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Rail News: Amtrak

Capitol Corridor ridership, revenue fell in February

Capitol Corridor posted mixed performance results for February, with ridership and revenue down compared with February 2012, but on-time performance up to 97 percent, the best in the Amtrak system.

Ridership dropped 8.2 percent while revenue declined 2.7 percent in February, Capitol Corridor Managing Director David Kutrosky said in a prepared statement.

Half of the ridership loss was primarily due to February 2013 having one less day than February 2012, which occurred in a leap year. In addition, about 70 percent of the loss is attributed to performance at three stations: Sacramento, down 12 percent; Davis, down 11 percent; and Richmond, down 15 percent.

Moreover, some midday trains are under performing compared with year-ago levels. Capitol Corridor officials are considering targeted marketing techniques to increase ridership on those trains, as well as working with Amtrak to reallocate poorer performing trains to more attractive ridership times to optimize revenue and reduce operating costs, Kutrosky said.

Since early January, Capitol Corridor staff have been working with Amtrak and other agency officials to reduce delays from locomotives and bridge lifts at the Suisun-Martinez crossing over the Carquinez Strait. As a result, there were no train cancellations/annulments in February, Kutrosky said. Mechanical delay minutes dropped 67 percent in February compared with December 2012, when service disruptions were at a pinnacle, he said, adding that bridge delay minutes also dropped significantly.

Furthermore, delays related to the host railroad, Union Pacific Railroad, continued to decline. UP delay minutes per 10,0000 train-miles were 460 in January, the latest month for which results are available, the third-lowest level since October 2009 when the Federal Railroad Administration required the delay reporting, said Kutrosky.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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