Amtrak Undergoes Upgrades


As of January 2016, Amtrak Cardinal Service has expanded and undergone upgrades. The Cardinal Line, which includes Trains 50 and 51, now offers upgraded business class seating, along with sleeping cars and coach class seating options. This route has long been considered one of the transportation service’s crown jewels and most picturesque. With the new expanded service options in effect, the line offers a more comfortable way to travel to and from various destinations, including New York to Chicago, via Washington; portions of Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky; Cincinnati and Indianapolis; as well as many points in between.

The Cardinal Line operates three days a week on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The scenic landscape that can be viewed from this route is meant to keep riders engaged and wanting more. Passengers can enjoy countryside motif, the vast mountainscape vistas of the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains, longing looks at the Shenandoah Valley, and passing glances at the rivers of West Virginia as they travel via train. Moreover, the train also travels along the banks of the Ohio River and makes its way to the river bound city of Cincinnati, Ohio. Then, the line continues on its journey to the large metropolitan cities of Indianapolis and Chicago.

As Amtrak has undergone upgrades and expanded its services, the renovated line now offers each rider a wide, comfortable reserved coach seat that provides more room than almost any other transportation mode, along with a non-alcoholic beverage, free wi-fi, and access to the Metropolitan Lounge, which is also referred to as ClubAcela, for business class passengers at an additional fee. Meanwhile, an upgrade to business class also offers riders leather seats and garners customers bonus Amtrak Guest Rewards® points. Other amenities for riders who upgrade to business class include power outlet access at the foot base of each seat, an individual work light, and a collapsible desk and/or table for eating, work, reading purposes, etc.


Amtrak’s goal in expanding and upgrading its services is to provide its customers an eco-friendly, commuter-convenient, and multifaceted experience. They want the riders to feel that they are considered a priority and their needs are being addressed. In fact, the transportation carrier wants passengers to know that these new amenities make it more advantageous to “park & ride” to work, school, appointments, etc. as opposed to driving. Not only can public transportation riders contribute to a cleaner environment and less congested roadways, but they can work, eat, read, review materials, etc. while en route to their destinations.

As Amtrak has undergone upgrades and expanded its services, there are several new options and amenities to consider when booking travel. For coach class seating and customers with disabilities and/or special needs, reservations are required. The Cardinal Line sleeping cars offer viewliner sleeping accommodations. Moreover, access to the Amtrak Metropolitan Lounge or ClubAcela is available in Philadelphia, New York, Washington, D.C., and Chicago for business and sleeping car passengers. A combined Diner/Lounge car provides food and beverage service for train commuters. Furthermore, there is also checked baggage service available at most staffed stations. Riders should look for the checked baggage icon when making their reservations to ensure this service is available at their desired departure and arrival points. It is also important to note that all Amtrak stations and services are non-smoking. With Amtrak’s expansion and upgrades firmly in place, the transportation carrier is focused on enhancing its riders’ commute and customer experience.

Written and Edited by Leigh Haugh

Amtrak–Cardinal and Hoosier State Schedule
Amtrak–Amtrak Cardinal Business Class News Release
Amtrak–Sleeping Accommodations
Flyertalk–Upgrade to Sleeper From Coach While On-Board
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Inline Image Courtesy of vxla’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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