Amtrak Sets New Thanksgiving Ridership Record

WASHINGTON – The numbers are in and Amtrak had a record-breaking Thanksgiving holiday travel week carrying 704,446 passengers, up 2.7 percent over last year.

In addition, 134,230 passengers rode Amtrak on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving – itself a new record for the single busiest day in the history of the railroad.

“The record ridership demonstrates Amtrak’s ability to satisfy the traveling needs of the public and highlights the need for America to invest more in passenger rail to meet the increasing demand,” said President and CEO Joseph Boardman.

Comparing Thanksgiving 2010 to Thanksgiving 2009, ridership was up 5.1 percent on state-supported trains and other short distance corridors with strong growth in Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia and Washington. The long-distance trains saw a 3.7 percent increase and on the Northeast Corridor, the high-speed Acela Express trains had a 12.9 percent increase, however, ridership on the entire corridor dropped slightly.

In preparation for the anticipated heavy passenger volume, Amtrak operated every available passenger car in its fleet and scheduled extra trains and/or added capacity to existing trains in the Northeast Corridor, the Chicago hub, in the Pacific Northwest and in California.

The previous Thanksgiving ridership record was set in 2009 with 685,876 passengers.