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2017 Presidential Inauguration and Activities

Traveling with Amtrak to the 2017 Presidential Inaguration

January 20 Inauguration Day Travel To and From Washington, DC

The presidential inauguration and surrounding events and activities are expected to bring large crowds to Washington, DC, and Amtrak is working with local, state and federal officials to ensure a safe and memorable experience for all customers. Before heading to or through Washington - Union Station, here are a few tips to keep in mind as you head out the door:

  • All Amtrak trains in the Northeast require reservations prior to boarding. Customers are advised to book as early as possible to ensure availability. Customers can purchase train tickets here at, via Amtrak mobile apps or by calling 1-800-USA-RAIL.
  • Amtrak Multi-Ride tickets will be honored for travel to the Washington area on January 20, except for trains where Multi-Ride tickets are normally restricted.
  • Customers are encouraged to allow additional time to arrive at the station before departure.
  • Don't chance missing your train home: due to increased ticket demand, customers are encouraged to pick up roundtrip tickets (departure and return tickets) before boarding the train for Washington.
  • Due to larger crowds and additional security related to inauguration events, access to the station may be limited to select points of entry on January 17 - 19. Follow special signage to reach boarding gates for Amtrak trains, Metro, MARC, VRE and the bus deck/garage.
  • Special pedestrian traffic patterns in and around Washington - Union Station will be in effect. Please follow the instructions of station and law enforcement personnel while boarding, detraining, and exiting and entering Washington - Union Station.
  • Restroom facilities in the station are limited and will be extremely crowded, so consider using the restroom before returning to the station for your return trip. Portable facilities will be available outside the station for public use.
  • On Friday, January 20 - Sunday, January 22, the station's food court and most retail shops are open throughout the day. The food court is located in the lower level of the station, along with limited bathrooms. Food service will also be available aboard inbound and outbound Amtrak trains. Due to a special event, access to the food court will be limited Thursday, January 19.
  • Pack lightly, as lockers and storage facilities may fill up quickly and space may be limited during this time.
  • Tag your bag and keep it close. Due to increased crowding, it will be challenging for Amtrak personnel to respond to calls related to lost items.
  • In the event of a service disruption, it may take additional time to provide alternate transportation or accommodations due to the larger crowds.
  • Amtrak Ambassadors wearing high-visibility vests will be on-hand to assist you and answer any questions at Washington Union Station and several other Northeast Corridor stations.

Access to Washington Union Station

During inauguration week, January 17 - 22, be prepared for several modifications that will limit public access to Washington Union Station. Amtrak operations will continue as normal but please follow special signage to access boarding gates for Amtrak, commuter, transit services and the garage/bus deck.


The main entrance and main hall of Union Station will close beginning at 10 pm.


The main entrance to Union Station will be closed.


The main entrance to Union Station will be closed. The majority of vendors, including food court on the lower level of the station and mezzanine will be closed at 2 pm.

The only three available public entrances January 17 - 19 will be on the west side of the station:

  • The West Portico entrance on 40 Massachusetts Avenue near the outdoor bike racks.
  • The First Street Metro entrance on the west side of the station.
  • The H Street entrance to the station through the parking garage.

Follow special signage and the instructions of station personnel and law enforcement for exiting and entering the station.


The main entrance, and all other entrances, to Union Station will be open to the public.

Prohibited Items

A list of items prohibited from the inaugural event sites and locations is available on the District of Columbia inaugural website.


Heightened front-line and behind-the-scenes security measures will be in stations and aboard trains, and may include:

  • Amtrak Police Officers, along with local, state and federal law enforcement partners who will be enhancing patrols.
  • Additional K-9 units (please do not approach or attempt to pet police dogs).
  • Increased identification checks.
  • Passenger, and carry-on and checked baggage screening.

If you see something, say something. Report any suspicious activity or unattended items to an Amtrak employee or member of the Amtrak Police Department at 1-800-331-0008, by calling 911, or by sending a text to APD11 from a smartphone, or to 27311 from a standard cell phone.

Intermodal Updates

Supplementing Amtrak service in the Washington, DC, area will be commuter rail service in Maryland and Virginia.


Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) will open at 4 am and close at midnight on Inauguration Day. There will be 17 consecutive hours of rush-hour service from 4 am until 9 pm. Peak fares will be in effect during this time. Metrobus service will also experience changes on Inauguration day. Get more information on Metro inauguration day service.


MARC Penn Line service between Baltimore and Washington, and Brunswick Line between Brunswick, MD, and Washington, DC, will operate on a limited schedule on Inauguration Day, Friday, January 20. All seating will be unreserved, available on a first-come, first-served basis. MARC will honor both their regular tickets and special commemorative inaugural tickets that be sold by Commuter Direct. On Saturday and Sunday, January 21 and 22, MARC will operate on its regular weekend schedule. MARC will continue to closely monitor the needs of its customers and adjust its operating plan as needed. Get more information on MARC inauguration service.


Virginia Railway Express (VRE) trains, which operate between Fredericksburg/Manassas, VA, and Washington, DC, will operate on an “S Schedule,” which will offer reduced service from the normal operating schedule. Only trains with an “S” above the train number on the schedule will operate. Get more information on VRE inauguration service.


Stations within the security perimeter will be shut down for the evening beginning after 12 pm on January 18. This includes stations near the Capitol, National Mall, the White House and along the inaugural Parade route on Pennsylvania Avenue, NW from the Capitol to the White House. Find a complete list of stations affected by the security perimeter, Corral Service, as well as other important information on the Capital Bikeshare website.

Additional Resources

These sites contain helpful links and other important information regarding Inaugural events and activities:

Information will be also available prior to and during Inauguration Day on various social media sites. Some of the Twitter handles used to communicate information from inaugural partners include:

  • Amtrak: @Amtrak
  • President-Elect Trump Inauguration Committee: @TrumpInaugural
  • U.S. Secret Service: @SecretService
  • Office of the D.C. Mayor: @MayorBowser
  • District of Columbia Police Department: @DCPoliceDept
  • District Department of Transportation: @DDOTDC
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security: @DHSgov 
  • Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies: @JCCIC