Amtrak Adds Trains, Staffing, Security for Inauguration Day

WASHINGTON – Amtrak has expanded capacity by adding trains and cars to maximize available space for service to and from Washington, D.C., during the inauguration of the nation’s 44th president on Jan. 20.

The extra trains and cars will be added to Northeast Corridor Amtrak trains on January 20, with a majority of the extra capacity available southbound toward Washington in the morning and northbound from Washington in the afternoon and evening. All Amtrak trains in the Northeast require reservations and ticket purchases prior to boarding.

Supplementing Amtrak service in the Washington, D.C. area will be commuter rail service in Maryland and Virginia. MARC Penn Line service between Baltimore and Washington will become all-reserved on Jan. 20, and schedules will be completely changed from normal practice in order to align with inauguration activities.

Virginia Railway Express (VRE) trains, which operate between Fredericksburg/Manassas, Va. and Washington, will operate on a normal schedule and will require reservations Jan. 20. Passengers planning to use MARC and VRE are encouraged to check their Web sites.

Amtrak is advising its customers to expect extremely large crowds at Washington Union Station and is providing the following travel and security information.

  • Arrive at the station no earlier than one hour prior to your train’s departure time.
  • Pick up your roundtrip tickets (inbound and return tickets) before boarding your train for Washington.
  • Pack lightly, as no lockers or storage facilities will be available in the station. A list of items prohibited from the Inaugural event sites and locations is available on the District of Columbia Inaugural Web site.
  • The station’s food court may be open for a limited time only; however food service is available aboard Amtrak trains.
  • Follow the instructions of station personnel and law enforcement for exiting and entering Washington Union Station. New pedestrian traffic patterns will be in place.
  • Amtrak cannot provide alternate transportation or accommodations in the event of a service disruption.

Heightened front-line and behind-the-scenes security measures will be taken in stations and aboard trains, and may include:

  • Amtrak Police officers and Mobile Security Teams
  • Federal, state and local law enforcement and anti-terrorism forces
  • K-9 units
  • Identification checks
  • Passenger, and carry-on and checked baggage screening

Due to the high volume of traffic expected, some trains’ passengers may be asked to remain on board for a short period of time prior to detraining to ensure the safe and orderly movement of passengers through Union Station. With numerous trains arriving within short timeframes, trains will take turns unloading passengers to prevent unsafe overcrowding conditions in the station.

Passengers with disabilities and special needs should specifically request assistance when making reservations.