Amtrak Eyes Florida Service Cuts July 6

A Florida rail advocacy group told its members this week that Amtrak plans to reduce the frequency of operation of its Silver Service trains on July 6.

On that date, the group said, Amtrak plans to begin operating the Silver Star and Silver Meteor on alternating days between New York and Miami.

The group cited an Amtrak memo saying the Silver Meteor will depart New York on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and leave Miami on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Silver Star will depart New York on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and leave Miami on Miami on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

The memo said both trains will offer expanded capacity for each departure that will include five Amfleet II coaches, three Viewliner sleeping cars, an Amfleet café car, and a Viewliner II sleeper class passenger lounge.

Daily service to Tampa will be provided by a bus connection at Orlando to and from the Silver Meteor on the days the Silver Star does not operate in Florida.

The service changes will not affect operations of the Palmetto, which will continue to operate daily between New York and Savannah, Georgia.

The Florida group is disputing assertions by Amtrak that the service reductions are temporary until ridership rebounds in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The group said the planned July changes will mean that Florida stations in Tampa, Okeechobee, Lakeland and Palatka will only have tri-weekly rail service.

Amtrak has not yet announced the changes to operations of the Florida trains on its website.

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