In another sign that the Northeast is beginning plans to reopen, Amtrak announced Friday it is restoring service on the Northeast Corridor — effective June 1 — on a modified schedule in response to anticipated increased demand.
Amtrak said the modified service will include the restoration of three weekday Acela round trips. The frequency of the Northeast Regional line will be increased from eight to 10 round trips.
The announcement comes with the news of new safety initiatives for both customers and employees.
“We are dedicated to doing everything possible to return service safely,” Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn said in a statement. “We want everyone to feel comfortable as they navigate this new normal.”
Flynn said Amtrak is taking extra steps to sanitize stations and trains. Additional measures include the following:
- Facial coverings: Amtrak is requiring that all customers in stations, on trains and thruway buses wear facial coverings. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the use of simple cloth facial coverings or masks to slow the spread of the virus and prevent transmission.
- Limiting bookings: To help maintain CDC recommendations for physical distancing onboard trains, Amtrak has temporarily reduced coach, business and Acela first class sales to 50% capacity.
- Cashless service: Amtrak is temporarily accepting only cashless payments in stations and on trains.
- Physical distancing: Signage has been displayed at stations to indicate safe distances in high customer traffic areas such as waiting rooms, in front ticket offices, at the base/top of escalators, lounge entrances, etc. In addition, clear protective barriers have been retrofitted at stations where there are no current glass barriers.
- Food and beverage service: Amtrak is temporarily offering Flexible Dining service in the dining or lounge car on all long-distance routes (except Auto Train) and encouraging all Sleeping Car customers to select optional room service for their meals. In addition, there will be limited seating in dining and café areas.
While some services were reduced or suspended, Amtrak has and will continue to operate as an essential service as our nation recovers. In addition to the Acela and Northeast Regional, trains will be restored to service by monitoring demand, officials said.