Amtrak Is Bringing Back Service on 12 of Its Long-haul Routes Just in Time for Summer

The travel industry is making a comeback. For better (hello, reopened international borders) or worse (goodbye, open middle seats), some things in the travel world are returning.

For travelers who avoid the skies or prefer more classic methods of transportation, the latest industry revival is sure to please. This week, Amtrak announced plans to resume service on 12 of its long-distance routes around the country.

On Monday, May 24, the Empire Builder (Chicago to Seattle/Portland), Coast Starlight (Seattle to Los Angeles), California Zephyr (Chicago to San Francisco), and Texas Eagle (Chicago to Los Angeles) routes restored daily service, according to the company.

Previously, low ridership during the pandemic had forced Amtrak to decrease service to only three times per week, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported.

The Amtrak Cascades route will also add a second round trip between Seattle and Eugene, Oregon, and a third round trip on the Seattle to Portland, Oregon, segment, according to the outlet.

However, service to stations north of Seattle, including Everett, Mount Vernon, and Bellingham, remains paused. The recently extended land border closure between the U.S. and Canada means that trips to British Columbia on the Cascades line have also not resumed.

"For 50 years, Amtrak has been connecting us to our destinations," said Sen. Maria Cantwell, who helped secure billions in COVID relief funding for Amtrak, in a written statement, the Associated Press reported. "We need to restore services cut during the pandemic, and we look forward to another 50 years of Amtrak."

Part of President Joe Biden's proposal for infrastructure improvements throughout the U.S. includes $80 billion in funds for Amtrak. The rail company has already released a proposed map of rail expansions that would be possible if that money is secured.

According to Amtrak, additional routes will resume daily service in the coming weeks, including Capitol Limited (Washington, D.C. to Chicago), City of New Orleans (Chicago to New Orleans), Lake Shore Limited (New York/Boston to Chicago), and Southwest Chief (Chicago to Los Angeles) on May 31. On June 7, the Crescent (New York to New Orleans), Palmetto (New York to Savannah), Silver Meteor (New York to Miami), and Silver Star (New York to Miami) routes will be restored as well.

Jessica Poitevien is a Travel + Leisure contributor currently based in South Florida, but she's always on the lookout for her next adventure. Besides traveling, she loves baking, talking to strangers, and taking long walks on the beach. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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