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Amtrak gets back on track with daily Austin service

Amtrak gets back on track with daily Austin service

Amtrak train
The Texas Eagle is flying back into full-time service. Courtesy of Photo courtesy of Amtrak

Amtrak’s Texas Eagle route, which serves Austin, is flying back to seven-day-a-week passenger rail service in May.

Last October, Amtrak whittled down service on the Texas Eagle line from seven days a week to three days a week in response to a pandemic-driven drop in travel. On May 24, the financially troubled passenger railroad is returning the Texas Eagle route to a seven-day-a-week run after receiving a $1.7 billion infusion from the COVID-19 relief package signed into law by President Biden.

“Offering daily long-distance service represents a vital step in our road to recovery,” Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn says in a news release.

The more than 1,300-mile Texas Eagle route isn’t confined to Texas. It actually stretches from Chicago to Los Angeles. But it does stop in 16 cities throughout Texas, including:

  • Austin
  • Taylor
  • San Marcos
  • San Antonio
  • Dallas
  • Fort Worth
  • Cleburne

Jim Mathews, president and CEO of the Rail Passengers Association, called full restoration of the Texas Eagle and 11 other long-distance Amtrak routes “a real win for America’s passengers and for the hundreds of communities served by Amtrak’s long-distance trains — communities which suffered economic pain when they lost their service.”

The Texas Eagle is Amtrak’s longest route in the U.S.

In 2017, President Trump proposed budget cuts that threatened to eliminate several long-distance Amtrak routes, including the Texas Eagle. The plan never materialized, though.

Amtrak officials have discussed expanding passenger service around the country, including a new route that would connect San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston. Amtrak notes that Texas reigns as one of the fastest-growing states, yet the railroad offers little service here.