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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

National intercity passenger railroad registers FY06 ridership, revenue gains


Amtrak’s streak of record-breaking years now stands at four. In FY2006, the national intercity passenger railroad’s ridership and ticket revenue exceeded FY2005’s figures and FY2006 projections, according to the October issue of employee newsletter “Amtrak Ink.”

During the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, Amtrak carried 24.3 million passengers, up 1.3 percent compared with FY2005’s adjusted figure of 24 million and 3 percent compared with the FY2006 projection. Amtrak adjusted FY2005 ridership from a record 25.4 million to reflect an October 2005 agreement to transfer operations of its “Clocker” service to New Jersey Transit.

“We wanted to compare apples to apples,” says Amtrak spokesperson Karina Romero.

Also in FY2006, the railroad posted its highest-ever ticket revenue at $1.37 billion — $132 million more than FY2005 and $28 million higher than Amtrak’s projection.

Short-corridor and state-supported routes increased ridership 6 percent and boosted ticket revenue 8 percent compared with budgeted figures. However, ridership on long-distance routes was 2 percent lower than projected. The Silver Star, California Zephyr, Coast Starlight and Sunset Limited posted ridership and revenue losses compared with budgeted figures, while the Empire Builder and Lake Shore Limited exceeded projections.

In the Northeast Corridor, ridership and revenue on regional trains rose 3 percent and 9 percent, respectively, compared with projections. The Acela Express carried 2 percent more passengers than expected, but ticket revenue dropped 6 percent.

Angela Cotey

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/17/2006