Amtrak Extends Some Service Suspensions

Amtrak indicated on Thursday that some trains will not resume daily operation on March 28 as the passenger carrier had earlier indicated they would.

Trains that will continue to operate five days a week include the Empire Builder, California Zephyr, Southwest Chief, Lake Shore Limited, City of New Orleans, and Crescent.

The Capitol Limited, Texas Eagle, and Coast Starlight will resume daily operation on March 28.

On that date, all seven Chicago-Milwaukee Hiawatha weekday round trips and full weekend service will be restored, as will nine weekday trips each way between New York City and Albany-Rensselaer, New York.

Other state-supported and Northeast Corridor cuts announced in January are to continue indefinitely.
Most notable among those in Midwest corridors is the southbound Saluki from Chicago to Carbondale, Illinois, and northbound Illini from Carbondale to Chicago.

The suspension of the Silver Meteor, which had been suspended in its entirety, will continue.

Amtrak has not said when suspended trains will be reinstated. “We continue to work on further frequency additions for the coming months as staffing and other resources allow,” Amtrak said in a statement.

In the meantime, the passenger carrier has been notifying passengers booked to travel in April and May on dates of which there will be no service that they need to reschedule their trips.

Trains magazine reported on its website that the affected long-distance trains are shown in the Amtrak reservation system as being reinstated to full daily service between May 23-28.

However, an Amtrak spokesman told Trains that that is its spring schedule and the company will announce its summer schedules at a later date.

In a statement to Trains, Amtrak said the continued service suspensions are due to “staffing and hiring shortages for skilled technical employees caused by the pandemic.”

The statement said Amtrak is working toward restoring train frequ3nces “in the coming months as our hiring, training and staffing levels advance.”

Railfan & Railroad magazine reported on its website that Amtrak officials cited hiring challenges for the service suspensions continuation.

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