Empire Builder Daily Schedule Restored May 24 - And - Update on Dining Car Service

March 10, 2021

Amtrak announced in a press release today that because of Covid relief funding, just passed today by US Congress, the Empire Builder will be restored to daily service on May 24. All other long distance trains that went to tri-weekly service last fall will be restored to daily service by June 7, 2021.

Additionally, along with the resumption of daily service, Trains Newswire was quoted regarding dining car service:

"Amtrak plans to restore “traditional” dining car meals with the daily frequencies, Harris says, “but we’re not quite sure yet how to work through the health implications. Communal dining is probably a non-starter for now, and you can work backward through food preparation and delivery.”

He says Amtrak’s new head of customer service, Robert Jordan, “is very interested in the topic and is going through the process of inviting employee input to make it better.”

Here is Amtrak's press release with the full schedule of long distance trains reinstatement to daily service;

March 10, 2021
With Increased Demand and Congressional Funding, Amtrak Restores 12 Long Distance Routes to Daily Service
Slated to debut this summer, new schedules offer the most departures since June 2020
WASHINGTON – As part of its COVID-19 recovery efforts, Amtrak announces full restoration of daily service for 12 long distance routes following pandemic-related schedule reductions in 2020. Providing customers significantly more departures for the upcoming summer travel season, the new schedule has been updated on all Amtrak reservation systems, including Amtrak.com and the Amtrak app.

Due to COVID relief funding, Amtrak will sustain and restore operations and recall the more than 1,200 furloughed employees through the remainder of FY21 and into FY22. The funding is pending President Biden’s signature on the final bill.

“Offering daily long distance service represents a vital step in our road to recovery,” said Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn. “Recognizing the immense value of our employees, we’d like to thank Congress for enabling service restoration and helping us recall furloughed employees.”

The daily schedules will commence in May 2021 and be grouped into three phases:

May 24 May 31 June 7
California Zephyr (Chicago – Omaha – Denver – Salt Lake City – San Francisco) Capitol Limited (Washington DC – Pittsburgh – Cleveland – Chicago) Crescent (New York – Washington DC – Atlanta – New Orleans)
Coast Starlight (Seattle – Portland – Sacramento – Oakland – Los Angeles City of New Orleans (Chicago – Memphis – Jackson – New Orleans) Palmetto (New York – Washington DC – Charleston – Savannah)
Empire Builder (Chicago – St. Paul-Minneapolis – Spokane – Portland/Seattle) Lake Shore Limited (New York/Boston – Albany – Buffalo – Chicago) Silver Meteor (New York – Savannah – Jacksonville – Orlando – Miami)
Texas Eagle (Chicago – St. Louis – Dallas – San Antonio – Los Angeles) Southwest Chief (Chicago – Kansas City – Albuquerque – Los Angeles) Silver Star (New York – Raleigh – Jacksonville – Orlando – Tampa – Miami)