Amtrak initiated a multi-million-dollar, 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.
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.