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Rail News: Amtrak

Amtrak sets ridership record in FY2004


For the second-straight year, Amtrak posted record ridership. The national passenger railroad carried 25,053,564 passengers in fiscal year 2004, a 4.3 percent increase compared with FY2003’s previous record of 24,028,119.

Amtrak posted increases across the board on corridor and long-distance trains despite some setbacks, including Class I trackwork, and severe weather in Florida and the southeast that either suspended or reduced service. Train trips also declined during the Republican and Democratic national conventions.

Overall, ridership rose 4.4 percent on short-distance and 3.3 percent on long-distance trains during the fiscal year.

"The numbers show that people like their trains, and our challenge over the near term is to keep our costs under control while improving the service for our passengers," said Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer David Gunn in a prepared statement.

The Boston-to-New York-to-Washington, D.C., Acela Express posted an 8.7 percent ridership increase to more than 2.5 million passengers. Also on the Northeast Corridor, ridership to Springfield, Mass., and Richmond/Newport News, Va., rose 9.5 percent to more than 6.4 million passengers.

All three of Amtrak’s Michigan routes posted double-digit increases, as did the Heartland Flyer, Piedmont and Illini. In California, the San Diego-to-Santa Barbara Pacific Surfliner's and Oakland/San Jose Capitol Corridor's ridership rose 7.6 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively, compared with FY2003.

Amtrak’s Chicago-to-Seattle/Portland Empire Builder posted the highest ridership among long-distance trains at 437,191 passengers, a 5.2 percent increase compared with FY2003.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/18/2004