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Amtrak’s Empire Builder resumes full service through Rugby

By Sue Sitter - | May 22, 2021

Daily passenger train service through Rugby on Amtrak’s Empire Builder will resume Monday, May 24, according to a statement released by Amtrak’s media center recently.

The Empire Builder, with a route running from Seattle, Wash., east to Minneapolis, Minn., and Chicago, Ill., will be among the first routes to restore full service after several months of schedule reductions due to the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak. North Dakota stops along the route include Fargo, Grand Forks, Devils Lake, Rugby, Minot, Stanley and Williston.

Full service will return to all routes in three phases from May 24 through June 7.

“Providing customers significantly more departures for the upcoming summer travel season, the new schedule has been updated on all Amtrak reservation systems, including Amtrak.com and the Amtrak app,” the statement said.

“Due to COVID relief funding, Amtrak will sustain and restore operations and recall the more than 1,200 furloughed employees through the remainder of FY21 and into FY22,” the statement said.

“Offering daily long distance service represents a vital step in our road to recovery,” Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn said in the statement. “Recognizing the immense value of our employees, we’d like to thank Congress for enabling service restoration and helping us recall furloughed employees,” Flynn added in the statement.

Amtrak also marks 50 years of passenger rail service this year.

President Joe Biden appeared at a recent ceremony to celebrate Amtrak’s golden anniversary at Gray 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, according to Amtrak officials.

“‘Today we have a once in a generation opportunity to position Amtrak and rail and intercity rail, as well in general to play a central role in our transformation of transportation and economic future,'” Biden said in a statement about the ceremony released by Amtrak officials.

“‘America needs a rail network that offers frequent, reliable, sustainable and equitable train service. Amtrak has the vision and expertise to deliver it, now we need Congress to provide the funding for the next 50 years,'” Flynn said at the ceremony.

“Over the next 15 years, Amtrak’s vision for expansion will connect up to 160 communities throughout the United States, building new or improved rail corridors in over 25 states,” the Amtrak statement said. “As part of this plan, Amtrak will introduce new stations in over half the U.S. states, increase rail service to 47 of the top 50 metropolitan areas and create over half a million new, well-paying jobs.”

Amtrak will also offer special fare reductions on some routes to celebrate their 50th anniversary, according to their website.

For more information on routes, fares and schedules visit www.amtrak.com or call (800) 872-7245.

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