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Amtrak restores long-distance service on routes following COVID cutbacks

SEATTLE — In another hopeful sign that the travel industry is bouncing back after pandemic-induced lows last year, Amtrak says it will restore daily service on 12 long-distance routes across the country.

Monday four routes concentrated in the Midwest and West Coast resumed daily service:

  • California Zephyr (Chicago – Omaha – Denver – Salt Lake City – San Francisco)

  • Coast Starlight (Seattle – Portland – Sacramento – Oakland – Los Angeles)

  • Empire Builder (Chicago – St. Paul-Minneapolis – Spokane – Portland/Seattle)

  • Texas Eagle (Chicago – St. Louis – Dallas – San Antonio – Los Angeles)

The routes had previously only been operating several times a week due to low ridership during the pandemic.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., who helped secure billions in COVID relief funding for Amtrak as chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, hailed the news.

“For 50 years, Amtrak has been connecting us to our destinations," the Washington senator said in a written statement. "We need to restore services cut during the pandemic, and we look forward to another 50 years of Amtrak.”

Additional routes will resume daily service in the coming weeks, including:

May 31

  • Capitol Limited (Washington DC – Pittsburgh – Cleveland – Chicago)

  • City of New Orleans (Chicago – Memphis – Jackson – New Orleans)

  • Lake Shore Limited (New York/Boston – Albany – Buffalo – Chicago)

  • Southwest Chief (Chicago – Kansas City – Albuquerque – Los Angeles)

June 7

  • Crescent (New York – Washington DC – Atlanta – New Orleans)

  • Palmetto (New York – Washington DC – Charleston – Savannah)

  • Silver Meteor (New York – Savannah – Jacksonville – Orlando – Miami)

  • Silver Star (New York – Raleigh – Jacksonville – Orlando – Tampa – Miami)

The service restoration will also bring back 1,200 furloughed employees.

This article originally appeared on USA Today

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