Amtrak National Facts
The name "Amtrak" is the blending of the words "America" and "track." It is properly used in documents with only the first letter capitalized. The railroad is also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corporation.
Basic Amtrak Facts
- During FY 2011 (Oct. 2010-Sept. 2011), Amtrak® welcomed aboard nearly 30.2 million passengers, the largest annual total in Amtrak's history, and the eighth annual ridership record in the last nine years. Every day, an average of more than 82,000 passengers ride more than 300 Amtrak trains.
- Amtrak operates a nationwide rail network, serving more than 500 destinations in 46 states and three Canadian provinces on more than 21,200 miles of routes, with more than 20,000 employees. It is the nation's only high speed intercity passenger rail provider, operating more than half of its trains at top speeds of 100mph (160kph) or greater.
- Amtrak is building the equipment, infrastructure and organization needed to sustain our growing ridership.
- We are investing in critical projects that will enhance the passenger experience, sustain the national passenger network, and provide much-needed capacity.
- Amtrak is taking steps to improve financial performance and accountability with new cost controls, efficiency improvements, and debt reduction measures that will combine with better service, record ridership, and resulting revenue increases to improve our bottom line.
- Amtrak plays an important role in the national transportation network, providing travelers with a safe, efficient and reliable alternative that will mitigate the effect of high gas prices and pervasive highway congestion.
- In FY 2011, Amtrak earned approximately $2.71 billion in revenue and incurred approximately $3.95 billion in expense. No country in the world operates a passenger rail system without some form of public support for capital costs and/or operating expenses.
- In 2010, the most recent year for which data for other railroads is available, Amtrak's farebox recovery (percentage of operating costs covered by revenues generated by passenger fares) was 79%, the highest reported for any U.S. passenger railroad.
- In 2011, an average of more than 831,000 people every weekday depended on commuter rail services that used Amtrak-owned infrastructure, dispatching, shared operations, or rode commuter trains operated or maintained by Amtrak under contracts with local or regional agencies.
- Amtrak's Northeast Corridor (NEC) is the busiest railroad in North America, with more than 2,200 trains operating over some portion of the Washington-Boston route each day. More than three quarters of a million riders use the NEC on every weekday, generating more than 4.9 million daily passenger miles.
- When included among U.S. airlines, Amtrak ranks among the top ten in domestic passengers carried. In the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak now has a very strong position in many markets that were previously dominated by air carriers.
- Amtrak carried more than three times as many riders between Washington and New York City as the airline industry.
- Amtrak carried more riders between New York and Boston than all of the airlines combined.
- The Boston-New York-Washington portion of the Northeast Corridor carried 10,899,889 passengers in FY 2011 on Acela Express, Northeast Regional Service or other trains. Five other corridors had ridership that topped one million or more:
- Pacific Surfliner service (San Diego-Los Angeles-San Luis Obispo, 2,786,972)
- Capitol Corridor service (San Jose-Oakland-Sacramento-Auburn, 1,708,618)
- Keystone Corridor service (Harrisburg-Philadelphia-New York City, 1,342,507)
- San Joaquin service (Oakland/Sacramento-Bakersfield, 977,834)
- Empire Service (New York-Albany-Niagara Falls, 1,023,698)
- Six other corridors had ridership in excess of a half-million passengers:
- Amtrak Cascades Service (Eugene-Portland-Seattle-Vancouver, B.C.): 852,269
- Hiawatha Service (Chicago-Milwaukee): 819,493
- Washington-Richmond-Newport News segment, Northeast Regional Service (Washington-Newport News): 557,528
- Lincoln Service (Chicago-St. Louis): 549,465
- Downeaster service (Boston-Portland): 519,668
- Wolverine (Chicago-Detroit-Pontiac): 503,290
The 25 busiest stations in 2011 were:
|New York, NY
|Los Angeles, CA
|Boston South Station, MA
|San Diego, CA
|New Haven, CT
|BWI Airport, MD
|Boston Back Bay, MA
|Boston North Station, MA
- Amtrak operates 15 long distance trains on a national network of routes ranging in length from 764 to 2,438 miles.
- These trains provide service at nearly half of the stations in the Amtrak system and are the only Amtrak trains in 23 of the 46 states in the network.
- They are the only intercity passenger transportation service in an increasing number of communities.
- Four of the fifteen long distance trains set annual ridership records in FY 2011.
- Amtrak-owned equipment includes Acela, Amfleet®, Superliner®, Viewliner® and other railroad passenger cars totaling 1,543 plus 484 locomotives, 80 Auto Train® vehicle carriers and 80 baggage cars. Orders have been placed for 130 new Long Distance Single Level cars and 70 electric locomotives.
- Amtrak-operated state-owned equipment includes 136 railroad passenger cars and 26 locomotives.
- Amtrak-owned property includes 363 miles of the 456-mile Northeast Corridor connecting Washington, Philadelphia, New York and Boston, the busiest passenger line in the country, with trains regularly reaching speeds of 125-150 mph/201-241 kph; a 60.5-mile track segment from New Haven, Conn., to Springfield, Mass.; 104 miles of up to 110 mph/177 kph track in Pennsylvania between Philadelphia and Harrisburg, the first new high-speed corridor in the 21st century; a 96-mile segment of 110 mph/177 kph track in Michigan and Indiana that uses the first high-speed positive train control system in revenue service outside the NEC. Amtrak is the only railroad in North America to maintain right of way for service at speeds in excess of 100 mph, and its engineering forces maintain more than 350 route-miles of track for 100+ mph service.
- In 2011, Amtrak and CSXT reached a tentative agreement for Amtrak to operate and maintain approximately 94 miles of the Empire Corridor in New York between Poughkeepsie, New York, and Hoffmans (near Schenectady). Also in 2011, an agreement in principle was reached between Norfolk Southern Railway and the State of Michigan for the purchase of 135 miles of right of way between Kalamazoo and Dearborn. Once purchased, this trackage will be improved for the state of Michigan as an integral part of our Michigan District and much of the line will be upgraded for service at speeds of up to 110mph/177kph.
- Amtrak has 17 tunnels consisting of 29.7 miles of track and 1,186 bridges consisting of 42.5 miles of track.
- Amtrak owns three heavy maintenance facilities in Wilmington and Bear, Del., and Beech Grove, Ind., as well as other maintenance facilities in Washington, D.C.; New York City, Rensselaer and Niagara Falls, N.Y.; Boston; Hialeah, FL; Chicago; New Orleans; Los Angeles; Oakland; and Seattle.
- Seventy-two percent of the miles traveled by Amtrak trains are on tracks owned by other railroads. Known as “host railroads,” they range from large publicly traded companies based in the U.S. or Canada, to state and local government agencies and small businesses. Amtrak pays these host railroads for use of their track and other resources required to operate Amtrak trains, with incentives for on-time dispatching. Those payments were for nearly 26 million train miles (one train mile = a mile of track usage by each train) in FY 2011 and totaled more than $124 million.
- The six largest host railroads for Amtrak trains are:
- BNSF Railway, 6.5 million train miles
- Union Pacific Railroad, 6.0 million train miles
- CSX Transportation, 5.9 million train miles
- Norfolk Southern Railway, 2.5 million train miles
- Canadian National Railway, 1.4 million train miles
- Metro North Railroad, 1.3 million train miles
Fifteen states contract with Amtrak for the operation of trains that supplement the national Amtrak network by extending the reach of passenger rail services or provide additional frequencies on Amtrak routes. State and regional agencies pay most of the operating costs of these services that are not covered by farebox revenues. Continued operation of these state-supported routes is subject to annual contracts and state legislative appropriations, along with Amtrak financial participation. In addition to operating funds, many of these states also provide funds for infrastructure or other capital improvements to Amtrak routes in their states. State supported corridor services carry nearly half of Amtrak's annual riders, and 20 of the total of 27 services set annual ridership records in FY 2011.
States that provide funding, and the routes on which some or all service is state-supported, are:
California: Capitol Corridor service (San Jose-Auburn), Pacific Surfliner service (San Luis Obispo-San Diego); and San Joaquin service (Bakersfield-Sacramento/Oakland, plus an extensive system of connecting Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach routes
Illinois: Hiawatha Service (Chicago-Milwaukee), Lincoln Service (Chicago-St. Louis), Illini & Saluki (Chicago-Carbondale) and Illinois Zephyr & Carl Sandburg (Chicago-Quincy)
Maine: Downeaster (Portland-Boston)
Michigan: Blue Water (Port Huron-East Lansing-Chicago) and Pere Marquette (Grand Rapids-Chicago)
Missouri: Missouri River Runner (Kansas City-St. Louis)
New York: Adirondack (New York City-Montreal, QC.)
North Carolina: Carolinian (Charlotte-New York City) and Piedmont (Raleigh-Charlotte)
Oklahoma: Heartland Flyer (Oklahoma City-Fort Worth)
Oregon: Amtrak Cascades service (Eugene-Portland-Seattle-Vancouver, B.C.)
Pennsylvania: Keystone Service (Harrisburg-Philadelphia-New York City)
Texas: Heartland Flyer (Fort Worth-Oklahoma City)
Vermont: Ethan Allen Express (Rutland-New York City) and Vermonter (St. Albans-Washington)
Virginia: Extended Northeast Regional service to Lynchburg and some of the Northeast Regional services to Richmond. New service to Norfolk is expected to start in December, 2012.
Washington: Amtrak Cascades service (Vancouver, B.C.-Seattle-Portland-Eugene)
Wisconsin: Hiawatha Service (Milwaukee-Chicago)
Contract Commuter Service
Amtrak operates more contract commuter services than any other company; currently, Amtrak provides either services and/or access for 13 commuter agencies.
- Amtrak currently provides commuter service for the following state and regional authorities:
- MARC (Maryland Area Regional Commuter)
- Shore Line East (Connecticut)
- Metrolink (California)
- Amtrak provides services of various types for three other agencies:
- Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (Maintenance of way and dispatching)
- Sound Transit (Seattle - Maintenance of equipment)
- South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (Tri-Rail - dispatching)
- Amtrak provides access (and in some cases, other services) for seven other agencies:
- Long Island Railroad
- New Jersey Transit
- SEPTA (Philadelphia area)
- Metra (Chicago area)
- DELDOT (operated by SEPTA)
- RIDOT (operated by MBTA)
- Virginia Railway Express
Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia make payments to Amtrak through transit agencies or state transportation departments for use of the Amtrak-owned Northeast Corridor facilities by commuter trains. These agencies or states also provide other funding on the Northeast Corridor, including capital funds for infrastructure and/or stations. Amtrak has agreements for access and/or maintenance where Amtrak trains operate over locally-owned portions of the Northeast Corridor in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York.
Historical Background on Amtrak
- Amtrak was created by Congress in 1970 to take over the passenger rail services previously required to be operated by private railroad companies in the United States. Those companies showed they had operated services at a net loss of millions of dollars for many years.
- Amtrak is a Federally-chartered corporation, with the Federal government as majority stockholder. The Board is appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, and Amtrak is operated as a for-profit company, rather than a public authority.
- More than half of the rail passenger routes operated by the freight railroad companies were eliminated when Amtrak began service on May 1, 1971.
- The name Acela comes from a combination of the words acceleration and excellence. Acela Express is the company's premium service, and it has just celebrated its tenth anniversary. More than 28 million passengers have traveled on the fleet of 20 Acela Express trains since revenue service began on December 11, 2000.
- The Acela Express is the fastest train in the Western Hemisphere, with a normal maximum speed of 150 mph/241 kph on a 35-mile portion of its route between Boston and New Haven. Otherwise, its top speed is generally 135 mph/217 kph between Boston and Washington, DC. Acela trains carried more than 3.3 million passengers and generated more than $491 million in ticket revenue in FY 2011.
- Trains that carry nearly 75 percent of all Amtrak passengers across the country now have Wi-Fi connections. Wi-Fi service is already available on high-speed Acela Express trains and 12 other East Coast routes as well as on the Amtrak Cascades service in the Pacific Northwest.
- Amtrak is in the process of implementing eTicketing, with a systemwide rollout scheduled for 2012. With the introduction of this new eTicketing capability for customers, Amtrak has also garnered industry recognition by earning a spot on the 2011 InformationWeek 500 list of top technology innovators across America. This prestigious award recognizes Amtrak's innovative use of this mobile technology and how it enhances the customer's travel experience and ability for Amtrak employees to deliver a higher level of safety and customer service.
- The Auto Train, which travels between Lorton, VA, and Sanford, FL, is the longest passenger train in the world, with two engines and 40-plus passenger rail cars and vehicle carriers. At 1,480 feet, the boarding platform at Amtrak's Auto Train station in Lorton, Virginia is longer than the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) in Chicago is tall.
- The Amtrak Empire Builder operates daily between Chicago and Seattle/Portland and was named for James J. Hill, the builder of the Great Northern Railway. The Great Northern is a predecessor of the BNSF Railway, over which the train operates between St. Paul and the West Coast.
- The New York-Chicago Amtrak Cardinal is named for the state bird of each state of the train's route from Virginia to Illinois.
- Amtrak has operated state-supported trains since 1971, which were originally called "403b trains" in a reference to a provision in the Rail Passenger Services Act, the law that created the National Rail Passenger Corporation (Amtrak). The Illinois Zephyr began operating November 14, 1971, that year between Chicago and Quincy, IL, and has been the longest continuously operated state-supported train.
- Since the beginning, even-numbered trains have traveled north and east. Odd-numbered trains travel south and west. Among the exceptions are Amtrak's Pacific Surfliners, which use the opposite numbering system inherited from the Santa Fe Railway, some Empire Service trains and the Downeaster Service trains between Portland, Maine, and Boston.
- Amtrak is also available on the Web, and for more information, you can visit our Facebook, YouTube and Twitter sites.