CHICAGO — The Amtrak Lake Shore Limited will offer sleeping car service between Chicago and Boston “to better suit our passengers needs,” starting with the eastbound departure of Trains 48/448 on April 2 from Chicago and the westbound departure of Trains 49/449 from New York and Boston on April 4, Amtrak said.
The eastbound Train 48/448 will depart Chicago an hour earlier than the existing schedule, also effective on April 4.
The restoration of sleeping car service provides a higher level of comfort than can be provided in coach for passengers riding to and from Boston (South Station) and the Massachusetts stops of Framingham, Worchester, Springfield and Pittsfield. Until now, Bay State passengers were required to change trains in Albany-Rensselaer, N.Y., to ride to and from points in Western N.Y., Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, including Buffalo, Erie, Cleveland, South Bend and Chicago.
“Our Lake Shore Limited service continues to post ridership gains and these changes are aimed to better serve our passengers needs by further improving their travel experience to and from Boston,” said Carol Gambrel, Director, Product Management.
The Lake Shore Limited is one of six trains that are getting an intense focus to improve revenue, ridership, and to drive customer service improvements across the Amtrak system, the railroad said.
“We continue to rely on customer and employee feedback to enhance service on routes across the Amtrak system, and the Lake Shore Limited is a prime example of what can be achieved by listening to and acting upon suggestions from both groups,” said Emmett Fremaux, Vice President of Marketing & Product Management, who heads the Route Performance Improvement program.
As part of this change, the eastbound Train 48/448 will depart Chicago at 9 p.m. local time, and most timing will change across the route, effective April 4. Use the Fare Finder on Amtrak.com to determine exact schedule departure and arrival times. Amtrak will continue to open the Dining Car for a pre-departure Welcome Aboard reception for sleeping car passengers.
There is a also a slight change to the schedule of Train 49, the westbound Lake Shore Limited, as it arrives in Albany-Rensselaer, due to track work on the Metro North Commuter Railroad, north of New York City.
In figures for the five months ending Feb. 28, 2009, 130,352 passengers rode on the Lake Shore Limited, an increase of 1.9 percent from the same period a year earlier. Ticket revenue is up by more than $844,000 and is in excess of $9.1 million for the five months that begin the current Amtrak fiscal year.
Amtrak ridership for overnight trains is also up for the Oct. 2008-Feb. 2009 period. The total of 1,628,631 passengers is an increase of seven percent from the year-ago figure and includes double-digit increases for several routes on the national network.