AMTRAK ACROSS THE US

Compiled by Mary Gallagher
NEW ST. LOUIS-CHICAGO schedule Highlights
NEW AMTRAK TRAIN TIMETABLE

CHICAGO – More opportunity for business or pleasure between Chicago and St. Louis is a highlight of Amtrak’s new timetable, effective Nov. 1, 2004. Available in stations and by mail now, the new timetable contains train schedules, sample fares and practical information for making reservations and purchasing tickets.

A later departure from St. Louis for the Ann Rutledge, Train 304, will allow a fuller day for visitors to St. Louis or the other station stops on the St. Louis-Chicago route.

The new 3:10 p.m. departure is also expected to be more reliable and attractive than the previous schedule at Alton, Carlinville, Springfield, Lincoln, Bloomington-Normal, Pontiac, Dwight, Joliet and Summit.

It is the second St. Louis service improvement this year, following the announcement of a new interim station in the Gateway City. The current station in St. Louis is expected to be replaced in the next several weeks and plans for a permanent multi-modal station are being discussed with St. Louis city officials.
Where to obtain timetables

The new Amtrak system timetable, which is free of charge, may be obtained at major Amtrak stations, travel agencies, on-line at www.amtrak.com or by calling Amtrak’s toll-free information and reservations number: 800-USA-RAIL. Also available on Amtrak’s Web site are downloadable, route-specific and corridor schedules in wallet- sized card format.

TAKE AMTRAK’S PACIFIC SURFLINER

TO ENJOY “CARPINTERIA NATURALLY” TOUR

OAKLAND, Calif.—Visitors are invited to explore “Carpinteria Naturally” with an exclusive tour package to experience an insider’s view of previously “not open to the public” gardens, nurseries and natural history in the area. “And if you arrive car free via an Amtrak train to our friendly Southern California beach community, you’ll be reducing air pollution and traffic congestion,” says Lin Graf, CEO of the Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce, the sponsor of this unique tourism promotion created by Chamber members in hospitality, floriculture and agriculture. Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner trains make four round-trips daily to seaside Carpinteria. For current schedules and more information, visit www.amtrak.com or call 1-800-USA-RAIL

The Carpinteria Naturally Tour Package is only offered on the first weekend of the month in February, March, April and May 2004; and includes:

* Friday & Saturday night hotel accommodations: Choice of Holiday Inn Express Suites OR Best Western Carpinteria Inn
* Board private motorcoach on Saturday for guided tours of:
o Hollandia Produce-home of hydroponic “Live Gourmet” foods
o Ever-Bloom Nursery-largest US grower of colorful Gerberas
o Island View Tropical Nursery-exotic flora from around the globe
o Gallup & Stribling Orchids-America’s largest Orchid Farm
o Carpinteria Valley History Museum guided visit

Also included:

* Gourmet picnic lunch from The Garden Market
* Welcome packet with maps and discount coupons

The tour package is priced at only $349 per couple including hotel tax. (Children ages 12 & up, add $79 in same room as parents). Amtrak rail fares are additional. Train station transfers may be arranged at time of booking. Advance reservations with full payments are required 7 days prior to tour. VISA/MC are welcome.

For reservations, contact the Chamber of Commerce toll-free 1-800-563-6900 ext. 12 or 805-684-5479 ext 12. Capacity is limited, so early reservations are very important. (If any seats are still open seven days prior to tour, the “Saturday-only” tour is offered for $79 per person.)

Carpinteria is located 80 miles up the coast from Los Angeles and 12 miles south of Santa Barbara with a mild year-round climate favored by growers of flowers, plants and produce as well as year-round visitors. For more information, access www.carpchamber.org or for the Tour specifically: www.carpchamber.org/naturally
About Amtrak

Amtrak passengers enjoy rail service in more than 500 communities in 46 states across a 22,000-mile route system. For schedules, fares and reservations, visit Amtrak’s Web site at www.amtrak.com.
Amtrak: California

Amtrak is proud to announce the “first-ever” two-millionth passenger to ride Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner during the past year. The lucky passenger is Robert Roy Jr., a Navy Seal and actor from San Diego, CA.

During the month of August, ridership was up 18.7 percent on Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner over the same period last year with 221,941 passengers traveling along the route. In July, ridership was up 32.4 percent over the previous year. In fiscal year 2002, more than 1.72 million passengers rode the Pacific Surfliners, an increase of 1/2 percent. In fiscal year 2003, more than 2 million passengers rode the trains, an increase of more than 25 percent over the previous year.

“This milestone is validation of the investment California has made in intercity rail service,” Governor Davis said. “My administration has provided critical funding for the service. And Californians have responded by taking the train in record numbers, reducing traffic congestion on many busy highways.”

Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliners operate 11 roundtrips Monday-Thursday and 12 roundtrips Friday-Sunday between San Diego and Los Angeles, with four extending to Santa Barbara and one continuing to San Luis Obispo.

The California Department of Transportation partners with Amtrak to provide service on three intercity rail corridors in California. Through a $75 million per year annual state operating assistance program and the largest capital assistance program in the nation, the State’s Division of Rail supports service between the Bay Area and Sacramento on the Capitol Corridor, between San Francisco/Oakland and Bakersfield on the San Joaquins and, in Southern California, between San Diego and San Luis Obispo via Los Angeles and Santa Barbara on the Pacific Surfliner. The California Corridors, operated under the partnership banner, Amtrak California, are the busiest in the nation behind the Washington – Boston Northeast corridor and the Empire corridor serving Albany – New York City.
Amtrak: Northwest

Seattle Seahawks fans living out of the Seattle area have another way of traveling to home games on the Amtrak Cascades. Football fans can hop on the Amtrak Cascades to Seattle, avoid major traffic jams and arrive in time for kickoff. Fans can ride to King Street Station and walk directly to the new Seahawk Stadium just outside the train station entrance.

Regular one-way adult fares between Bellingham and Seattle start as low as $16, and as low as $12 between Everett and Seattle. Upgrade to Business Class for as little as $9. Space is limited and reservations are required. For current schedule, fare and reservation information, call 1-800-USA-RAIL or visit www.AmtrakCascades.com. Those wishing to purchase a game package including round trip transportation and Field Level game tickets are encouraged to call SportsWorld Tours at (503) 241-4701 or toll free at 1-800-634-2555.
Amtrak: Chicago and Lansing, MI

Ridership on Amtrak’s Chicago-Grand Rapids Pere Marquette is up steeply, with double-digit increases for the month of August and solid gains for the 11 months of the fiscal year-to-date. More than 8,000 passengers rode the daily train last month and almost 70,000 so far this fiscal year.

The ridership increase of more than 27 percent is derived from comparing the 8,045 passengers in August 2003 with the 6,324 in August 2002. The 11-month total is 69,115, a 22 percent increase from the 56,604 over the same period in 2001-2002.
Amtrak operates the Pere Marquette (Trains 370 & 371) under a contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). The train also serves New Buffalo, St. Joseph-Benton Harbor, Bangor and Holland, MI.

“We also appreciate the strong support state partners such as Michigan have given us to ensure we meet the passenger demand for these services.” said Don Saunders, General Superintendent of the Chicago-based Amtrak Central Division. Additionally, Saunders said Amtrak is receiving good cooperation from CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern, the railroads over whose tracks the Pere Marquette operates. “The freight railroad managers stress Amtrak on-time performance for this train,” he stated.

“The significant growth in ridership on this route reaffirms the value of providing reliable and affordable public transportation for Michigan citizens,” said Gloria J. Jeff, MDOT Director. “Passenger rail is an important component of our system,” Jeff continued. “It provides mobility and transportation choices for an ever-increasing number of Michigan residents and visitors.”

Amtrak and MDOT have also made several improvements to stations along the route of the Pere Marquette and have worked closely with WESTRAIN and other community groups in support of the train.
Amtrak: Illinois
Ridership on the three state-supported Amtrak services in Illinois is up dramatically: double-digit increases for the month of August and solidly higher for the 11 months of the fiscal year-to-date. Through August, 806,738 passengers rode Amtrak on Illinois-supported services, an increase of nearly seven percent over the same period a year ago.

Amtrak operates the Chicago-St. Louis State House, the Chicago-Carbondale Illini and the Chicago-Quincy Illinois Zephyr under a contract with the Illinois Department of Transportation. The Illinois DOT also supports the Chicago-Milwaukee Hiawatha
Service in an agreement with Amtrak and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Ridership on the Hiawathas was also up sharply in August and is trending up for the Amtrak fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30.

The Chicago-St. Louis State House (Trains 300 & 305) also serves Summit, Joliet, Dwight, Pontiac, Bloomington-Normal, Lincoln, Springfield, Litchfield and Alton. It posted an increase of more than 34 percent in August (compared to August 2002) on ridership of 26,464 and is up nearly 12 percent versus the same period of last fiscal year.

The Chicago-Carbondale Illini (Trains 391 & 392) also serves Homewood, Kankakee, Gilman, Rantoul, Champaign-Urbana, Mattoon, Effingham, Centralia and DuQuoin. Its August ridership of 9,759 was up by more than 24 percent against August one year ago, and increased by more than 11 percent in the October through August period.

The Chicago-Quincy Illinois Zephyr (Trains 347 & 348) also serves LaGrange, Naperville, Plano, Mendota, Princeton, Kewanee, Galesburg and Macomb. Its 10,177 for August ridership was a 22 percent increase. The train is up by nearly 10 percent for the fiscal year so far.

The Hiawathas (Trains 329-342) also serve Sturtevant, Wisc., and Glenview. Their ridership of 42,206 was up by 20 percent in August and they are up by more than two percent for the first 11 months of the fiscal year.
Amtrak: Mid Atlantic

Traveling between Boston, New York and Washington on Acela Express and Metroliner just got more rewarding for thousands of Amtrak Guest Rewards members. Now through December 22, 2003, members of Amtrak’s frequent traveler program will receive a free companion ticket for a future trip to any Amtrak destination for every two qualifying roundtrips (or four one-way trips) taken aboard Acela Express or Metroliner trains.

Taking advantage of this offer couldn’t be easier – passengers simply provide their Amtrak Guest Rewards member number when making reservations, either online at www.amtrak.com, through a travel agent or by calling 1-800-USA-RAIL. Members will receive their travel certificates by mail a few weeks after their travel has been completed. Best of all, there is no limit on the number of free companion certificates an Amtrak Guest Rewards member may earn, and the certificates may be transferred to friends, family members or anyone else. And, as an additional incentive, members will continue to earn 500 points (each way) for trips taken in Business Class and 750 points for trips taken in First Class.

Qualifying travel must be taken between September 8 and December 22, 2003 aboard Acela Express or Metroliner trains between the following city-pairs: Boston (includes South Station, Back Bay and Route 128), New York (includes Stamford, Newark, and Metropark), and Washington (or New Carrollton, Md.). Other restrictions, including blackout dates on certificate redemption, may apply. Complete details are available online at www.amtrak.com.

Acela Express is leading a dramatic shift of travelers choosing the train over airline shuttles in the Northeast. In the most recent quarter for which data is available (January-March 2003), Amtrak carried 36 percent of the air/rail market share between Boston and New York – more than any single airline – and between Washington and New York, Amtrak commanded 53 percent of the market – more than all airlines combined. Passengers enjoy the convenience of traveling downtown-to-downtown with the ability to conduct business en route. Onboard amenities include 120-volt power outlets at every seat, conference tables with seating for four passengers, and a bistro-style café car with draft beer service.
In April, Amtrak sharply reduced Acela Express fares between Boston and New York, capping business class fares at $99 for peak departures. Fares for off-peak departures and for travel to intermediate destinations are even lower. Amtrak reported double-digit ridership gains following the reduction in fares.
About Amtrak

Amtrak passengers enjoy rail service in more than 500 communities in 46 states across a 22,000-mile route system. For schedules, fares and reservations, visit Amtrak’s Web site at www.amtrak.com.

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