing station waiting room is temporarily closed until further notice. Trains will continue to stop at the station and passengers will have access to platforms.

Passengers will not have access to the inside of the station or restrooms during this time. Caretakers will be on site to help with questions or directions during scheduled train times.

Harrisburg, Lancaster, Altoona, and Johnstown, PA Stations Temporarily Closed

Effective Immediately

Effective immediately, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Altoona and Johnstown stations are closed to the public until further notice.

Passengers will not have access to the inside of the station or restrooms during this time.

Lawrence and Dodge City, KS Santa Fe Depots Temporarily Closed

Effective Immediately

Effective immediately, the city of Dodge City is closing the Santa Fe Depot waiting room until further notice. Trains will continue to stop at the station and passengers will have access to platforms.

Passengers will not have access to the inside of the station or restrooms during this time.

Lincoln, NE Station Waiting Room Temporarily Closed

Effective March 21 and 22, 2020

Effective March 21 and 22, the Lincoln station waiting room is temporarily closed. Trains will continue to stop at the station and passengers will have access to platforms.

Passengers will not have access to the inside of the station or restrooms during this time.

Burlington, IA, Station Waiting Room Temporarily Closed

Effective Immediately

Effective immediately, the Burlington, IA, station waiting room is temporarily closed. Trains will continue to stop at the station and passengers will have access to platforms.

Passengers will not have access to the inside of the station or restrooms during this time.

Keystone Service Schedule Changes

Effective March 13 through 30, 2020

Effective Friday, March 13, In coordination with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Keystone Service trains will not stop at the Ardmore station.

Trains will be operating on a reduced schedule at all other locations along the route. Please visit

Amtrak.com or Amtrak’s mobile app for the most up to date schedules.

On the timetable listed on Amtrak.com the schedules will be noted with an “S” next to the train number.

Lake Shore Limited Trains 448 and 449 Track Work Affects Service

Fri., Sat. and Sun. March 20 - May 17, 2020

Track work being performed by MBTA will affect Trains 448 and 449 between Albany and Boston, as follows:

Train 448 Albany – Boston Service, Friday-Saturday: Mar. 20-21, 27-28; April 3-4, 10-11, 17-18, 24-25; May 1-2, 8-9, 15-16.

Customers who are traveling to Pittsfield, Springfield, Worcester and Boston (South Station) will get off the train at Albany on the dates above. At Albany, bus service will be provided to and from all stations listed above. No alternate transportation will be provided for the missed stop of Framingham. Passengers traveling to Back Bay will be bussed to Boston and then may take an MBTA or Amtrak commuter train between Boston and Back Bay.

Train 449 Boston – Albany Service, Saturday-Sunday: Mar. 21-22, 28-29; Apr. 4-5, 11-12, 18-19, 25-26; May 2-3, 9-10, 16-17.

Train 449 will not operate between Boston (South Station) and Albany on the dates above.

Passengers boarding at Boston (South Station), Worcester, Springfield and Pittsfield will be provided bus service to Albany. No alternate transportation will be provided for missed stops at Back Bay and Framingham. Passengers traveling from Back Bay will have the option of boarding at Boston or traveling on alternate dates.

Boston (South Station) and Worcester

  • Passengers at Boston South Station should go to the Amtrak Information Desk for instructions on boarding the buses.

  • Passengers at Worcester will board the bus at the main entrance in front of the station. Boarding will not occur at the Bus Terminal.

Please Note: There will be no Business Class or sleeping car during this time

Keystone Service Schedule Changes

Effective Mar. 7 through Nov. 15, 2020

Due to the Middletown Station Construction Project, Keystone Service schedules will be affected between Mar. 7 and Nov. 15.


  • Train 620 will operate 5 minutes later from Harrisburg to Elizabethtown, will now stop at Mt. Joy and will operate 6 minutes later from Lancaster to Philadelphia.

  • Train 622 will now stop at Mt. Joy and will operate 1 minute later from Lancaster to Philadelphia.

  • Train 646 will operate 1 minute earlier from Harrisburg to Elizabethtown, will now stop at Mt. Joy and will operate on the current schedule from Lancaster to Philadelphia.

  • Train 652 will operate 10 minutes earlier from Harrisburg to Philadelphia

  • Train 654 will operate 10 minutes later from Harrisburg to Philadelphia.


  • Train 605 will operate 10 minutes later from Philadelphia to Harrisburg.

  • Train 607 will operate 10 minutes earlier from Philadelphia to Harrisburg.

  • Train 645 will operate 10 minutes later from Lancaster to Harrisburg.

  • Train 669 will operate 5 minutes later from Elizabethtown to Harrisburg on weekends.

Travel Tip of the Week

While Amtrak continues to operate across the nation, some services have been adjusted due to significantly reduced demands in key markets. The most up-to-date schedules are available when booking your trip on Amtrak.com and in the mobile app.

Operating on a reduced schedule:

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

  • 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

  • Downeaster (Boston – Brunswick, Maine)

  • Empire Service (New York – Niagara Falls)

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

  • Hiawatha (Chicago – Milwaukee)

  • 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, N.Y.

  • Missouri River Runner (St. Louis – Kansas City) starting March 30

  • 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, D.C. – St. Albans): No service north of New Haven (Monday-Saturday) and no service on Sundays

  • Wolverine (Chicago – Pontiac. Mich.)

Suspended services:

  • Acela (Boston – Washington, DC)

  • Keystone Service (Harrisburg – New York)

  • Pennsylvanian trains (New York – Pittsburgh)

  • Pere Marquette (Chicago – Grand Rapids)

  • Winter Park Express (Denver – Winter Park Resort)

Due to service reductions, some stations may not be staffed. If the station is closed, please proceed to the platform to board your train.

Due to current health circumstances, effective today, March 27, Amtrak has temporarily stopped accepting cash at stations and on trains. Amtrak accepts all major credit cards. Amtrak is advising that branded debit cards be purchased at local retailers to allow purchase of Amtrak tickets and food aboard trains.

Other services may also be impacted as circumstances change. Café service will also be suspended on select trains.

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

Amtrak is waiving change fees on all existing or new reservations made before April 30, 2020. Simply log in to your account or go to Modify Trip on Amtrak.com, or find your reservation from your account on the home screen in the Amtrak app. A fare difference can apply to your new itinerary. If you want to cancel your reservation with no fee, you must call 800-USA-RAIL and speak with an agent (not available via Amtrak.com or the app).

While reduced service is running across the country, it is still essential to exercise caution around railroad tracks and crossings.

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]

Lonely Planet's Amazing Train Journeys

Planning a holiday-season vacation including trains, or looking for a great holiday gift idea, then you need a copy of Lonely Planet’s ‘Amazing Train Journeys’ guidebook! And 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.

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!

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.