Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has joined three other U.S. senators in sending a letter to Amtrak President and CEO William Flynn calling for assurances that a planned long-distance train service reduction to three-day-a-week operations beginning this fall will be temporary.
Amtrak announced earlier this month that daily long-distance train routes will be reduced to three-day-a-week service, effective Oct. 1, in response to a steep drop in ridership during the coronavirus pandemic.
Amtrak’s current routes with three-day-a-week service, the Cardinal and the Sunset Limited, will remain on those schedules.
“We are very troubled by this proposal, and ask that you provide additional information as well as a commitment to return to full service when the pandemic draws to a close,” the letter states. “Passenger rail service is a critical component of the U.S. transportation network, providing an efficient means of connecting cities and towns across the country.”
It continues, “Long-distance service allows us to bring tourists, businesses, and families to communities like Havre [Mon.], Elko [Nev.], and Prince [W.Va.], providing gateways to our states.”
In a statement, Manchin said, “This proposed change is worrisome for many Americans who rely on the long-distance services for travel. We gave Amtrak more money to protect essential services just like this. It’s time they get on board with a commitment and a detailed timeline for resumption of seven-day-a-week service on long-distance routes across America.”