Amtrak expanding schedules for Thanksgiving travel

WASHINGTON D.C., (WRIC) -- Ahead of the busy Thanksgiving travel season, Amtrak is expanding its schedules and adding more seats to accommodate the expected surge of travelers. Amtrak will operate every available train in its fleet and add extra seats on several routes in the Northeast, Midwest and West Coast.

On the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak Acela Express and Northeast Regional services will operate full and extended schedules with additional frequencies and added capacity between Washington, D.C. and Boston.  In response to customer demand, Amtrak will operate additional trains on both the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Nov. 22 and 23, as well as the Sunday after, Nov. 27. Amtrak will also run "Holiday Extra" trains between New York and Washington, D.C. on Sunday, Nov. 27 using equipment leased from our commuter partners.  Regular Amtrak booking and ticketing procedures apply.

In the Midwest, extra trains will operate between Chicago and downstate Illinois and Michigan. At Chicago Union Station, Sleeping Car and Business Class customers as well as top tier Amtrak Guest Rewards members can enjoy the new Metropolitan Lounge and pre-board their trains. Coach customers can purchase a pass to the Legacy Club to access similar amenities and priority boarding.

On the West Coast, Amtrak is adding capacity to several services including Capitol Corridor (Auburn-San Jose) and San Joaquins (Oakland/Sacramento - Bakersfield), as well as additional seating on Pacific Surfliner (Los Angeles-San Diego) with one additional round trip operating between Los Angeles-San Diego during the busiest travel days.  During the holiday, Pacific Surfliner service will require reservations. In the Pacific Northwest, Amtrak is adding two additional round trips between Seattle and Portland on the Amtrak Cascades service.

"In the past decade, demand for passenger rail service during the Thanksgiving holiday period has grown steadily," said Amtrak President and CEO Wick Moorman.  "We continue to focus on providing innovative and convenient travel options for our customers, and the Thanksgiving travel period is a great opportunity to put our best foot forward. Across our nationwide network, Amtrak employees are gearing up to provide the kind of superior service our customers deserve as they travel to connect with friends and family for the holiday."

Amtrak says tickets sell out quickly so customers are encouraged to plan ahead and book early for best availability and pricing.

Other tips:

  • Avoid the rush: The busiest travel days are the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after the holiday. Other than Thanksgiving Day, morning trains typically have more available seats than those in the afternoon or evening.
  • Arrive early: Allow plenty of time at stations prior to departure. Arrange for pre-boarding if you need extra time or assistance and use Amtrak Red Cap personnel to help with your baggage.
  • Check train schedules: Make sure to check holiday train schedules prior to arriving at the station with a helpful, online-only timetable provided by Amtrak.
  • Carry photo ID: Make sure to carry valid photo ID at all times, as it may be requested aboard trains.
  • All aboard pets: Bring Fluffy and Fido to the Thanksgiving festivities. Amtrak welcomes cats and dogs weighing 20 pounds or less for only $25. Make sure to bring the appropriate carrier. Some restrictions apply.
  • Bring your bike: Some places are meant to be explored on two wheels. When you travel, reserve a space for your bike on select Amtrak routes.

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