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Amtrak Lays the Groundwork for New Overnight Trains

Victoria M. Walker's image
Victoria M. Walker
Victoria M. Walker's image

Victoria M. Walker

Senior Content Contributor

593 Published Articles 1 Edited Article

Countries Visited: 26U.S. States Visited: 27

Victoria holds a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism from the Howard University School of Communications and is an award-winning journalist, travel reporter, and the founder of the “Carrying On with Victoria...

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Amtrak says it’s starting the process to revamp its long-distance trains — the first formal step to replace overnight trains in 40 years, the rail company says.

Here’s what you need to know!

14 Long Distance Routes in Amtrak’s Network

Amtrak says 10 manufacturers have submitted ideas to replace railcars for cross-country overnight trains. The rail company is also researching “design elements and customer amenities” to enhance the passenger experience on its overnight routes.

All told, Amtrak’s Long Distance Network offers 14 overnight routes from coast to coast. The company says proposals have been submitted for routes such as Auto Train, which operates between Lorton, Virginia, and Sanford, Florida, and the Southwest Chief, which runs between Chicago and Los Angeles.

The existing fleet of cars has been delivered across the past 4 decades — and Amtrak says it’s time for an upgrade, as most of the equipment will approach the end of its service life at the end of the next decade.

Amtrak will pay for the purchases by tapping into the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act enacted by Congress and the White House back in 2021.

Amtrak 2022 System Map
Amtrak’s system map in 2022. Image Credit: Amtrak

“Purchasing new long-distance train cars will allow Amtrak to upgrade and modernize the iconic and vital overnight services that link our nation’s major regions,” Amtrak Board Chair Tony Coscia said in a statement.

“We are looking for new trains that improve safety, reliability, accessibility, and efficiency while offering the features our customers believe are most important to modernizing overnight train travel for the 21st century,” the statement continued.

This isn’t the only update Amtrak plans to make in its effort to modernize the federally-funded rail network.

Last month, Amtrak announced a new trainset, dubbed Amtrak Airo, that will enter service in 2026 as part of a massive investment in infrastructure. The new train cars, which will be able to travel at speeds up to 125 mph, will replace the current, outdated “Amfleet” model.

Additionally, new trains are coming to the all-business class Acela, which runs between Washington, D.C. and Boston. These trains are expected to enter service on the Northeast Corridor this year and will feature an updated Cafe Car and contactless storage for luggage.

Bottom Line: Traveling in New York? Amtrak is offering a buy one get one sale for routes across New York State through February 27!

Final Thoughts

Not everyone traverses the continental United States by plane. In fact, some of the most scenic views of the U.S. can be seen on the ground by train. This news, then, is a great thing for train travelers who will see significant updates to Amtrak’s fleet in the coming years.

While it will take years to complete the replacements, they’ll provide a better, more comfortable experience for overnight travelers on Amtrak.

Victoria M. Walker's image

About Victoria M. Walker

Victoria holds a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism from the Howard University School of Communications and is an award-winning journalist, travel reporter, and the founder of the “Carrying On with Victoria M. Walker” newsletter.


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