Amtrak Northeast Ridership, Challenges Way Up

amtraksignrongsaj 0 Amtrak Northeast Ridership, Challenges Way UpAmtrak’s Northeast ridership was up nearly 8 percent annually in July, following a national trend of increasing ridership on the passenger rail carrier. Amtrak is on pace to carry a record 28 million passengers nationwide in 2008, a jump from the previous record of 25.8 million set last year, according to this morning’s Wall Street Journal.

But the ridership jumps are straining a decidedly creaky infrastructure. From the Journal:

On a recent Wednesday afternoon train, travelers boarding at Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station toward Washington discovered passengers were already crammed together between cars. Crowding is also a problem on the higher-priced Acela Express service in the Northeast Corridor, which Amtrak launched in 2000.

"We’re literally beginning to bump up against some of the capacity limits on Acela," [Amtrak president and C.E.O. Alexander] Kummant said. "We have basically no equipment left to start new services."

In the Northeast Corridor alone, he said, it will take upwards of a decade and $3 billion to replace Amtrak’s rolling stock, including its 20 Acela train sets.

I traveled to Washington this week (by Amtrak, of course) to interview Mr. Kummant. That interview will be in next week’s print Observer.

Article continues below
More from Culture
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan and Josh McDermitt as Eugene Porter.
‘The Walking Dead’ Recap 7×11: Ballad of the Broken Men