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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Amtrak marked record ridership during Thanksgiving holiday, preliminary figures show


Amtrak served about 720,000 riders during the Thanksgiving holiday travel week of Nov. 22-28 — a new ridership record for the period, Amtrak officials said in a prepared statement.

Preliminary figures indicate ridership on the national intercity passenger railroad grew 2.2 percent during the period compared with a year ago, when 704,446 riders used Amtrak to travel to their holiday destinations.

Amtrak “exceeded expectations” due in part to increased capacity and the recent introduction of free Wi-Fi service on several Amtrak routes, said Emmett Fremaux, Amtrak vice president of marketing and product management.

In preparation for the anticipated heavy volume, Amtrak operated every available car in its fleet and scheduled extra trains to accommodate additional riders in the Northeast and on the West Coast. The fleet was slightly expanded this year due to rehabilitated and refurbished cars and locomotives, Amtrak officials said.

Thanksgiving travelers also helped set a holiday ridership record on the Capitol Corridor, officials said. From Nov. 21-27, about 33,515 riders used the service, a 10 percent increase over the 2010 Thanksgiving holiday period and the highest Thanksgiving ridership in the Capitol Corridor’s history, they said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/1/2011