Amtrak: Piedmont and Carolinian Ridership Surges

WASHINGTON – North Carolina’s Amtrak corridor trains experienced record ridership gains in and posted double-digit ticket revenue increases Fiscal Year 2008. Collectively, the North Carolina state-supported Carolinian and Piedmont services carried 361,368 passengers and brought in more than $17 million in ticket revenue. Amtrak’s long-distance trains that travel through North Carolina also saw significant growth in FY08.

Nationwide, Amtrak ridership in Fiscal Year 2008 increased to 28,716,407, marking the sixth straight year of gains and setting a record for the most passengers using Amtrak trains since the National Railroad Passenger Corporation started operations in 1971. The fiscal year ended September 30, 2008.

Offering daily service between Charlotte and New York, the Carolinian increased ridership by 15.3 percent, totaling 295,427 passengers. Ticket revenue for the train reached more than $16 million, an 18.6 percent increase over last year.

The Piedmont, which operates daily between Raleigh and Charlotte, NC, carried a total of 65,941 passengers in FY08, which represents an unprecedented 30.4 percent increase. Ticket revenue also saw a significant increase of 29.8 percent, breaking the one million mark with $1,079,184.

Amtrak’s Atlantic Coast Service, much of which serves North Carolina stations, also experienced growth in ridership. Amtrak’s Silver Service, which operates daily between New York and Miami, increased ridership by 10.6 percent, carrying more than 685,000 passengers in FY08. In addition, the Crescent (New York – Atlanta – New Orleans) and the Palmetto (New York – Savannah) both increased by more than 10 percent.

To meet growing demand and ridership increases in the state, Gov. Mike Easley this past summer announced that two additional mid-day trains between Raleigh and Charlotte are planned for 2009.