WASHINGTON — Amtrak will restore some service between Washington and New York next month, bringing back its flagship Acela, in what would be the company’s first step toward returning to normal operations since the coronavirus pandemic.
Acela service will resume June 1, with three weekday round trips, Amtrak said. Northeast Regional service, which has been operating on a reduced schedule, will increase from eight to 10 round trips daily.
“We are dedicated to doing everything possible to return service safely,” Amtrak President and chief executive Bill Flynn said in a statement. “We want everyone to feel comfortable as they navigate this new normal.”
Amtrak said last month it was projecting losses of about $700 million this year after a 95 percent drop in ridership.
Railroad officials said they are starting to see “renewed interest in travel,” and specifically demand for Acela service, a popular option for business travelers between the nation’s capital, New York and Boston.
The railroad also announced Thursday that starting Monday, all passengers will be required to wear masks, adding another layer of protection against the spread of the virus.
The company also continues to operate limited service across its national network. Officials say the railroad will maintain more rigorous cleaning routines and social distancing aboard trains to reduce the potential for the spread of the virus.
The company first canceled Acela nonstop service March 10, and followed with a reduction to service across its network as demand for travel plummeted.