ATLANTA — Amtrak’s current station in Atlanta is hindering the railroad’s ability to improve the performance of the one passenger train that serves the city, the railroad said in a recent report.
“The most significant impediment to improving financial performance, ridership and customer satisfaction on the Crescent route is the limitations of Amtrak’s current Brookwood Station in Atlanta,” the railroad said in the report.
The station is “woefully inadequate to meet the needs of Amtrak’s passengers and operations in our nation’s ninth largest metropolitan area,” the report noted. More than 112,000 passengers passed through the station during fiscal year 2010, an average of more than 305 per day.
According to Amtrak, “Atlanta represents the highest ridership of all station stops on the Crescent,” and more than 40 percent of the train’s ticket revenue comes from passengers who begin or end their trip in Atlanta. But, the railroad admits, “the passenger rail facilities in Atlanta do not reflect the stop’s significance.”
The former Southern Railway built the current Amtrak station, which opened in 1918. However, the station was not built to serve as the city’s primary passenger railroad station, a role it has fulfilled since the city’s terminal station closed in 1970.
State and federal officials are exploring options for a new passenger station. However, the source of the needed funding is unclear. Officials have thrown out a number of possible locations for a station, including Five Points and Atlantic Station.
Since a new passenger station in Atlanta appears to be out of the question for now, Amtrak is considering running shorter versions of the Crescent passenger train between Atlanta and New Orleans to save money because of lower ridership numbers on that section of the route, the railroad indicated.
Amtrak is also looking into adding bus routes to cities located near, but not along, the Crescent route, which the railroad believes will increase “ridership and revenue while expanding the reach of the intercity passenger rail network,” the railroad said in the report.
The Crescent runs daily between New York and New Orleans via Atlanta. Amtrak has operated the train since 1979, when Southern gave up the route.