Amtrak: 50 Years of Leading the Way
For 50 years, Amtrak has made passenger rail service accessible to communities all across America—both large and small. Take a look at our five decades of investments in innovation, safety, service, sustainability and to the communities we serve. Then see what we are doing to fulfill our commitment to safe, reliable and state-of-the-art rail service in the 21st century.
1970s - Amtrak ushers in a new era of passenger rail travel in the United States.
The first Amtrak train rolls out of New York en route to Philadelphia on May 1. The new company, which served 43 states and the District of Columbia, represents the consolidation of 20 private passenger railroads into one national rail network.
Amtrak opens its first brand new station building, the River Road Station in Cincinnati.
Amtrak introduces international service to the Canadian cities of Vancouver and Montreal.
Amtrak regional reservation centers across the U.S. provide 24-hour nationwide toll-free reservations, ticketing, and general information via the Amtrak Automated Reservation and Ticketing System (ARTS). ARTS, a new computerized system, eliminated the need to hand-write ticket reservations.
The Inter-American debuts between Forth Worth and Laredo, where customers can cross the border to access the Mexican railway system. The service extended to St. Louis and Chicago, then shortened to Chicago-San Antonio. The train gained a new name, the Eagle, and through cars to Los Angeles via the Sunset Limited and is now known as the Texas Eagle.
Amtrak makes it easier for customers to leave their cars at home by creating Greyhound bus-to-rail connections for cities not served directly by rail service.
Amtrak adds two new routes. The San Joaquin runs between San Francisco/Oakland and Bakersfield through the San Joaquin Valley, and with funding from Michigan, the Blue Water provides service between Chicago and Port Huron.
Amtrak makes a $313 million investment in 235 state-of-the-art bi-level Pullman-Standard Company Superliner cars for long distance trains. The order includes coaches, sleeping, dining, café/lounge cars.
With the purchase of the Beech Grove, Ind., heavy maintenance facility from Penn Central, Amtrak brings heavy overhauls of its equipment in-house.
Amtrak becomes the first national company to offer reservations service to passengers with hearing disabilities.
Amtrak debuts the Palmetto route between New York City and Savannah, while California begins to fund Amtrak service with one of four round-trip San Diegan trains between Los Angeles and San Diego.
Amtrak and the federal government kick off the $1.75 billion Northeast Corridor Improvement Program (NECIP), to modernize the main line’s infrastructure including track, signaling systems, maintenance facilities and stations, as well as to reduce travel time between Washington, New York and Boston.
Amtrak implements automated Ticket-by-Mail (TBM) system for added customer convenience.
Amtrak begins to convert older passenger cars from steam heat to reliable, electric head-end power.
Amtrak makes interline agreements with 12 new carriers, increasing the number of cities served by such connections from 322 to 503.
Amtrak takes over the Crescent route between New York and New Orleans, and partners with Missouri to operate daily service between St. Louis and Kansas City.
Amtrak completes or rehabilitates 61 stations across America, creating thousands of local jobs while enhancing customer amenities.
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