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Amtrak’s New Rear-Facing Seating on Northeast Corridor Trains

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Victoria M. Walker
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Victoria M. Walker

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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...
Edited by: Stella Shon
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Stella Shon

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With a degree in media and journalism, Stella has been in the points and miles game for more than 6 years. She most recently worked as a Corporate Communications Analyst for JetBlue. Find her work in ...

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Amtrak says all trains on the Northeast Corridor (NEC) will transition to permanent fixed forward and backward seating on March 2, 2024.

Here’s what you need to know.

New Seating Arrangement on Amtrak Trains

All Northeast Regional service, plus select routes on the East Coast, such as the Carolinian, Empire Service, Vermonter, and Amtrak Virginia, will have fixed seating. Roughly half the seats on a train face the direction of travel, while are half positioned in the opposite direction.

Several Amtrak trains — including Ethan Allen Express and Keystone Service — have already adopted fixed seating.

Amtrak says travelers with trouble finding a forward-facing seat onboard should contact a conductor for assistance. Note that forward-facing seats aren’t guaranteed — they are on a first-come, first-served basis.

Hot Tip:

Business class passengers who want a forward-facing (or backward-facing) seat can change their seat assignment on Amtrak.com or via the Amtrak mobile app.

New Amtrak Trains Will Feature Fixed Seating

Two of Amtrak’s newest trainsets — Amtrak Airo and Acela — will have fixed seating. The rail company said that existing Acela trains will include fixed seating later this year.

Amtrak Acela first class seating
Image Credit: Amtrak

Last year, Amtrak announced a significant update to its fleet, part of its investment in infrastructure.

Amtrak Airo, scheduled to debut in 2026, will travel up to 125 mph. The onboard product is also getting a massive update and will see self-service options in the Cafe Car, more legroom, and larger windows. Business class will be arranged in a 2-1 seating configuration, a positive change from the current 2-2 offering

You’ll find Amtrak Airo trains on Amtrak Northeast Regional, Carolinian, and Empire Service, among others, when they enter service in 2026.

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 in 2024. New features coming to the updated Acela trains include an updated Cafe Car, larger restrooms, and contactless storage for luggage. These trains will also have fixed seating.

Bottom Line:

Do you ride Amtrak trains often? Consider the Amtrak Guest Rewards® Preferred Mastercard® with an elevated welcome offer.

Final Thoughts

Amtrak is making some positive changes to the onboard experience by adding fixed forward and backward seating on Northeast Corridor routes.

What’s good about fixed seating is that it’s coming to virtually every route along the NEC, which is Amtrak’s busiest — and we hope to see even more routes in the future.

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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