Amtrak Adds Seats and Extra Trains for Thanksgiving Rush

No matter what mode of transportation that is being used, traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday can be a stressful and somewhat complicated adventure.  AAA forecasts that nearly 47 million Americans will journey more than 50 miles from their home at some point over the Thanksgiving weekend.

To ease the traveling crowds, Amtrak is adding extra seats on many routes and adding additional trains on some of their higher traveled routes.  During the busiest week, which stretches from Tuesday, November 24 through Monday, November 30, Amtrak expects to accommodate more than three quarters of a million customers.

IN THE NORTHEAST: Amtrak will add numerous extra trains and additional capacity over the course of the entire holiday rush.  Also, Amtrak will lease equipment from commuter partners to operate “Holiday Extra” trains between New York and Washington on Sunday, November 29. Additionally, the regularly unreserved New York-Philadelphia-Harrisburg Keystone Service will require reservations Tuesday, November, 24 through Monday, November 30.

CHICAGO AREA: Amtrak is adding eight extra trains along the routes to downstate Illinois, western Illinois and Michigan.  Extra service will be available between Chicago and Bloomington on Wednesday and Sunday; Chicago and Quincy on Wednesday and Sunday; Chicago and Ann Arbor (through Niles and Battle Creek) on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday; and Chicago and Holland on Wednesday and Sunday.

SEATTLE AREA: Amtrak will be adding seats and trains on all major corridors.  In the Seattle area, extra trains will operate between Seattle and Portland on Wednesday and Sunday.  In addition to the extra train service, Amtrak and the Oregon Department of Transportation will add extra connecting motorcoach service to the University of Oregon in Eugene.

SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA: Trains on both the Capitol Corridor (Sacramento-Oakland-San Jose) and the San Joaquin (Oakland/Sacramento-Stockton-Fresno-Bakersfield) routes will offer more seats to accommodate travelers.  Also, many connecting motorcoach routes will feature additional seats.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: All Pacific Surfliner trains (San Diego-Los Angeles-Santa Barbara-San Luis Obispo) will require reservations over the holiday weekend (Monday, November 23 through Sunday, November 29).  Also, Amtrak will operate four extra trains in order to supplement regularly scheduled trains. These extra trains will operate on the Los Angeles-San Diego portion of this route, additionally extending service on two regularly scheduled trains from San Diego.

Lastly, Amtrak is working hard to provide a hassle-free travel experience while connecting passengers with friends and family. These additional tips will help to ensure a smooth trip:

  • Purchasing Tickets: eTicketing is enabled on every train route throughout the nation.  Grab your ticket through the Amtrak app.
  • Avoid the Rush: The busiest travel days are the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after the holiday. Other than Thanksgiving Day, morning trains typically have more available seats than those in the afternoon or evening.
  • Arrive Early: Allow plenty of time at stations prior to departure – at least 45 minutes beforehand if picking up tickets.
  • Affordable Travel: Passengers are encouraged to take advantage of special deals and promotions including discounts for AAA members, students, military, seniors, children (ages 12 and under get 50% off) and more.

For complete details, including schedules and fares, visit

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