Amtrak Announces Incredible Train Travel Updates We Could See Over The Next Few Years

Amtrak is on a roll — literally, of course, but also figuratively. Thanks to four government grants approved by the Federal Railroad Administration, Amtrak plans to pour $2.1 billion into multiple train projects across America over the next several years. For 22.9 million annual Amtrak passengers, that spells faster trains, increased reliability, and a broader reach for service, connecting cities like never before.

To break down the numbers, in addition to other grants, about $108 million will go towards Amtrak stations and service upgrades. In the New Era of Rail, as Amtrak has dubbed it, the national rail service will modernize its fleet of trains, along with tracks, tunnels, bridges, and stations. After that, another $35 million will go towards improving 69 rail lines in 39 states. The chunk left, $2 billion, will go towards Amtrak's existing partners and potential partner projects in North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maine. The overarching goal is to enhance the customer experience and bring intercity transportation into new communities, said Stephen Gardener, the CEO of Amtrak, in a press release announcing the news.

Rail projects from east to west

On the East Coast, the biggest lump sum is earmarked for Chicago Union Station ($93 million), which will be ADA-compliant and have improved ventilation systems. Also, the train line that connects Chicago to New York City will run on daily service instead of only three times per week, offering stops in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington DC, among other cities. Finally, there will be three additional round trips per day between the Big Apple and Washington, DC.

On the West Coast, the Sunset Limited Service from Los Angeles to New Orleans will bump up service from three times per week to daily, bringing passengers to Tucson, El Paso, San Antonio, and Houston along the way. In Texas, passengers can expect a new route between Dallas and Houston. The high-speed rail line, known as the Texas High-Speed Rail Corridor, will connect the two cities in less than 90 minutes. Whether you're a busy commuter or in the mood for a scenic long-distance train trip, Amtrak will soon have you covered.

President Biden's rail investment

While other regions around the world have embraced vast train networks, most notably countries in Europe and Asia, Americans have access to limited rail infrastructure in comparison — though perhaps not for much longer. The good news for Amtrak comes on the heels of President Biden's announcement that the administration will allocate $8 billion towards 10 projects across the country, the largest investment in train transportation since Amtrak was unveiled in 1971.

Among the projects will be Brighline's rail line from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, which will race across the Mojave Desert at 200 miles an hour to get passengers from one city to the other in just over two hours. The high-speed, all-electric train will be the first of its kind in the states, ahead of the Olympics slated for California in 2028. With several exciting projects in the works, it seems that train travel in America is finally getting the renaissance it deserves.