Between the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States and the key protests against it, Washington, D.C., likely will be blitzed by record-breaking crowds for the four-day period of January 19-22.
In anticipation of this activist throng, Amtrak plans to offer additional service and seating in the days before and after the big weekend. The inauguration itself is slated forJanuary 20; the Women’s March on Washington is slated forJanuary 21.
First, the national rail carrier has added capacity for the Northeast Regional service between January 20-23, and will make additional round-trips on Acela Express and Northeast Regional services January 21. What’s more, Jason Molfetas, Amtrak’s executive vice president/chief marketing and sales officer, said the company will closely monitor the demand of customers leading up to the Presidential inauguration and further adjust the schedule as necessary.
“We’re proud to be able to provide a vital transportation service to this historic event,” Molfetas said in a statement last month. “Many of the streets into the city will be closed in the days leading up to the Inauguration, and Amtrak takes you right into the heart of the activities. Many of the inauguration events and festivities are just blocks away from Union Station.”
While many travelers may wait until the last minute to decide if they’re heading to D.C. for the festivities, Amtrak officials said because trains have a finite number of available seats, it pays to plan ahead.
All Amtrak trains in the Northeast require reservations and ticket purchases prior to boarding.
To address customer questions about traveling for the big day, Amtrak also has launched a special inauguration microsite with helpful tips to simplify the process of getting to the nation’s capital for the event. Among the nuggets of wisdom on this page:
1. Allow extra time due to crowding.
2. Pack lightly, tag your bag, and keep it close.
3. Expect additional security measures, including random bag screens.
4. Heed special-event pedestrian traffic patterns that will be in effect all weekend long.
It’s worth noting that commuter rail services in Virginia and Maryland also will be adding service for inauguration weekend. For more information about those services, or for updates on which events will be held where, check out the Washington Post’s special inauguration site.
Matt Villano is a freelance writer and editor based in Healdsburg, California. In nearly 20 years as a full-time freelancer, he has covered travel for publications including TIME, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Sunset, Backpacker, Entrepreneur, and more. He contributes to the Expedia Viewfinder blog and writes a monthly food column for Islands magazine. Villano also serves on the board of the Family Travel Association and blogs about family travel at Wandering Pod. Learn more about him at Whalehead.com.