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Rail News: Amtrak

FY2013 ridership records set on some Amtrak routes in California

Amtrak California carried a record 3.9 million passengers on the Pacific Surfliner and San Joaquin rail lines in fiscal-year 2013, according to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).

The ridership increase is indicative of a trend in a state noted for its freeways: Californians are riding trains in record numbers, Caltrans officials said in a press release. During the past decade, ridership on the Pacific Surfliner, the nation's second-busiest rail corridor, and the San Joaquin, the fifth-busiest, increased by nearly 1 million passengers. Ticket revenue during that period rose from $44 million to $102 million.

"In California, a rail renaissance is under way," said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty.

Caltrans provides funding to the three intercity passenger-rail lines in California: the Surfliner, the San Joaquin and the Capitol Corridor, which registered a combined ridership of 5.6 million passengers in FY2013. The recently approved 2013 California State Rail Plan includes a proposal to add more trips to each of the routes.

However, ridership on the Capitol Corridor decreased 2.6 percent and revenue slipped 1.1 percent in FY2013, according to a report from David Kutrosky, the route’s managing director. Despite the drop, the Capitol Corridor remains the third-busiest route in the Amtrak system, he said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/25/2013