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  4. Amtrak just debuted upgraded long-distance trains that will transform rail travel in America with new seats and rooms - see inside

Amtrak just debuted upgraded long-distance trains that will transform rail travel in America with new seats and rooms - see inside

Amtrak just debuted upgraded long-distance trains that will transform rail travel in America with new seats and rooms - see inside
LifeThelife1 min read
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.Thomas Pallini/Insider
  • Amtrak is investing $28 million to overhaul its long-distance trains featuring new seats, rooms, and amenities.
  • All cabins from coach to sleeper suites will see new products that focus on modernity and sustainability.
  • Traditional dining is also returning to select routes with new food items and an enhanced service offering.

It's been an exciting year for Amtrak. After devastation by the pandemic in 2020, the National Rail Passenger Corporation this year released its plan to better connect the US with $80 billion from President Joe Biden's infrastructure plan.

It
An Amtrak long-distance train.      Ian Dewar Photography/Shutterstock.com

Since then, rail travel has been making a comeback with more travelers staying within the US while vacationing and choosing Amtrak as an alternative to driving or flying.

Since then, rail travel has been making a comeback with more travelers staying within the US while vacationing and choosing Amtrak as an alternative to driving or flying.
An Amtrak long-distance train.      AJ Packer/Shutterstock.com

Riding the rails has also been cheaper than ever with Amtrak offering incredible sales to stimulate demand. The latest sale on offer is for the USA Rail Pass, which offers 10 trips on any of its train lines for only $299.

Riding the rails has also been cheaper than ever with Amtrak offering incredible sales to stimulate demand. The latest sale on offer is for the USA Rail Pass, which offers 10 trips on any of its train lines for only $299.
Inside a observation car on an Amtrak long distance train.      Jacob Boomsma/Shutterstock.com

Now, Amtrak is investing $28 million in upgrading its long-distance trains, known as Superliners and Viewliners. Riders can look forward to upgraded seats and rooms plus a new dining experience on six long-distance western routes.

Now, Amtrak is investing $28 million in upgrading its long-distance trains, known as Superliners and Viewliners. Riders can look forward to upgraded seats and rooms plus a new dining experience on six long-distance western routes.
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

Amtrak unveiled the new products in Chicago on Tuesday. Take a look inside the upgraded Superliner experience.

Amtrak unveiled the new products in Chicago on Tuesday. Take a look inside the upgraded Superliner experience.
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

All classes of service with see upgraded products with the investment, from coach to the sleeper suites.

All classes of service with see upgraded products with the investment, from coach to the sleeper suites.
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

The tired blue cloth seats of Amtrak's past have been replaced with more modern-looking seats with improved cushioning and upholstery.

The tired blue cloth seats of Amtrak
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

For riders in the Northeast, the seats are similar to the updated products on Northeast Regional trains.

For riders in the Northeast, the seats are similar to the updated products on Northeast Regional trains.
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

Seats are still arranged in a 2-2 configuration with no middle seats.

Seats are still arranged in a 2-2 configuration with no middle seats.
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

And each seat has a pitch of 50 inches, giving riders nearly double the legroom compared to a coach seat on a US airline.

And each seat has a pitch of 50 inches, giving riders nearly double the legroom compared to a coach seat on a US airline.
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

Paper headrest coverings have been removed entirely from the cars, which Amtrak says reduces waste onboard the trains.

Paper headrest coverings have been removed entirely from the cars, which Amtrak says reduces waste onboard the trains.
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

As many as 120 coverings per car needed to be discarded and replaced multiple times over the course of a single trip. Massive amounts of waste were created from the covering alone and it added to the cabin attendant's workload.

As many as 120 coverings per car needed to be discarded and replaced multiple times over the course of a single trip. Massive amounts of waste were created from the covering alone and it added to the cabin attendant
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

Tray tables remain where riders can eat, drink, or get work done on a laptop using Amtrak's free WiFi.

Tray tables remain where riders can eat, drink, or get work done on a laptop using Amtrak
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

And two power outlets are still offered at every row.

And two power outlets are still offered at every row.
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

The new seats also feature footrests that come in handy during long stretches of sitting.

The new seats also feature footrests that come in handy during long stretches of sitting.
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

Coach tickets don't include many amenities, besides a generous baggage allowance of two checked bags and two carry-on bags, but a cabin attendant does assist passengers throughout the journey.

Coach tickets don
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

The coach cabin extends across both levels of massively tall Superliner and better views can sometimes be had on the top level.

The coach cabin extends across both levels of massively tall Superliner and better views can sometimes be had on the top level.
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

One little-known fact is that conductors can actually reverse the orientation of seats so groups of up to four can face each other.

One little-known fact is that conductors can actually reverse the orientation of seats so groups of up to four can face each other.
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

Routine maintenance programs are also being implemented to ensure that seats and carpeting don't reach a state of disrepair. Seats will always look as close to brand-new as possible.

Routine maintenance programs are also being implemented to ensure that seats and carpeting don
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

Coach passengers will also enjoy better sleeping arrangements as the new seats offer a deep recline complete with leg rest.

Coach passengers will also enjoy better sleeping arrangements as the new seats offer a deep recline complete with leg rest.
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

There are no dividers in between the seats, offering greater room to stretch out if riders don't have a seat neighbor. The two seats are roughly the size of a twin-size bed.

There are no dividers in between the seats, offering greater room to stretch out if riders don
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

Amtrak still doesn't plan to offer bedding to coach passengers but riders are more than welcome to bring their own. Each passenger, after all, is permitted to bring up to two carry-on bags that can be used to store some pillows and blankets.

Amtrak still doesn
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

The next updated space is the Sightseer Car which features larger windows so riders can take in the views of the journey.

The next updated space is the Sightseer Car which features larger windows so riders can take in the views of the journey.
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

The configuration of the seats remains largely the same but the seat cushions are changed. Riders can choose from a two-seat pair...

The configuration of the seats remains largely the same but the seat cushions are changed. Riders can choose from a two-seat pair...
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

Or a single-seat, depending on their preference and how many passengers are in a given group.

Or a single-seat, depending on their preference and how many passengers are in a given group.
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

All coach and sleeper passengers have access to the shared space with first-come, first-serve seating.

All coach and sleeper passengers have access to the shared space with first-come, first-serve seating.
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

Also offered in the car are standard tables where groups of four can sit.

Also offered in the car are standard tables where groups of four can sit.
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

All tables are open for seating with Amtrak moving away from a pandemic policy of blocking certain tables for distancing.

All tables are open for seating with Amtrak moving away from a pandemic policy of blocking certain tables for distancing.
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

Cushioning on the bench seating has also been updated with a cleaner look, similar to the style of the coach seats.

Cushioning on the bench seating has also been updated with a cleaner look, similar to the style of the coach seats.
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

Food and drinks from the cafe car can also be enjoyed here as coach customers currently don't have access to the dining car.

Food and drinks from the cafe car can also be enjoyed here as coach customers currently don
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

Another change that riders can be excited about is that Amtrak is returning to traditional dining on select long-distance routes.

Another change that riders can be excited about is that Amtrak is returning to traditional dining on select long-distance routes.
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

California Zephyr, Starlight, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Sunset Limited, and Texas Eagle trains, which see the most meals in Amtrak's network, will be the first to see the new program.

California Zephyr, Starlight, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Sunset Limited, and Texas Eagle trains, which see the most meals in Amtrak
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

Three meals in the dining car are included in the sleeper car fare and communal dining will be offered once more.

Three meals in the dining car are included in the sleeper car fare and communal dining will be offered once more.
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

Riders that choose to dine independently, however, can choose to do so.

Riders that choose to dine independently, however, can choose to do so.
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

Amtrak-branded plates will be first used when traditional dining is restored on June 23 but china will soon be used in the service.

Amtrak-branded plates will be first used when traditional dining is restored on June 23 but china will soon be used in the service.
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

New staples include French toast with fresh whipped cream, flat iron steak, lobster crab cakes, and Philadelphia cheesecake. And to top it off, fresh flowers will be placed at every table.

New staples include French toast with fresh whipped cream, flat iron steak, lobster crab cakes, and Philadelphia cheesecake. And to top it off, fresh flowers will be placed at every table.
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

Robert Jordan, Amtrak's vice president of operations customer services, told Insider that the dining service will better than what was offered even before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Robert Jordan, Amtrak
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

Next to be upgraded are the rooms. This is the largest room available on the train and can house up to two adults traveling together.

Next to be upgraded are the rooms. This is the largest room available on the train and can house up to two adults traveling together.
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

Inside is a sofa and armchair, both of which have been updated in the new design. Gone are the paper head dressings that constantly needed to be replaced.

Inside is a sofa and armchair, both of which have been updated in the new design. Gone are the paper head dressings that constantly needed to be replaced.
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

Here's what the old rooms looked like with the blue cloth seats.

Here
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

Riders in these compartments also have a dedicated attendant, dining car access, and get lounge access at Amtrak's Metropolitan Lounges.

Riders in these compartments also have a dedicated attendant, dining car access, and get lounge access at Amtrak
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

Showers in the rooms remain largely the same but feature one big change: individual soap, shampoo, and conditioner bottles are being replaced with dispensers.

Showers in the rooms remain largely the same but feature one big change: individual soap, shampoo, and conditioner bottles are being replaced with dispensers.
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

The move saves costs and reduces Amtrak's environmental footprint by not having to dispose of single-use plastic bottles. Hotels have been making the shift towards dispensers, as well.

The move saves costs and reduces Amtrak
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

New towels are also being introduced in the showers.

New towels are also being introduced in the showers.
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

A new lotion dispenser has also been added to the in-room sink.

A new lotion dispenser has also been added to the in-room sink.
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

Next on the list are the roomettes, the smaller two-person rooms that are a fraction of the size of standard rooms.

Next on the list are the roomettes, the smaller two-person rooms that are a fraction of the size of standard rooms.
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

Roomettes are set up in a simple configuration with two seats that face each other.

Roomettes are set up in a simple configuration with two seats that face each other.
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

It's tight quarters at just six feet and eight inches long and three feet and six inches wide. But the closeable door offers additional privacy.

It
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

Roomette seats are markedly bigger than standard coach seats, however, and are ideal for couples traveling together.

Roomette seats are markedly bigger than standard coach seats, however, and are ideal for couples traveling together.
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

Once again, the newer roomette seats replace the old blue cloth seats.

Once again, the newer roomette seats replace the old blue cloth seats.
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

The bedding, pillows, and linens in both the rooms and roomettes are also being updated with a new design.

The bedding, pillows, and linens in both the rooms and roomettes are also being updated with a new design.
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

Roomette passengers do have dining car access but can choose to take their meals in their rooms, using the center table.

Roomette passengers do have dining car access but can choose to take their meals in their rooms, using the center table.
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

The car attendant can make the bed while riders are enjoying their meal to minimize disruptions.

The car attendant can make the bed while riders are enjoying their meal to minimize disruptions.
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

Amtrak will have the entire Superliner and Viewliner fleet converted in the next three years.

Amtrak will have the entire Superliner and Viewliner fleet converted in the next three years.
AJ Packer/Shutterstock.com

Riders seeking out these train cars specifically, however, won't be able to do so just yet. Amtrak says there will be no way to tell if a particular service will have updated products because the cars are interchangeable.

Riders seeking out these train cars specifically, however, won
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

Northeast passengers, particularly long-distance trains departing from New York's Pennsylvania Station, won't see the new Superliner cars as they can't fit in the Hudson River and East River tunnels. But smaller Viewliners that can access New York will be similarly upgraded with the new products.

Northeast passengers, particularly long-distance trains departing from New York
Touring Amtrak's newly-upgraded Superliner train.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

Chicago-based lines, as well as the Auto Train, will be the first to see the updated products.

Chicago-based lines, as well as the Auto Train, will be the first to see the updated products.
A depiction of Amtrak's US route network.      Thomas Pallini/Insider

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