November is Good to Amtrak

WASHINGTON — Amtrak ended the busiest November in its 32-year history with a ridership total of 2,076,054, up 11.7 percent over last year’s total of 1,858,345.

All 16 long-distance trains posted double-digit gains and, collectively, posted a 32 percent surge in ridership. The most impressive gains were realized on the Capitol Limited (Chicago – Pittsburgh – Washington), up 54 percent; the Sunset Limited (Orlando – New Orleans – San Antonio – Los Angeles), up 50 percent; and the Cardinal (Chicago – Indianapolis – New York), up 51 percent due to a route extension from Washington to New York City. Regional trains in the Northeast, which account more than 25 percent of Amtrak ridership, posted a 15 percent gain over last November.

During the seven-day Thanksgiving travel period (Tuesday, Nov. 25 – Monday, Dec. 1), approximately 595,000 passengers stepped aboard Amtrak trains, making it the busiest week in Amtrak history. Thanksgiving ridership was up nine percent over last year and up five percent over the previous Thanksgiving record set in 2000 when ridership was 566,759.

The increases were attributed to an improving travel market and to Amtrak’s "back-to-basics" approach to running the railroad. Among the recent initiatives under the back-to-basics approach are a new advertising campaign coupled with fare rollbacks, incentives for online booking, and a commitment to upgrading equipment and infrastructure to improve reliability.

As it has in past years, Amtrak took extraordinary steps to meet the increased travel demand around Thanksgiving: A total of 60,000 seats and 77 trains were added nationwide. In the Northeast, Amtrak operated on a special Thanksgiving schedule that provided more frequent service and required reservations to ensure that virtually every passenger had a comfortable seat. On the West Coast, Amtrak added eight trains to Cascades service between Portland and Seattle and went to “all-reserved” status to minimize standing-room conditions on the Pacific Surfliners between San Diego and Los Angeles.

Amtrak prepares for busy December

While Thanksgiving is traditionally the busiest travel period for Amtrak, there are some busy days ahead in December. As a result, Amtrak is reminding passengers to make reservations as early as possible. Passengers are encouraged to “take the fastest route to a ticket” by booking their travel online at www.amtrak.com, then picking up their ticket at an automated Quik-Trak kiosk at the station (where available). This process enables passengers to bypass any long station ticket lines during the holiday season.

As is the case year-round, passengers must present a valid, government-issued photo ID whenever purchasing tickets from an Amtrak agent or checking baggage. Carry-on items are limited to two pieces, not including purses, briefcases, laptops or other personal items.

November FY04

Ridership    
Short Distance

FY04

FY03

% Change vs. FY03

1/2 – Acela/Metroliner

262,997

239,011

+10.0

3 – Ethan Allen

9,044

8,840

+2.3

4 – Vermonter

23,196

23,435

-1.0

5 – Regional

559,337

487,232

+14.8

9 – Downeaster

21,275

19,501

+9.1

13 – Clocker

147,204

159,970

-8.0

14 – Keystone

75,814

74,566

+1.7

15 – Empire

91,657

86,206

+6.3

20 – Chicago-St. Louis

17,101

13,639

+25.4

21 – Hiawatha

38,443

33,380

+15.2

22 – Wolverine

29,952

22,294

+34.4

23 – Illini

9,592

8,428

+13.8

24 – Illinois Zephyr

9,192

7,806

+17.8

29 – Heartland Flyer

3,642

2,980

+22.2

35 – Pacific Surfliner

176,572

161,684

+9.2

36 – Cascades

48,391

47,862

+1.1

37 – Capitols

93,409

92,765

+0.7

39 – San Joaquins

61,386

58,673

+4.6

40 – Adirondack

9,692

9,729

-0.4

41 – International

7,325

6,055

+21.0

54 – Hoosier State

1,350

1,070

+26.2

56 – Kansas City-St. Louis

9,763

8,858

+10.2

57 – Pennsylvanian

13,769

5,547

+148.2

65 – Pere Marquette

6,994

5,607

+24.7

66 – Carolinian

23,834

24,164

-1.4

67 – Piedmont

4,343

3,441

+26.2

96/99 – Special Trains 

4,415

5,966

-26.0

Short Distance Total

1,759,689

1,618,709

+8.7

Long Distance

 

 

 

16 – Silver Star

23,508

15,811

+48.7

17 – Three Rivers

12,085

8,239

+46.7

18 – Cardinal

7,337

4,866

+50.8

19 – Silver Meteor

24,455

18,461

+32.5

25 – Empire Builder

33,574

23,700

+41.7

26 – Capitol Ltd.

13,722

8,901

+54.2

27 – California Zephyr

25,797

19,189

+34.4

28 – Southwest Chief

21,249

15,159

+40.2

30 – City of New Orleans

15,603

13,024

+19.8

32 – Texas Eagle

19,064

13,135

+45.1

33 – Sunset Ltd.

8,589

5,725

+50.0

34 – Coast Starlight

36,084

31,907

+13.1

45 – Lake Shore Ltd.

21,882

16,830

+30.0

48 – Palmetto

17,792

13,195

+34.8

52 – Crescent

21,148

18,475

+14.5

63 – Auto Train

14,476

13,019

+11.2

Long Distance Total

316,365

239,636

+32.0

Amtrak Total

2,076,054

1,858,345

+11.7