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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Amtrak posts double-digit ridership growth on Illinois, Acela Express trains


Through fiscal-year 2007’s first four months, Amtrak carried 8.2 million passengers system-wide, up 4 percent compared with the same period last year.

Between October 2006 and January 2007, Acela Express ridership totaled more than 1 million, an increase of nearly 20 percent compared with the same FY2006 period.

“We have worked hard to improve the onboard experience and reliability of the Acela Express trains,” said Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer Alexander Kummant in a prepared statement.

On-time performance increased to more than 88 percent for the October-through-January period. Amtrak has taken over maintenance responsibility for the trains and recently completed track and signal upgrades along the Northeast Corridor.

In Illinois, Amtrak ridership rose significantly due to state-sponsored service that was added at the beginning of FY2007. The state of Illinois and Amtrak added four trains between Chicago and St. Louis, and two trains each between Chicago and Carbondale, and Chicago and Galesburg.

Ridership between Chicago and St. Louis rose 29 percent to 13,882; Chicago and Carbondale, 35 percent to 81,285; and Chicago and Galesburg, 25 percent to 59,124.

Meanwhile, Amtrak’s five-year-old Downeaster service between Portland, Maine, and Boston continues to grow. For the four months ending Jan. 30, almost 110,000 passengers used the service, a more than 4 percent increase.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/28/2007