Report Shows Ridership Impact of May 12 Amtrak Wreck

Member Robert Sumwalt on the scene of the Amtrak Train #188 Derailment in Philadelphia.
Member Robert Sumwalt on the scene of the Amtrak Train #188 Derailment in Philadelphia. (NTSB Photo)

The May 12 Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia hurt ticket sales and revenue for the passenger railroad, according to a new ridership report.

According to Amtrak’s numbers, ridership on Acela and Northeast Regional trains in May was 13 percent below last year and 16 percent below budget. At the same time, Northeast Corridor ticket revenues were 17 percent below last year and 19 percent below budget.

Eight people were killed and more than 200 injured when Amtrak train No. 188, a Washington-to-New York Northeast Regional train, derailed in the Port Richmond neighborhood of Philadelphia. An investigation revealed the train was traveling at 102 mph when it derailed in a curve where the speed limit is 50 mph.

No Amtrak trains operated between New York and Philadelphia from May 13 until May 17, and full service on the Northeast Corridor returned May 18. SEPTA Regional Rail and NJ Transit also suspended some services as a result of the crash.

Before the derailment, Acela ridership for May roughly 5 percent below last year, while Northeast Regional ridership was about 5 percent above last year’s levels. According to Amtrak, Acela demand returned to pre-crash levels by May 23, while Northeast Regional trains saw its demand return by May 27.

Elsewhere in the Amtrak network, May ridership on the railroad’s long distance trains was 4 percent below a year ago while revenues were 5 percent below last year. Just four of the 15 long-distance trains — including California Zephyr, Southwest Chief, Sunset Limited, and Auto Train — experienced ridership levels above last year.

Todd DeFeo
About Todd DeFeo 235 Articles
Todd DeFeo loves to travel anywhere, anytime, taking pictures and notes. An award-winning reporter, Todd revels in the experience and the fact that every place has a story to tell. He is owner of The DeFeo Groupe and also edits Express Telegraph and The Travel Trolley.