Refreshed railcar interiors, improved soft goods, traditional dining restoration and new low-emissions Amtrak locomotive displayed
CHICAGO – Amtrak has initiated a multi-million-dollar and multi-year project to improve the customer experience aboard its long distance trains serving overnight routes across the country. Elements of this work were displayed this week at Chicago Union Station.
Modernized interiors of Amtrak’s bi-level “Superliner” fleet, serving primarily midwestern, southern and western routes, will improve comfort with new seating cushions and upholstery, carpet, LED lighting, tables and curtains. All Superliner Coaches, Sleeping Cars, Dining Cars and Sightseer Lounges will be refreshed. “Viewliner I” Sleeping Cars operating to and from the east and southeast will be similarly improved.
In all, more than 450 railcars will be refreshed over the next three years at an investment of $28 million, extending the useful life and modernizing cars that were delivered in the 1980s and 1990s. The first refreshed coaches will carry travelers this summer, with the other three types of Superliners deployed starting this fall.
Additionally, upgraded bedding, pillows, towels and linens, as successfully tested on Auto Train, will be expanding to all private Bedrooms and Roomettes starting this August. This will be followed by the installation of lotion dispensers in each Bedroom and three-bottle dispensers of shampoo, conditioner and body wash in each shower, doing away with much of the single-use packaging in our Sleeping Cars. An image gallery from the display is available in the Amtrak Media Center.
Also at the Chicago event, Amtrak showed the first of its new U.S.-built low-emissions diesel-electric locomotives that are cleaner and faster than the ones they are replacing. The new locomotives are designated as ALC-42 for “Amtrak Long-distance Charger, 4,200-horsepower” and 75 of these units have been ordered from Siemens Mobility in Sacramento, Calif.
These are just the latest in a series of Amtrak customer experience improvements in recent days. Others include:
- The just announced restoration of traditional dining service on six western routes, starting June 23. Menus from the reimagined and enhanced service were shown at this event.
- Completed earlier this month was the resumption of daily service for 12 long distance routes, following almost eight months of pandemic-related schedule reductions.
- The new electronic USA Rail Pass, an affordable way to take a multi-segment train journey across America, is now offering convenient self-service features for travelers. USA Rail Pass customers can take up to ten rides in a 30-day period to see the country and explore sights at more than 500 destinations. It is available for $299 through June 22, a savings of $200.
- An expanded BidUp program now offers customers an opportunity to place a bid to upgrade into one of Amtrak’s premium services, including from coach class to private rooms.
“We are marking a new era in customer experience for our historic routes that serve the country with comfortable and affordable coach seating and private rooms,” said Roger Harris, Amtrak Executive Vice President/Chief Marketing and Revenue Officer. “As we mark Amtrak’s 50th anniversary this year, these significant investments in the long distance network lay the foundation for our next decades of service.”
The national network of Amtrak long distance trains—a portfolio of 15 routes—carried 4.5 million passengers in the 12 months ending September 2019. These trains travel to legendary destinations including New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Seattle, New Orleans, San Francisco, Miami, Orlando and Denver. Several national parks are also served by these Amtrak trains.
Rod Washington Writer, filmmaker, model railroader, dreamer, posting videos and articles about trains. Also, posting railfanning videos and updates about his own model railroad layout via his webpage, the rail project (coming soon).