Here's a deal: Amtrak offering $20 fares on Acela to celebrate train's 20th anniversary

Here's a deal: Amtrak offering $20 fares on Acela to celebrate train's 20th anniversary

Amtrak is offering one-way fares on its flagship Acela Express trains at a substantial discount: $20 to celebrate the service's 20th anniversary.

Acela operates from Washington to New York and Boston. From Tuesday to Thursday, the discounted fares are available for travel between Nov. 16 and Dec. 17.

The fine print: The fare is not available for use on Fridays and Sundays. Nor can you use it for last-minute Thanksgiving travel on Nov. 24-25 or the weekend of Nov. 28-30. And once you begin your trip, you cannot make changes to your itinerary.

It's quite a deal. By way of comparison, if you booked an Acela business-class seat on Tuesday for travel from Washington to New York on Thursday, prices would start at $170. Travel on the same day from New York to Boston would start at $115. A trip from Washington to Boston would start at $129. And that's just for the lower fare, which doesn't include waived change fees.

Acela Express began operating on the Northeast Corridor in 2000. It reaches a top speed of 150 mph, but there are few places along the route where it can actually go that fast.

 Like airlines, Amtrak has seen ridership has plummeted during the coronavirus pandemic.The passenger railroad has had to cut service and furlough employees. As a result, Amtrak parked its Acela trains from March until June. 

In the meantime, the company has been testing a new generation of Acela trains that are slated to begin operating next year. 

The interiors will have more spacious leather seats with lighting, electrical outlets and USB ports. Each seat will have dual tray tables with a large and small option. Other amenities will include Wi-Fi and an advanced seat reservation system. Bathrooms will be large and ADA-compliant with a 60-inch diameter turning radius.

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