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Rail News: Amtrak

Amtrak posts record ridership, ticket revenue rise in FY08


For the sixth-straight year, Amtrak posted record annual ridership. In fiscal-year 2008, the national intercity passenger railroad carried 28.7 million, up 11.1 percent compared with FY2007's total. For the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, Amtrak also recorded $1.7 billion in ticket revenue, up 14.2 percent year over year.

In the East, Acela Express ridership rose 6.5 percent to 3.3 million and ticket revenue jumped 16 percent to $468 million. The Regional Service — which was re-launched halfway through the year as the Northeast Regional — boosted ridership 9.5 percent to 7.5 million passengers and increased ticket revenue 13.4 percent to $481.6 million. The Harrisburg, Pa.-Philadelphia-New York City Keystone service carried 1.2 million passengers, up 19.8 percent, and generated $24.7 million in ticket revenue, up 20 percent. The Empire Service, which runs between New York City, Albany and other upstate New York destinations, served 994,293 passengers, up 4 percent, and recorded $41 million in revenue, up 6.5 percent. Finally, ridership on the Portland, Maine-to-Boston Downeaster skyrocketed 31 percent to 474,492 and revenue shot up 36.7 percent to $5.8 million.

In the Midwest, ridership on the Chicago-to-Milwaukee Hiawatha Service rose 26 percent to 750,000. State-supported routes in Illinois posted ridership growth, too. The Chicago-to-St. Louis Lincoln Service carried 543,642 passengers, up 14 percent; the Illini and Saluki routes, which serve Carbondale, carried 304,435 passengers, up 15 percent; and the Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg trains that serve Quincy carried 231,701 riders, up 19 percent. Ridership on two daily Missouri Department of Transportation-sponsored round-trip trains between Kansas City and St. Louis skyrocketed 30 percent, while ridership on the Fort Worth, Texas-to-Oklahoma City, Okla., Heartland Flyer increased 18.5 percent.

In the West, ridership and revenue continued to grow on California's three state-supported routes. The San Diego-to-San Luis Obispo Pacific Surfliners carried 2.9 million riders, up 7 percent, and generated ticket revenue of $51 million, up 9 percent; the Oakland-Sacramento-Bakersfield San Joaquins service recorded 949,611 passengers, up 18 percent, while ticket revenue rose 21.6 percent to $2.9 million; and the Auburn-to-San Jose Capitol Corridor carried 1.7 million passengers and posted $22 million in ticket revenue, up 16.8 percent and 23 percent, respectively. Amtrak Cascades service between Eugene, Ore., and Vancouver, British Columbia, posted ridership of 760,323, up 12 percent, and revenue of $20 million, up 15 percent.

Amtrak noted growth on its national routes, as well. Ridership on the Chicago-St. Paul-Seattle/Portland Empire Builder increased 9.8 percent to 554,000, and Chicago-to-San Antonio Texas Eagle, 15.2 percent to 251,518. Ridership on the Miami-to-New York City Silver Star and Silver Meteor grew 11.5 percent to 367,139 and 9.6 percent to 319,773, respectively. Washington, D.C.-to-Chicago Capitol Limited ridership rose 17 percent, and the New York-to-Savannah, Ga., Palmetto and New York-to-New Orleans Crescent services both posted ridership increases of more than 10 percent.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/13/2008