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Amtrak: Lake Shore Limited gets thru Boston sleeper

… and an improved Chicago departure time.

March 27, 2009

Eastbound Lake Shore Limited to Depart Chicago an Hour Earlier; Ridership for the Route is Up 1.9% Since October 2008
BOSTON and 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. 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.

“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.

Schedule Changes

As part of this change, the eastbound Train 48/448 will depart Chicago at 9:00 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.

Ridership

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.

About Amtrak

Amtrak has posted six consecutive years of growth in ridership and revenue, carrying more than 28.7 million passengers in the last fiscal year. Amtrak provides intercity passenger rail service to more than 500 destinations in 46 states on a 21,000-mile route system. For schedules, fares and information, passengers may call 800-USA-RAIL or visit Amtrak.com.

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Filed under: Amtrak, Regional USA Passenger Rail

2 Responses

  1. Eric H says:

    A far more effective method of increasing ridership on this line would be to make it faster. Significantly faster. Currently this line has an average speed of 40 mph, about that of a suburban arterial road, making the trip between Boston and Chicago by train about 50 percent longer than by car. If this train were to run as fast as some of the fastest European trains, it would not only remove the incentive to drive between these two cities (obviously–that is going to be true with any 180mph train), it would also compete with air travel which, when the two hour rush-hour trip from O’Hare to downtown Chicago is taken into account, take far longer than the 5-6 hours such a train could take to make this trip.

    Besides, some parts of this trip are pretty scenic! Who wouldn’t want to take a train if it didn’t mean losing an *entire day* in travel time?

  2. Jack C says:

    I love train travel, and for years took the Lake Shore Limited to Boston, after a short trip to Chicago from Milwaukee. To encourage my family to appreciate train travel, I booked bedrooms for all trips. I haven’t taken this trip in about ten years because with each progressive trip, the train kept getting later and later. Finally, when we arrived in Boson twelve hours late, my wife refused to consider another long distance trip. We can fly to the East coast much quicker, and at about half the cost. If the trains ran on time, the extra cost would be worth it. We still travel to Chicago on the Hiawatha on a regular basis since this train is virtually always on time. The same is true with our trips from Boston to New York. Long distance train travel would really blossom again if those trips ran faster, and on schedule.

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