Twilight Shoreliner

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Twilight Shoreliner
Electric train in Boston (195624610).jpg
The Twilight Shoreliner in Boston in 2002
Service typeInter-city rail
LocaleNortheast Corridor
PredecessorNight Owl
First service10 July 1997 (1997-07-10)
Last service28 April 2003 (2003-04-28)
Former operator(s)Amtrak
StartNewport News, Virginia
EndBoston, Massachusetts
Service frequencyDaily
Train number(s)66,67
On-board services
  • Coach class
  • Custom class
  • Viewliner sleeper car
Catering facilities
  • On-board café
  • Twilight Lounge
Rolling stock
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)

The Twilight Shoreliner was a passenger train operated by Amtrak on the Northeast Corridor between Boston, Massachusetts, and Newport News, Virginia, via New York City and Washington, D.C. Amtrak introduced it in 1997 to replace the Night Owl. It was discontinued in 2003 in favor of the Federal.


The Twilight Shoreliner replaced the Night Owl as Amtrak's dedicated overnight service on the Northeast Corridor. Amtrak equipped the train with a Viewliner sleeping car, replacing the Heritage Fleet equipment used by the Night Owl. The new train also featured a Custom-class coach and the specially-branded "Twilight Café," which served hot meals and was restricted to sleeper- and custom-class passengers. Finally, Amtrak extended the southern terminus from Washington, D.C., to Newport News, Virginia, and moved the departure time from Boston from 10 PM to 8 PM.[1] The Twilight Shoreliner provided a second daily frequency between the Northeast and Newport News, supplementing the Old Dominion.[2]

Amtrak launched the Twilight Shoreliner on July 10, 1997.[2] The cover of its Summer 1997 Northeast timetable called the train "An Unexpected Departure from the Northeast"; a full-page inset touted the many amenities available, including showers and in-room first-run movies for sleeping car passengers and the two cafe cars.[3] By October, ridership was up 28%.[4]

Amtrak discontinued the Twilight Shoreliner on April 28, 2003, replacing it with the Federal, which ran from Boston to Washington, D.C. Ridership from Newport News had declined in 2002–2003, and eliminating the Virginian portion of the route Amtrak could offer a better schedule to travelers on the Northeast Corridor.[5] A southbound connection from the Federal to a Newport News-bound Regional was available at Washington, but northbound trips required a three-hour layover.[6] The Federal was merged into the Regional brand on April 26, 2004.[7] Amtrak re-extended overnight trains 66 and 67 (now part of the Northeast Regional brand) to Newport News on November 1, 2004; however, they do not include the sleeping car and lounge car.[8][9]


A former Twilight Shoreliner Viewliner sleeper, still in revenue service, in 2009

The Twilight Shoreliner operated with a mix of Heritage, Amfleet, and Viewliner equipment. A Heritage Fleet baggage car handled checked baggage for passengers and, beginning in 2001, bicycles.[10][11] The train carried a Viewliner sleeping car except for a brief period in 2002 when Amtrak had to withdraw it because of equipment shortages elsewhere.[12] The train carried four Amfleet coaches, two of which were configured for "Custom Class" seating.[2] The train featured a first class-only lounge car, the "Twilight Lounge", for sleeper and Custom Class passengers.[13] A second standard cafe car served regular coach passengers.[14]:13


  1. ^ "HERALD TRAVELER: Bet on a good time with golf, gambling". Boston Herald  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). July 3, 1997. Archived from the original on March 21, 2016. Retrieved 27 October 2012.
  2. ^ a b c Messina, Debbie (July 10, 1997). "LIKE HOME ON THE RAILS AMTRACK EXPANDS SERVICE TO HAMPTON ROADS WITH SECOND TRAIN, LUXURY SLEEPING AND DINING". The Virginian-Pilot  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Archived from the original on March 10, 2016. Retrieved 27 October 2012.
  3. ^ Amtrak Northeast Timetable: Summer 1997, Revised Edition. Amtrak. July 10, 1997 – via Museum of Railway Timetables.
  4. ^ Palmer, Thomas C. Jr. (October 27, 1997). "At hearing, most say Greenbush train line should be left defunct". Boston Globe. p. B2 – via Amtrak says its Twilight Shoreliner between Virginia and Boston carried 28 percent more passengers than the Night Owl service it replaced. open access
  5. ^ Messina, Debbie (April 24, 2003). "Amtrak Alters Sleeper Service to Boston". The Virginian-Pilot  – via HighBeam (subscription required). Archived from the original on October 18, 2016. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  6. ^ Amtrak Northeast Timetable: Spring/Summer 2003. Amtrak. April 28, 2003. pp. 8, 25, 26 – via Museum of Railway Timetables.
  7. ^ Amtrak System Timetable: Spring/Summer 2004. Amtrak. April 26, 2004. p. 33 – via Museum of Railway Timetables.
  8. ^ Amtrak Virginia Service Timetable: March 10, 2018 (PDF). Amtrak. March 10, 2018. pp. 1, 4.
  9. ^ Amtrak System Timetable: Fall 2004 | Winter 2005. Amtrak. November 1, 2004. pp. 30, 48 – via Museum of Railway Timetables.
  10. ^ "Coming and Going". The Washington Post. May 13, 2001. Archived from the original on February 14, 2017. Retrieved October 22, 2015 – via HighBeam Research.
  11. ^ "Exhibit Train Equipment History". Amtrak. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  12. ^ Hanchett, Doug (June 15, 2002). "Amtrak rethinks bed idea, restores sleeper car service". The Boston Herald. Archived from the original on April 9, 2016. Retrieved October 23, 2015 – via HighBeam Research.
  13. ^ Grossman, Cathy Lynn (June 27, 1997). "An updated Boston-D.C. night train". USA Today. pp. 5D.
  14. ^ Riddell, Doug (October 1997). "The First Run of Amtrak's Twilight Shoreliner". RailNews. No. 407. pp. 12–13.