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Rail News: Amtrak

Amtrak still running despite government shutdown; reaches agreement with North Carolina DOT


Amtrak is among the federal services still in operation despite the inability of Congress to agree on federal budget legislation by midnight, which resulted in a "government shutdown" effective today.

Amtrak will continue normal operation of its national intercity and high-speed passenger-rail network in the event of a short-term federal government shutdown, Amtrak officials announced late last night.

"Passengers planning to travel on Amtrak trains in the Northeast Corridor and across the country in the coming days and weeks can be assured that Amtrak will remain open for business," they said.

Meanwhile, Amtrak and the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) announced yesterday they've agreed  to continue operating the state-supported Piedmont and Carolinian trains under a new contract as required by federal law.

The agreement is part of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008, which requires Amtrak to work with 19 affected states in the state-supported Amtrak program to establish a cost-sharing program to fund 28 corridor routes of less than 750 miles to "ensure the fair treatment of all states," according to an NCDOT press release.

The Piedmont, which operates two daily round trips between Raleigh and Charlotte, led all Amtrak routes in ridership growth over the past two federal fiscal years. In July, ridership increased 2.4 percent compared with July 2012. The Carolinian, which operates one daily round trip between New York City and Charlotte, posted a 3.9 percent increase in ridership in July compared with a year ago.

With North Carolina's announcement, Amtrak has agreements with 12 of the 19 impacted states.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/1/2013