WASHINGTON — Anticipating the busiest travel week of the year, Amtrak is planning ahead for Thanksgiving and encouraging customers to do the same.
Amtrak is ready to welcome thousands of passengers aboard, especially in the Northeast Corridor between Washington and Boston, where more trains will be added during peak travel times.
The week of Thanksgiving — Tuesday to Monday — is typically Amtrak’s busiest travel period of the year, carrying more than 600,000 passengers last year. On the heaviest travel day of the year for Amtrak, Nov. 21, the railroad expects ridership to reach over 115,000 passengers system-wide — 70 percent more passengers than an average Wednesday when 69,000 passengers are carried.
Over the span of the holiday week, Amtrak will carry approximately 30 percent more passengers than an average week.
Amtrak takes several steps to ensure that passengers have an enjoyable trip. In the Northeast, extra equipment will operate during the week, with most of the added trains running on the two busiest travel days, Nov. 21 and Nov. 25.
As in the past several years, all Amtrak trains in the Northeast require reservations – including Harrisburg-Philadelphia Keystone Service trains and New Haven-Springfield Shuttles.
There are more frequencies to and from Chicago than two years ago, due to a doubling of state-supported service in Illinois. Including the three Lincoln Service round-trips, there are now five round-trips on the Chicago-St. Louis corridor, via Springfield and Bloomington-Normal. Between Chicago and Carbondale, via Champaign-Urbana, there are now three-round-trips, two of them sponsored by the Illinois Department of Transportation.
Two state-supported daily round-trips now operate on the Chicago-Quincy corridor, via Galesburg and Macomb, Ill.
Amtrak has also added service on trains in the western region during this period. In the Pacific Northwest, trains are being added to the Amtrak Cascades route between Portland and Seattle throughout the busy holiday travel week. Additional cars will be added to the Amtrak San Joaquin route in California between Bakersfield, Sacramento and Oakland.
In Southern California, extra cars will be added on the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner route (San Luis Obispo-Santa Barbara-Los Angeles and San Diego) and reservations will be required on all trains, beginning Nov. 20 Nov. 26.