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Rail News: Amtrak

Amtrak ramped up ridership, set records in first-half FY2013 despite Hurricane Sandy

Amtrak boosted ridership 0.9 percent in the first half of fiscal-year 2013 and set a passenger-count record in March, Amtrak officials announced today.

In addition, the national intercity passenger railroad set monthly ridership records in October, December and January during the fiscal year's first half, which ran from October through March.

The railroad increased ridership despite service disruptions caused by Hurricane Sandy in late October. In all, 26 of 45 routes posted ridership gains during the fiscal year's first half.

The Northeast Corridor's ridership — reflecting a "significant hit" from Sandy — declined 1.2 percent. Nevertheless, the corridor is "seeing a solid recovery" and is predicted to post ridership gains for the full fiscal year, Amtrak officials said.

Ridership on state-supported and other short-distance routes climbed 2.7 percent, while long-distance ridership rose 0.5 percent.

The railroad expects to end its fiscal year at or above last year's annual record of 31.2 million riders, Amtrak officials said in a prepared statement.

"The continued ridership growth on routes across the country reinforces the need for dedicated, multi-year federal operating capital funding to support existing intercity passenger rail services and the development of new ones," said President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Boardman.

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