RAIL: Amtrak, amidst rough financial status, opens $7 million lounge in Chicago

June 29, 2016

The “Metropolitan Lounge” will ease the woes of premium customers only

This week, Amtrak cut the ribbon on a new, exclusive “Metropolitan Lounge” in Chicago’s Union Station. The $7 million comfort zone is intended (and reserved for) riders traveling in sleeping cars or in business class, as well as those in the top two tiers of Amtrak's Guest Rewards program only.

The 13,500-sq-ft lounge, which is located just off the station’s famous Great Hall, doubles the footprint of the area it replaced, according to an Amtrak press release; it now boasts seating for 360 people.

Free snacks and beverages, along with complimentary Wi-Fi access, are available to its upper echelon patrons—not to mention shower facilities.

“Not only does this project greatly improve the Amtrak experience for these customers, it also clears the way for changes at the Concourse Level that will improve those boarding areas,” said Amtrak senior vice president and general manager Mark Murphy.

Amtrak’s ridership is growing, despite the face that it has been facing excessive financial troubles in recent months. It carries debt in excess of $3 billion and lost more than $900 million last year alone.

There is now a small ray of light, however. As many as 360 riders won’t know the difference.