Amtrak expands service to near pre-pandemic levels ahead of DC summer travel

D.C. travelers using Amtrak this summer will have more options than the past two years: train services are expanding up the East Coast.

The new schedule went into effect Monday and increases train frequencies, with more expansions planned for later this month. Amtrak cited an increase in demand for both leisure and business travel when announcing the bolstered service.



Northeast Regional trains are running nearly 80% as often as they did before COVID-19.

Starting May 23, four long-distance trains will be returned to daily service: California Zephyr; Empire Builder; Lake Shore Limited; and Southwest Chief.

And the Acela trains will run more often than they have since start of the pandemic.

Here’s the updated schedule:

  • Northeast Regional service between D.C. and Boston:
    • 13 roundtrips per weekday between D.C. and New York City;
    • Nine roundtrips every Saturday between D.C. and New York City;
    • 14 roundtrips every Sunday between D.C. and New York City;
    • Eight roundtrips per weekday between Boston and New York City;
    • Eight roundtrips every Saturday between Boston and New York City;
    • Nine roundtrips every Sunday between Boston and New York City.
  • Keystone Service offers expanded service between Harrisburg and New York City:
    • 12 roundtrips per weekday between Philadelphia and Harrisburg;
    • 10 roundtrips per weekday between Philadelphia and New York City, including a new early morning departure arriving in New York City by 7:15 a.m.
  • Hartford Line between New Haven and Springfield is fully restored with seven roundtrips per weekday.

And the following additions to the schedule will start May 23:

  • Acela service between D.C. and Boston:
    • 10 roundtrips per weekday between D.C., and New York City;
    • Four roundtrips every Saturday between D.C., and New York City;
    • Six roundtrips every Sunday between D.C., and New York City;
    • Nine roundtrips per weekday between Boston and New York City;
    • Three roundtrips every Saturday between Boston and New York City;
    • Four roundtrips every Sunday between Boston and New York City.
  • Long distance service will be offered effective May 23:
    • Daily service: Auto Train, California Zephyr, Capitol Limited, Coast Starlight, Empire; Builder, Lake Shore Limited, Palmetto, Silver Star, Southwest Chief, Texas Eagle;
    • Five departures a week: City of New Orleans, Crescent;
    • Three departures a week: Cardinal, Sunset Limited;
    • Silver Meteor: Interim service continues to be provided daily via Silver Star, Palmetto, Carolinian and Northeast Regional.

Amtrak plans to add more service for the summer months later this spring, according to a news release.

Amtrak, which was severely impacted by the pandemic in 2020 and part of 2021, said the expansion was possible because it added 1,500 new employees this year

“We are recruiting and training additional employees nationwide to accelerate our recovery from the pandemic and to support service growth,” said Stephen Gardner, CEO at Amtrak, in a news release.



Amtrak remains on track to put its faster, roomier Acela trains into service in 2023. Those trains will be capable of traveling at speeds in excess of 180 mph, though they will initially be capped at 160 mph.

WTOP’s Jeff Clabaugh contributed to this report.

Jessica Kronzer

Jessica Kronzer graduated from James Madison University in May 2021 after studying media and politics. She enjoys covering politics, advocacy and compelling human-interest stories.

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