Last updated: 10:30 AM ET, Fri October 21 2016

Amtrak Adding More Capacity in Midwest for Thanksgiving Holiday

Car Rental & Rail Amtrak Donald Wood October 21, 2016

Amtrak Adding More Capacity in Midwest for Thanksgiving Holiday

Photo: Lake Shore Limited in fall foliage. (Courtesy of Amtrak)

In preparation for Thanksgiving, Amtrak will be adding capacity on several routes in the Midwest to accommodate the surge of holiday travelers.

In addition to operating every available passenger railcar in its fleet, Amtrak will operate extra trains to and from downstate Illinois and Michigan during the week of Thanksgiving. With a surge of travelers, customers are encouraged to book tickets early for best availability and pricing.

The focus on the Midwest is part of Amtrak’s commitment to the region, as the Amtrak Lincoln Service and Illinois Zephyr trains are operated under a contract with the Illinois Department of Transportation. All services in Michigan are under a contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation.

Amtrak has also been making improvements to the boarding process at Chicago Union Station before Thanksgiving, including the addition of a new Metropolitan Lounge, upgrades to priority boarding and the transition of the South Boarding Lounge to specialize in serving assisted boarding of customers age 62 and over, those with disabilities, families traveling with children 12 and under and active duty military personnel.

To help travelers ensure a smooth trip this holiday season, Amtrak has provided a few useful tips. First, customers should purchase tickets early to guarantee availability and pricing, and they should also take advantage of the “2+2 = Free” policy which allows passengers to bring two bags and two carry-ons for free.

In addition, travelers are encouraged to avoid the rush on the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after the holiday. Customers are also asked to arrive early, check train schedules and carry their photo ID to speed up the boarding process.

For more information on Amtrak’s preparation for the Thanksgiving holiday, check out the rail company’s official website.