Amtrak Handles Crowds for Presidential Inauguration

WASHINGTON — Amtrak trains have been carrying large crowds to and from Washington since Jan. 17, many of the passengers traveling for events associated with the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

The railroad estimated that more than 78,000 passengers will have used Amtrak for travel to and from the nation’s capital through Jan. 21, surpassing the same Martin Luther King holiday weekend last year by 63 percent.

“This has been a great opportunity for Amtrak to demonstrate its capabilities during a very historic and high-profile time,”
Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman said. “The choice of an Amtrak train for the ceremonial inaugural journey of the President and Vice President was a very nice prelude to the major events that followed.”

To handle the huge crowds, Amtrak added trains and coaches to existing trains, programming equipment maintenance to provide more passenger capacity at peak times. Amtrak train capacity to and from Washington on Inauguration Day itself, Jan. 20, increased by 50 percent, permitting the carriage of more than 20,000 passengers at Washington Union Station.

Amtrak marshaled scores of Amtrak police officers from around the country and deployed more than 100 management volunteers to guide and assist the crush of passengers who descended on Washington Union Station Jan. 20.

In all, 90 Amtrak trains served the nation’s capital on Inauguration Day, utilizing a special schedule that emphasized morning arrivals and later afternoon departures. On a normal Tuesday, Amtrak operates 82 trains to and from Washington. Of the 90 trains operated on Inauguration Day, 27 were sold out.