BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Later this year, Amtrak will cut its long distance routes from daily service to three days per week.
One such route is the Crescent, which stops in Anniston, Birmingham and Tuscaloosa.
The passenger rail service says a reduction in travelers due to COVID-19 led to their decision to cut daily service.
They made cuts earlier this year to the service in their northeastern corridor, from Boston to D.C.
The cuts will take effect, at least temporarily, when their 2021 fiscal year begins in October.
In Anniston, where city leaders have a plan to bring in more ecotourists using Amtrak--the city’s train station will have a lengthened platform to accommodate bicycles and there are plans to extend the southernmost end of the Chief Ladiga Trail to the city’s train station--one council member hopes the decision might be delayed or called off.
"My understanding is, it's supposed to start October the first. Maybe something will happen between that time to change their mind, or with the insurging of the economy, more people will be traveling, and that may make a difference also. So we hope that changes," says council member Ben Little.
Amtrak officials, meanwhile, hope to get their long distance service running daily again by next summer. They also say there are no plans to close any stations.
The following is a statement Kimberly Woods:
“Due to the long-term impact of Covid-19 on ridership, Amtrak has made the decision to operate with reduced capacity through FY21. As we have already made adjustments to our Northeast Corridor (DC - Boston) and state-supported services, the next adjustment is with our long-distance trains, which we plan to reduce to three days per week, beginning October 1, 2020. Our goal is to restore daily service on these routes as demand warrants, potentially by the summer of 2021. The Crescent travels daily from New York to New Orleans, and includes stops in Anniston, Birmingham and Tuscaloosa. The Crescent is part of our national network of long distance trains. Specifics on schedule for the Crescent and the cities it serves remain to be determined. It is also important to note that stations will remain open.”