The first class train on the Amtrak Hiawatha route connects Chicago and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The train is an express train that travels on Hiawatha and Wisconsin primarily due to its high speed, but also because it has more rooms than the local trains.
Amtrack is changing the way its long-distance trains are designed, building its new fleets of modernized intercity trains with nearly double the seating of the last generation of trains. The new trains, which will begin to roll out this year, will have more than double the seating of the current fleet. The new trains offer more privacy, a larger reclining seat, and modern styling to passengers. This follows a trend among other North American railroads to modernize their trains.
America’s passenger railroad system is, to put it mildly, in dire need of an upgrade. Companies like Amtrak, a state-owned company that operates the nation’s railway infrastructure, have been trying to make the trains more comfortable, but have run into a major problem: They’re too old.
Amtrak has just embarked on a massive, multi-year, multi-million dollar modernization project that will improve customer service on long-distance trains that travel across the United States at night. Last week, elements of the upcoming update were unveiled at Chicago’s Union Station.
The interiors of Amtrak’s Superliners double-deckers, which primarily serve routes in the Midwest, West and South, are being renovated to improve passenger comfort with new seat cushions, upholstery, carpeting, LED lighting, tables and curtains.
The upgrade applies to all Superliner coaches, sleeping cars, dining cars and tourist lounges. Similar improvements will be made to the sleeping cars of the eastern and southeastern Viewliner I.
In total, more than 450 cars will be renewed over the next three years, thanks to Amtrak’s $28 million investment in the project. This large-scale upgrade will extend the life of the vehicles, which have been in service since the 1980s and 1990s.
The first of the converted cars will begin carrying passengers this summer, and the other three Superliner types will enter service in the fall. Starting in August, guests traveling in a private room or one-bedroom apartment will be able to take advantage of improved beds, pillows, linens and towels that have already been successfully tested on the Amtrak train.
There will be less disposable packaging in the dorms with the installation of three-bottle shampoo, conditioner and shower gel dispensers in each shower and lotion dispensers in each room.
Amtrak also unveiled the first of its new low-emission diesel-electric locomotives during a demonstration in Chicago. The ALC-42 (which stands for Amtrak Long-distance Charger, 4,200 hp) engines will run cleaner and faster than the engines they will replace. Amtrak has ordered 75 of these units from Siemens Mobility in Sacramento, California.
These customer experience enhancements follow several other improvements Amtrak has announced in recent days, including:
-From the 23rd. In June, traditional food service will resume on six western routes with revamped menus and improved service.
-Daily flights on 12 long-haul routes have resumed after nearly eight months of schedule cancellations due to the pandemic.
The new USA Rail Pass e-ticket, with convenient self-service features, allows for up to ten trips in 30 days and is valid until the 22nd day of travel. June available for $299 ($200 savings). USA Rail Pass holders can take a multi-segment train ride across the country and visit attractions at more than 500 destinations, including national parks.
We are celebrating a new era of customer service on our historic routes that serve the country with comfortable and affordable car seats and private rooms, said Roger Harris, Amtrak executive vice president/chief marketing and revenue officer. As we celebrate Amtrak’s 50th anniversary this year, this significant investment in the long-distance network sets the tone for our next decades of service.
For more information, visit amtrak.com.