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Amtrak changes schedule in the Northeast Corridor due to heat

Severe weather rocks NYC area with thunderstorms and hail
Severe weather rocks NYC area with thunderstorms and hail 08:01

Amtrak passengers traveling in the Northeast Corridor — the busy rail line linking Boston, New York and other cities in the region with Washington, D.C., — could face delays because of high heat this summer.

Departure times of trains in the corridor have been adjusted to compensate for anticipated heat order delays, Amtrak Northeast said Tuesday in a post on X. 

The notice from the passenger rail service comes as climate change contributes to the severity of storms around the world. In the U.S., at least 23 people have died in holiday weekend storms in five states.  

Passengers traveling in Virginia should expect delays from 5 to 20 minutes when track owner and maintainer CSX issues a heat order reducing the maximum speed of trains. The orders frequently occur between May and August, Amtrak said.

More than 70% of the miles traveled on Amtrak trains are on tracks owned by other railroads, including CSX. That said, CSX does not own the tracks between Boston and D.C., as Amtrak owns and operates 363 of the 457-route miles, Amtrak said. Overall, the company's network includes about 20,000 miles of track in 26 states, the District of Colombia and two Canadian provinces.

More scheduling information can be found at, on its mobile app or by calling or texting: 1-800-872-7245.

Extreme heat poses safety risk

Extreme heat can hinder operations and pose safety hazards by causing rail, bridges and overhead power wires to expand, prompting restrictions on train speeds during warmer months, according to Amtrak.

Amtrak requires locomotive engineers not to exceed 100 miles per hour when the rail temperature reach 131 degrees, and to slow to 80 miles per hour when the tracks is at 140 degrees. Nearly half of its trains operate at top speeds of 100 miles per hour or greater, and its high-speed intercity passenger rail trains operate at speeds up to 150 miles per hour, Amtrak said.

Nearly 29 million people rode Amtrak in fiscal 2023, a roughly 25% jump from the prior year, fueled in part by significant growth in the Northeast Corridor, where ridership consistently exceeded pre-pandemic levels from early summer, Amtrak noted.

A federally chartered corporation, Amtrak operates as a for-profit company rather than a public agency. 

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