US rail operator Amtrak will suspend its non-stop route between New York and Washington DC, responding to reduced demand associated with the coronavirus.

Services 2401, 2402 and 2403 will not run from Tuesday March 10 until Tuesday May 26.

The non-stop route, operated by high-speed Acela trains, launched in September 2019, offering a journey time of just over two and a half hours on weekdays.

It departs New York Penn Station at 0635, arriving in Washington DC Union Station at 0910. The return departs at 1630, arriving at 1905.

Passengers will still be able to take Amtrak’s slower regional services on the route, which take around three and a half hours.

“As we are experiencing some reduced demand for our service, we are making temporary adjustments to our schedule, such as removing train cars or cancelling trains when there is a convenient alternative with a similar schedule that will have minimal impact to customers,” Amtrak said.

The company has announced it will increase the frequency with which it cleans trains in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19).

It has also waived change fees on all existing or new reservations made before April 30.

Amtrak, which is quasi-public company supported by state and federal funding, has been seeking to make itself profitable.

In the year to September 2019, revenue was up 3.6 per cent to $3.3 billion, taking it to a $29.8 million operating loss – 82.6 per cent better than the year before, when it lost $170.6 million.

Read our interview with the head of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor on upcoming changes to the service here:

Amtrak says growing demand makes case for US rail funding

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