Everything You Need to Know About Amtrak Train: History, Services & Many More

Welcome to a journey of discovery of Amtrak, America’s railroad. The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, or Amtrak, is a corporation dedicated to providing high-quality, safe, on-time train passenger service that surpasses consumer expectations. After reading this guide, you will learn all about Amtrak from every angle.

Amtrak’s Rich History

1971 Amtrak begins operations on May 1

Sharing the Amtrak story with the customers and the American people is important. Each year brings new milestones in Amtrak’s rich history. And if you want to know about Amtrak’s history, I can explain it to you quickly.

Amtrak’s Historic Timeline: 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, and 2020s

Before the arrival of Amtrak in 1970, the once-thriving passenger rail network in the United States had fallen into decline.


Amtrak, founded in 1970 by President Richard Nixon, began service with 184 trains a day and 323 stations in May 1971

In 1972, the first state-supported train, the Bay State, began operation between Boston and New York via the Inland Route through Worcester and Springfield, Mass. Amtrak’s first Reservations Sales Office opened in Chicago in October 1971.

1973 Amtrak begins design process for new bi level cars.

Amtrak’s regional reservation centers provided 24/7 nationwide toll-free reservations, ticketing, and general information in 1975. Travel agents sold $20 million worth of Amtrak travel in 1975

In 1976, Amtrak acquired the Penn Central passenger yard and launched a five-year rebuilding program. 

1977s, Amtrak kicked off the $1.75 billion Northeast Corridor Improvement Project (NECIP) to modernize the mainline’s infrastructure.


In the 1980s, Amtrak launched the “America’s Getting Into Training” advertising campaign, introduced a slumbercoach service between Washington-Montreal and Washington-Boston, ordered 150 new Amfleet II cars, and launched a System Safety Program to train and educate employees on workplace safety.

Amtrak’s significant developments and achievements include the launch of the daily Maple Leaf, the introduction of Arrow, and the introduction of the toll-free 1-800-USA-RAIL

1983 Amtrak Begins tri-weekly Auto Train service

NBC’s Today Show began a five-day trip in 1985 across the central U.S. via a special Amtrak train billed as the “Today Express.” Amtrak became the first non-airline member of the Airline Reporting Corporation and took over responsibility for the completion of the Northeast Corridor Improvement Project from the Federal Railroad Administration.


In the 1990s, Amtrak began service to Atlantic City with sponsorship from Harrah’s Casino and purchased 104 privately financed Horizon cars from Bombardier, Inc. The company initiated the Carolinian service, introduced the Club Conference car, and opened the first Metropolitan Lounge at New York Penn Station. 

The Empire Connection tunnel in New York City was completed in 1991, and Amtrak shifted from Grand Central Terminal to Penn Station. 

In 1992, Amtrak and Metra completed a $32 million renovation of Chicago Union Station and facilities. 

In 1993, Thomas M. Downs became the fifth president of Amtrak, and Amtrak-operated trains carried more commuter passengers than intercity passengers for the first time. Amtrak reaches a 43% share of the air-rail market between Washington, D.C., and New York City

In 1996, ground was broken for the electrification of the Northeast Corridor between New Haven, Conn., and Boston. Amtrak.com upgrades allowed customers to make reservations online. 


2000 Acela Express enters revenue service in December

In the 2000s, Amtrak introduced a “Quiet Car” pilot on Train No. 151, and the first electrified service across the entire Northeast Corridor began when Acela Regional No. 131 ran from Boston to Washington without changing power in New Haven, Conn. Amtrak also launched Arrive magazine and the Amtrak Guest Rewards program.

Amtrak has experienced significant growth and expansion throughout its history, with the first electrified, high-speed service on the Harrisburg Line celebrated in Pennsylvania. State-supported services between Chicago and downstate Illinois doubled from three roundtrips to seven, and November became the highest revenue month to date. 

The Amtrak Police Department focuses on community policing, with more police presence at gates, platforms, and aboard trains. 

In 2008 and 2009, Amtrak held the first National Train Day, and the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act (PRIIA) was passed. Amtrak also initiated the deployment of Mobile Security Teams to patrol trains and conduct random screenings of passengers and carry-on baggage


In the 2010s and 2011s, Amtrak introduced complimentary Wi-Fi service at major stations and on all Acela Express trains. The Obama Administration awarded Amtrak $7.92 billion for high-speed and intercity passenger rail services in 31 states. 

In 2012-2014, Amtrak achieved Climate Registered™ status, established four Operations business lines, launched a new Amtrak History website, signed a long-term lease agreement with CSX Corporation, and covered 88% of its operating costs with ticket sales and other revenue.

Amtrak’s growth and achievements in 2014 and 2016 included opening new stations in Massachusetts, Denver, St. Paul, Anaheim, Winter Park, Florida, and Longview, Texas, and increasing Thruway bus connections. 

In FY 2014, Amtrak carries 30.9 million passengers and earns $2.2 billion in ticket revenue. 

Amtrak was named to the first-ever “America’s Best Employers” list by Forbes magazine in 2015

In 2016, Amtrak announced the Winter-Spring 2016 Amtrak System Timetable, introduced a new Student Discount for students ages 17-25 and added a seventh daily San Joaquins roundtrip. Amtrak also announced a contract with Alstom to produce 28 next-generation high-speed trainsets. 

In 2017, Amtrak carried 31.7 million customers and earned $2.24 billion in ticket revenue. The company began dispatching trains on the 231-mile corridor between Porter, Ind., and Dearborn, Mich., began accepting Diners Club International, JCB, and UnionPay credit cards, and began a 14-month refresh of Acela Express train interiors. 

2018 All weekday Downeaster roundtrips now operate between Boston and Brinswick, Maine

In 2018, Amtrak customers took 31.7 million trips, with a record GAAP revenue of $3.4 billion and adjusted operating earnings of $1700.6 million.

In 2019, Amtrak introduced a new fleet of single-level passenger rail vehicles, introduced Share Fares to save up to 35% on tickets, and launched the “Get Carried Away” marketing campaign. The company also invested in railroad infrastructure along the Northeast Corridor in New Jersey and launched the Valley Flyer and Acela Nonstop service. The Amtrak Police Department and Operation Lifesaver, Inc. mobilized over 600 police and sheriff’s departments for “Operation Clear Track,” the largest railroad safety detail in the United States. Amtrak updated its mobile app and expanded its flexible dining service for sleeping car customers.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Amtrak implemented new travel standards, invested $109 million in ADA-related design and construction improvements, and implemented initiatives to improve diversity, inclusion, and belonging. 


In FY 2020, Amtrak customers took 16.8 million trips, with a decrease of 15.2 million due to pandemic-related travel demand reductions. 

Amtrak launched Amtrak BidUp and signed agreements for $3.7 billion in investment to expand and improve passenger, commuter, and freight rail in Virginia. The company launched Amtrak Connects US, a vision to advance more frequent, reliable, and sustainable intercity passenger rail service to over 160 more communities and 20 million more passengers annually by 2035.

Additionally, Amtrak launched iconic trains like the Acela Express, which forever changed the landscape of high-speed rail travel in America.
Remember this is not the complete and detailed. If want to know detailed History of Amtrak’s then read this guide.

Amtrak’s Services Unveiled: Everything You Need to Know About Amtrak Train: History, Services & Many More

Amtrak’s Services Unveiled

Amtrak’s Services

Amtrak, the national rail operator, connects America in safe, green, and healthy ways. With 21,000 route miles in 46 states, the District of Columbia, and three Canadian provinces, Amtrak operates more than 300 trains daily — at speeds up to 150 mph — to more than 500 destinations. Amtrak is the operator of choice for state-supported corridor services in 17 states and four passenger rail agencies.

Unique features and amenities offered by Amtrak

When you travel on an Amtrak train, it’s more than just getting travel from one place to another place. It is about a ride that is a more enjoyable experience than other forms of transportation. Take a look at the features and amenities that await you on board, then book a trip, relax, and enjoy your journey.

First Class Private Rooms: If you want a truly unique experience, Amtrak offers First Class Private Rooms – a great option for customers seeking privacy comfort, and space.

Seating Options: You can compare onboard seating options to see the difference between coach class, business class, or first class seating.

Onboard Dining: Amtrak offers onboard dining service. If you need more about meals available on overnight trains, onboard café services, and enhanced dining options for Acela customers then read this guide.

Baggage: Amtrak also offers baggage services. Take a look at the baggage guidelines for details on carry-on items, checked baggage, and special items so you have everything you need for your trip.

Personal Food & Medication: Amtrak allows passengers to bring their own food and beverages on board for use in seats or private sleeping car accommodations. However, food and beverages purchased in dining and lounge cars are permitted. Federal health regulations prohibit Amtrak personnel from handling or refrigerating food. Food supplies may be limited during train delays, so passengers with special dietary requirements or conditions such as diabetes should carry sufficient food. Alcoholic beverages are served in most dining, lounge, and cafe cars, but private stock can only be consumed in sleeping cars with valid tickets.

Bring Your Bicycle Onboard: If you don’t like to ride on rails with your bike, they offer some different services to bring your bike onboard with you.

Quiet Car: A welcome oasis of calm in a noisy world, the Silent Car is available on many Corridor trains so you can work or relax in peace.

WiFi: Amtrak offers free basic WiFi service on select trains and stations across the country, allowing general web browsing and streaming, but not high-bandwidth actions like music streaming or large file downloading. This service is available on various trains.

Pets on trains: They welcome dogs and cats up to 20 pounds for trips up to seven hours on most routes (some restrictions apply).

Devices with Sound: All great adventures have background music, but headphones are essential for all sound-emitting devices such as phones, laptops, and tablets to ensure a peaceful journey for fellow passengers. 

Amtrak’s Partnerships

Amtrak’s Partnerships

In addition to providing train service to the public, Amtrak also actively engages in business with other companies and vendors to increase productivity. Amtrak works with many partners every day to help make every part of your trip is a great experience. 

Allianz Global Assistance

Allianz Travel Protection is an insurance company that provides travel insurance benefits and assistance services designed to give you added protection when traveling and greater peace of mind. While booking your Amtrak ticket Select Allianz Travel Protection or get a quote today to learn more.

Amtrak Vacations

Amtrak Vacations is the official provider of Amtrak rail vacations, which offers the largest train trips, tours, and packages in the United States and Canada. Explore the train trip and book your vacation today.


Amtrak is a partner of eBags, the world’s largest online retailer of bags and accessories, to offer quality assurance and style for travelers. eBags provides superior customer service, including personal assistance, convenient order tracking, and real-time order tracking. With a wide selection of premium brands, eBags offers backpacks, carry-ons, computer cases, and handbags at competitive prices, free shipping, and a return policy.


Leave the Driving to Us—Amtrak has partnered with Greyhound for Thruway Bus service across the country.

Amtrak Hotels & Cars

Now there is an easy way to make hotel and car reservations. Amtrak Hotels & Cars is the solution to getting what you need wherever you go. Whether you need to book a hotel stay or rent a car, it’s an easy way to plan your trip without the extra legwork. Choose from a variety of major brands based on your route and destination, and make every trip the best it can be by booking with Amtrak hotels and cars.

Doing Business with Amtrak

Doing Business with Amtrak

Amtrak Procurement Portal

The National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) Procurement Portal is a resource for current and potential business partners to learn more about doing business with Amtrak.

 It offers a Vendor Registration tool for organizations to register for potential opportunities, review diversity initiatives, and access information about material/equipment sales. Registering your organization in Amtrak’s Supplier Directory is encouraged to facilitate inclusion on bidder lists for prospective solicitations. 

However, registration does not guarantee contract or business award with Amtrak or automatically qualify a supplier as an approved supplier. Amtrak may post information submitted by diverse suppliers through the Vendor Registration Form on the site by the Terms of Use.

Amtrak Permit Process

Safety First:

Safety is Amtrak’s first and foremost priority. Any access to or impact on Amtrak property or operations requires express written permission from the railroad through a temporary permit (“PTE”). PTE must be obtained through a formal application that is available here.

Preparing Your Application

Most PTE applications require an agreement between Amtrak and the applicant. Agreements are required for environmental work, soil disturbance, design reviews, large or complex construction projects, work that has a temporary or permanent impact on Amtrak property or operations, utility occupancy, and property rights. If you are unsure whether a contract with Amtrak is required, email permit@amtrak.com before submitting your PTE application and non-refundable application fee.

Here’s you can apply.
Apply Here

Application Requirements

Executed Agreement with Amtrak

Design and/or Environmental Review

Project Information

Impacts to the Railroad

Work on or near the Right of Way needs railroad safety services. The type and number of services required will depend on the level of impact and closeness to the rails or other infrastructure. Amtrak will create an estimate of the expenditures for railroad protection services due at the time of signature. Regardless, the Permittee is responsible for paying all fees associated with the PTE

Railroad protection services are extremely limited in availability. Early PTE filing and collaboration with Amtrak are strongly recommended.

Submitting Your Application

To apply for a project, applicants must submit a completed application, payment for the non-refundable application fee, and include the exact location and scope of work. 

Incomplete or unpaid applications will not be processed. Amtrak will confirm receipt and request additional information. If approved, the project will be prepared and sent for signature within eight weeks. Amtrak reviews each project independently to determine insurance requirements and the need for railroad protective services. The signed PTE must be returned with proof of payment and insurance coverage before execution. The application does not guarantee approval.

PTE Checklist

  • Completed online application
  • Signed PTE (no revisions or edits permitted)
  • Payment of $2,000 non-refundable application fee
  • Site map
  • Proof of insurance
  • Railroad Protective Liability Insurance
  • Payment of Amtrak costs

Process Summary

  • Submit your completed PTE application
  • Send documents to Amtrak’s permit inbox
  • Pay the 2000$ nonrefundable application fee
  • Amtrak sends the PTE for signature
  • Obtain Railroad Protective Liability Insurance
  • Sign the PTE and send all required documentation
  • Amtrak counter-signs the PTE
  • Schedule access to Amtrak property to perform the work

Amtrak Real Estate

Amtrak Services

  • Property sales
  • Property leases and other property rights
  • Wireline/pipeline
  • Fiber optics
  • Retail
  • Special events
  • Filming/photography
  • Advertising

If you want to buy or lease land from Amtrak, sell land to the railroad, manage utilities, or develop land or natural resources on railroad property, Amtrak Real Estate can help.

Amtrak Police Department: Ensuring Safety on America’s Railroad

Amtrak Police Department

The Amtrak Police Department (APD) is a nationwide police force dedicated to protecting Amtrak’s customers, staff, and stakeholders. Over 450 sworn and civilian staff, stationed in over 30 locations across 46 states, implement a variety of behind-the-scenes and front-line security procedures to maintain Amtrak employee, customer, and infrastructure safety and security.

APD is in charge of protecting the safety and security of over 30 million passengers going to more than 500 locations across 46 states, the District of Columbia, and three Canadian provinces along more than 21,400 miles of routes. APD collaborates with federal, state, municipal, rail, and transit law enforcement authorities to provide police coverage at the majority of Amtrak stations and rights-of-way.

If you see something, say something.

The Amtrak Police Department encourages everyone who visits their stations and facilities or rides their trains to immediately report any suspicious things, persons, behavior, or activity by approaching a uniformed officer, calling (800) 331-0008, texting* to APD11 (27311), or dialing 911. *(Message and data charges may apply.) Text HELP for assistance; text STOP to cancel.

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