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Long Distance Service Upgrades

From New York City to the California coast; from Florida beaches to the Sierra Nevada; and from the Windy City to heart of the Big Easy, Amtrak’s world-famous Long Distance route network offers countless itineraries from coast to coast.

Amtrak is engaged in numerous efforts to enhance its Long Distance service — both in the immediate future and over the longer term. Most significant is the effort to replace the fleet operating the Long Distance network, and also includes upgrades to passenger cars, stations, onboard amenities, customer experience and more.

“Amtrak’s Long Distance routes are vital mobility and economic links for communities around the country and we’re continually working to enhance them,” said Amtrak Board Chair Tony Coscia. “We believe in the future of our Long Distance service and we look forward to enhancing the customer experience across the Amtrak network, and further supporting U.S. manufacturing with our fleet replacement.”

Amtrak Long Distance routes include:

Read more via this fact sheet and check out this photo gallery for a high-level overview of these Long Distance investments and service improvements. More detail on the array of upgrades and enhancements can also be accessed via the tabs below.

Amtrak is taking a major step towards improving overnight, cross-country train travel by issuing a formal Request for Proposals (RFP) to railcar manufacturers to begin the replacement of Amtrak’s current Long Distance fleet.

This once-in-a-generation, multi-billion-dollar procurement will start reequipping a fleet that provides vital train service from coast to coast and is made possible through funding provided by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Congress.

This new fleet will allow Amtrak to introduce an updated product that meets current and future market expectations, improves customer experience, reimagines onboard accessibility and mobility, improves operational efficiency, and bolsters sustainability, resiliency, and ridership.

This step follows a formal Request for Information (RFI) issued in December 2022—sent to potential railcar builders defining and describing the scope of replacing the Long Distance fleet. Multiple suppliers responded to the RFI in early 2023, which helped to shape this RFP.

The RFP outlines requirements to improve core elements of Long Distance service, including coach seating, private rooms, food service, enhanced accessibility, and route experience. Following vendor selection, critical steps of final design, development and production are expected to occur over the next several years. Fleet deliveries are projected to begin in the early 2030s.

See this news release from December 2023 for more information.

A new generation of Long Distance diesel-electric locomotives commenced in 2022 with the introduction of the ALC-42 “Amtrak Long-distance Charger” by Siemens Mobility. These new locomotives replace Amtrak P40 and P42 diesel-electric locomotives, which have a lower top speed and began service under different emissions standards 30 years ago. Amtrak is committing up to $2 billion for the delivery of this order — 125 engines in total — as well as multi-year maintenance support.

Made in the U.S., these locomotives are cleaner, faster, more fuel efficient and more environmentally friendly than their predecessors. In addition to a greater top speed of 125 mph and less fuel consumption, the engines reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide by more than 89% and particulate matter by 95%.

To view a video of the Amtrak Empire Builder departing Chicago with the new locomotives: New Amtrak Locomotives (ALC-42) – Amtrak Media.

To view an Image Gallery from that event, see here: Amtrak Debuts New Locomotives – Amtrak Media.

To extend the life of the current fleet, Amtrak is providing interior upgrades to all Long Distance passenger cars.

Amfleet II
Fully-refreshed Amfleet II cars—including new seating cushions, carpets, curtains and LED reading lights—have entered into revenue service. This has enhanced service on six Long Distance routes that serve the East Coast: Cardinal, Crescent, Lake Shore Limited, Palmetto, Silver Meteor and Silver Star.

Amtrak is modernizing the interiors of over 400 bi-level Superliner cars—with new seating cushions and upholstery, carpet, LED lighting, tables and curtains. The scope of the project includes four Superliner car types: Coaches, Sleeping Cars, Dining Cars and Sightseer Lounges. Amtrak has invested $28 million in this refresh, which extends the useful life of passenger cars that were delivered in the 1980s and 1990s.

As of Spring 2024, over 200 Superliner cars have been refreshed and are now in revenue service.

More information can be found from the original press release here and images can be found here.

Design work has begun to refresh interiors of Viewliner I Sleeping Cars, which service East Coast routes including Cardinal, Crescent, Lake Shore Limited, Silver Meteor, and Silver Star. Viewliner I sleeping cars will receive new seat cushions and upholstery beginning in 2024, as well as new carpeting, curtains, LED lighting and tables.

Amtrak has commenced a two-year maintenance program to accelerate the restoration of fleet previously damaged or placed in long-term storage during the pandemic. The scope of the project spans all major types of Long Distance equipment—both single-level and bi-level—including:

  • Sleeping Cars
  • Coaches
  • Dining Cars
  • Sightseer Lounges
  • Baggage Cars

Since the program began, over a dozen cars have re-entered revenue service—with a total 63 projected to be restored by the end of 2024.

Traditional Dining
As an exclusive, complimentary offering for customers traveling in First Class private rooms, traditional dining features menus with a variety of entrée selections. In 2021, traditional dining on the West Coast was reimagined with the introduction of a redesigned menu featuring chef-prepared meals for breakfast, lunch and a three course dinner. This service is currently available aboard the California ZephyrCoast StarlightEmpire BuilderSouthwest ChiefSunset Limited, and Texas Eagle (for service between San Antonio and Los Angeles).

The program continued to evolve in June 2023, when the Silver Meteor and Silver Star introduced traditional dining in the East Coast. Learn more from the news release here.

There are now nine Long Distance routes offering this First Class dining service. To learn more about Amtrak’s traditional dining service and browse sample menus, visit For a photo gallery of some of the most popular, delicious items, click here.

Amtrak enhanced its Café menu in August 2022 with the introduction of new items, more high-quality and fresh items, as well as reduced prices. Café service aboard Long Distance trains now features hot meals, snacks, salads, sandwiches, lite bites, vegan offerings, and new non-alcoholic beverages. Menu highlights include:

  • Breakfast: Bialy Egg Sandwich, Bacon & Cheese Egg Bites and Seasonal Fruit with Mango
  • Lunch & Dinner: Smoked Turkey & Havarti Sandwich, Vegan Asian Noodle Bowl and Blue Corn Vegan Tamale
  • Snacks: Fresh Vegetable Crudites, Beef Jerky and Pistachios
  • Beverages: Pomegranate Juice and new hot and iced coffee selections

Flexible Dining
As an exclusive and complimentary offering for private room customers aboard the Capitol Limited, Cardinal, City of New Orleans, Crescent, Lake Shore Limited and Texas Eagle (between Chicago and San Antonio), flexible dining service was introduced in 2019 to include:

  • A menu with hot, ready-to-serve choices for breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • A wide selection of wine, beer and spirits (the first one is on us during dinner), plus unlimited soft drinks throughout the journey
  • Exclusive onboard lounge to dine and socialize
  • Complimentary room service provided by the First Class attendant
  • Flexible dining times without the need for reservations.

More information and sample menus can be found at

All private rooms have received new bedding, linens, pillows and towels. Large, updated toiletry dispensers offer complimentary body wash, shampoo, conditioner and soap. A photo gallery of these soft good items can be found here.

Amtrak also provides a number of customer offers to enhance the Long Distance travel experience—including:

  • USA Rail Pass, an affordable way to take a multi-segment train journey across America. Offering travelers up to ten rides in a 30-day period to see the country and explore sights at more than 500 destinations.
  • An expanded BidUp program that offers customers an opportunity to place a bid to upgrade into one of Amtrak’s premium services, including from Coach class to private rooms.
  • Child discounts allowing all children 2-12 years of age to travel at 50% off the adult fare. Additionally, infants ride free.
  • Share Fares make it easy to for small group travel. The more family, friends, loved ones, the more savings. Share Fares provides a group discount of up to 60% off tickets for 8 passengers traveling together on the same reservation.

Amtrak has invested more than $765 million in station upgrade and improvement projects across its network to create a safe, efficient and comfortable travel experience for all passengers, including those with disabilities.

An investment of $800 million since 2011 brought 119 Amtrak stations to full ADA compliance – and another 65 stations that are complete except for platforms – with all Amtrak responsible stations on track for full investments in 2029.

In addition, a redesigned ADA-accessible bathroom is being added to 23 Superliner I Coach cars. New flooring, upholstery, insulation, plumbing and HVAC modifications make for an improved customer experience, combined with a changing room and a power-controlled door.

In June 2023, Amtrak submitted applications for approximately $716 million in Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) funding for 16 proposed projects around the country that would improve Long Distance reliability, reduce travel times and expand service. Example projects include:

  • Multiple Cardinal and Sunset Limited service improvements:
    • Increase service frequently from tri-weekly to daily
    • Increase Cardinal train speeds and reduce travel times between Indianapolis and Chicago
    • Sunset Limited return of service to the Phoenix market
  • Southwest Chief signal modernization between Colorado and New Mexico
  • Empire Builder rail enhancements in Montana
  • Crescent service extension along the I-20 corridor from Mississippi to Louisiana and Texas