AMTK: Downeaster Suspended; Restrictions Continue

All Downeaster Service Suspended Until 30.April At Earliest. Other Amtrak Service Reductions

13 April, Brunswick ME — The suspension end date is tentative, compliant with Maine Governor Janet Mills’ Executive Order, updated 31.March. Section II(B) specifying, “No one shall use public transportation unless absolutely necessary, for an essential reason or for an essential job that cannot be done from home.” The EO is currently in effect until 30.April “unless otherwise ordered,” indicating that the Downeaster suspension could be extended into May, or beyond.

Other Northeast region services cancelled until further notice:

  • Acela (Boston – Washington, DC)
  • Carolinian (Charlotte – New York)
  • Keystone Service (Harrisburg – New York)
  • Pennsylvanian (New York – Pittsburgh)

Reduced service on these northeast routes:

  • Vermonter: reduced service continues, with service suspended north of New Haven (effectively cancelled).
  • Ethan Allen: reduced service continues, suspended north of Albany.
  • Valley Flyer and Hartford Line: running full normal route on reduced schedule.
  • Northeast Corridor: reduced to four trips each way between Boston and NYC. Ten daily trips each way from NYC to Washington DC (including 3 long distance trains operating to the south).
  • Empire Service: reduced service continues along entire route.
  • Lake Shore Limited: reduced service continues along entire route. Dining car has been removed {Trains Magazine, April 14}, but “flexible dining” food remains for sleeping car passengers.

Amtrak is now carrying just 4% of its usual passenger load, and 57% of nationwide service has been canceled. On the Northeast Corridor, 98% of normal ridership is staying home, and 77% of NEC service has been cancelled. {Amtrak press release, 06.Mar.2020}

Amtrak’s outgoing President Richard Anderson said “We are going to be a very different railroad when we come out the other on the other side of this; we will be 20% smaller” {Amtrak Employee Town Hall 10.Apr.2020}. The Boston section of the Lake Shore Limited is very vulnerable to service cuts. A previous round of service cuts in the 1990’s was averted only by the intervention of the state of Massachusetts.