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Amtrak trims New York-Florida route, additional cuts expected later this year

·3 min read

Amtrak cut back its service between New York and Florida on Monday, with more reductions expected later this year.

Instead of operating daily service, Amtrak's Silver Star and Silver Meteor run three and four days per week between New York and Miami, respectively, USA Today reported.

Amtrak's Silver Meteor will depart from Penn Station in New York City on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The train will leave Miami on Sunday, Monday Tuesday and Wednesday, according to Amtrak's website. Meanwhile, Amtrak's Silver Star will make its way out of New York on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Star will leave Miami on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

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The company will partially restore full-length Keystone Service on Monday with one round trip between Harrisburg and New York in anticipation of higher demand, Amtrak announced. One train will operate through to New York from Harrisburg while another will depart New York and operate through to Harrisburg.

The modified service will now include nine weekday round trips and six round trips on weekends. Other Keystone Service trains will continue to temporarily operate between Philadelphia and Harrisburg only, the rail service said.

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The company has modified operations since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus and is still reeling from the impact of the pandemic. Amtrak, which saw daily ridership plummet -- down 96 percent in April -- was allotted $1 billion in federal relief funds in order to stay afloat, Reuters reported.

The railroad service will cut most of its long-distance routes nationwide to three times a week starting Oct. 1.

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The train routes being cut to three days week this fall include the California Zephyr, Capitol Limited, City of New Orleans, Coast Starlight, Crescent, Empire Builder, Lake Shore Limited, Palmetto, Southwest Chief, and Texas Eagle. The Sunset Limited and Cardinal trains already operate three times a week. Amtrak said its Auto Train, which runs from the Washington, D.C., suburbs to the Orlando, Florida, area, is the only long-distance route that will continue to operate daily.

The cuts to be made this fall are expected to remain in place until at least the summer of 2021, but daily service could be restored if demand improves along its long-distance routes.

However, some officials have raised concerns that the cuts are short-sighted and will hurt long-term demand for these routes.

“The long-distance services declined the least among Amtrak’s three business lines during the coronavirus-induced slowdown, and its services remain essential to the hundreds of small communities across the United States with fewer options than Philadelphia or Boston or New York City,” said Jim Mathews, president and chief executive of the Rail Passengers Association advocacy group.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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