CHICAGO – In anticipation of the busiest travel week of the year, America’s Railroad® is prepared to accommodate the surge of holiday travelers with extra trains and additional capacity on several routes in the Midwest. Amtrak will also operate every available passenger rail car in its fleet. Tickets sell out quickly so passengers are encouraged to plan ahead and book tickets early for best availability and pricing.
Amtrak is adding extra trains and schedules to several of the Chicago hub corridors to downstate Illinois and to Michigan. Amtrak Lincoln Service and Illinois Zephyr/Carl Sandburg trains are operated under a contract with the Illinois Department of Transportation and all Amtrak services in Michigan are under a contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation.
Last year, Amtrak carried a record 772,211 passengers during the Thanksgiving travel period, the most ever for the holiday. Similar passenger counts are anticipated this year.
Amtrak is working hard to provide a hassle-free travel experience while connecting passengers with friends and family. These additional tips will help to ensure a smooth trip:
- Purchasing Tickets: eTicketing is enabled on every train route throughout the nation. Travelers may purchase tickets early using Amtrak.com, Quik-TrakSM or ticket windows at staffed stations (where available), Amtrak mobile apps, or by calling 800-USA-RAIL.
- 2+2 = Free: Amtrak has the friendliest baggage policy in the travel industry. Passengers can bring two bags and two carry-ons, up to 150 pounds collectively, for free! We encourage customers who are carrying multiple bags to use the elevator whenever possible for safety and convenience during the holiday rush.
- Avoid the Rush: The busiest travel days are the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after the holiday. Other than Thanksgiving Day, morning trains typically have more available seats than those in the afternoon or evening.
- Arrive Early: Allow plenty of time at stations prior to departure – at least 45 minutes beforehand if picking up tickets. Arrange for pre-boarding if you need extra time or assistance and use Amtrak Red Cap agents to help you with your baggage.
- Check Train Schedules: Make sure to check holiday train schedules prior to arriving at the station with a helpful, online-only timetable provided by Amtrak.
- Carry Photo ID: Passengers are required to show valid photo identification when purchasing tickets. Make sure to carry valid photo ID at all times, as it may be requested aboard trains.
- Be Safe: Be aware of your surroundings, stand back from the edge of the platform, do not leave your bags unattended, and watch your step when boarding or leaving the train or when walking between cars when the train is in motion.
Amtrak – America’s Railroad® – is dedicated to safe and reliable mobility as the nation’s intercity passenger rail service provider and its high-speed rail operator. With our state and commuter partners, we move people, the economy and the nation forward, carrying more than 30 million Amtrak passengers for each of the past five years. Formally known as the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, Amtrak is governed by a nine member board of directors appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Anthony R. Coscia is board chairman and Jeffrey R. Moreland is vice chairman. Amtrak operates more than 300 trains daily – at speeds up to 150 mph (241 kph) – connecting more than 500 destinations in 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian Provinces. Learn more at Amtrak.com or call 800-USA-RAIL for schedules, fares and other information. Check us out at blog.Amtrak.com, Like us on Facebook.com and Follow us on Twitter @Amtrak.