Just after midnight on May 1, 1971, a Clocker train left New York City bound for Philadelphia as the inaugural departure for Amtrak. Now, 50 years later, the rail service has grown into a network with more than 300 trains a day traveling along its 21,000 route miles to more than 500 destinations in 46 states. To celebrate its 50th anniversary this week, Amtrak is honoring its passengers by offering 50% off fares, with a maximum of $50 off each segment.
In the sale that launched today, the savings can be applied on one-way coach and Acela business class fares on routes across the country. The offer must be booked between now and May 5, 2021, for travel dates between June 2 and Nov. 13, 2021.
Some of the low fares include $15 one-way coach trips between Emeryville and Sacramento in California; Chicago and East Lansing, Michigan; and Boston and Portland, Maine. There are also $18 coach fares from Portland, Oregon, to Seattle, and $19 coach rides from Philadelphia to New York and Washington, D.C. to Philadelphia. Longer rides available for $50 one way in coach include New York to Miami; Washington, D.C. to Chicago; Los Angeles to Seattle; and Lorton, Virginia, to Sanford, Florida.
One-way Acela business class routes are just $41 from Philadelphia to New York; $46 from Washington, D.C. to Philadelphia; $49 from New York to Boston; or $50 from New York to Washington, D.C.
The sale is valid on all routes minus the Pennsylvanian and Keystone Service (between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh), Pacific Surfliner, New Haven-Springfield Shuttle, and 7000-8999 thruway connecting services.
“Since launching service in 1971, Amtrak has been continuously driving toward the future — setting ambitious sustainability goals, rolling out sleek new locomotives, and extending access to new communities,” Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn said in a statement sent to Travel + Leisure, while announcing the “deeply discounted fares” to “welcome travelers back.”
Mandatory COVID-19 safety precautions are in place on board the interstate network, with masks required by federal law on both the trains as well as in the stations. The trains also have a filtration system that exchanges the air in each cabin every four to five minutes. Additionally, Amtrak has implemented a search function while booking to allow travelers to see the percentage of seats sold and opt for ones with less capacity.
Amtrak kicked off its 50th anniversary year on New Year’s Day by debuting the new $1.6 billion Moynihan Train Hall at New York City’s Penn Station.