Amtrak: 50 Years of Leading the Way
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.
2000s - Amtrak demonstrates the critical role it plays in supporting the nation’s 21st century transportation infrastructure.
The first Acela Express trainset is introduced in revenue service, ushering in a new age of high-speed rail. Amtrak initially offers one daily roundtrip between Washington and Boston with more frequencies added to the schedule as trainsets are delivered.
Amtrak customers are introduced to an even more rewarding way to travel with the launch of the Amtrak Guest Rewards program. It allows them to earn points that can be redeemed for Amtrak reward travel, hotels, car rentals and more.
Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, Amtrak becomes the primary transportation link between New York City and the nation when air travel is grounded. Additional coaches are added to provide transportation to emergency workers, military personnel and victims’ families.
Introduces a “Quiet Car” to nearly every weekday train on the Northeast Corridor. Passengers are asked to limit conversation, speak in subdued tones and not make phone calls. Due to their popularity, Quiet Cars are added to other routes.
Amtrak is granted the second of two patents (the first was in 2000) for an automated track inspection vehicle that enables Amtrak to better identify the type and location of track anomalies and required remedial actions.
Amtrak closes the year with record ridership of more than 24 million passengers across its national network.
“Ask Julie" automated voice service is ranked top voice response system by Speech Technology Magazine.
Amtrak is granted a patent for a new thick web miter rail joint system to provide improved joints between stationary and vertically movable track sections.
Amtrak and the State of Wisconsin open Milwaukee General Mitchell Airport Station, another step in multi-modal travel. Designed in the Prairie style to pay homage to Wisconsin native Frank Lloyd Wright, the station proves especially popular with commuters between Chicago and Milwaukee.
The Keystone Corridor Improvement Project, a partnership between Amtrak and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, reaches a milestone with restoration of all-electric train service. The total number of Keystone Service roundtrips in Pennsylvania grows from 11 to 14 with speeds up to 110 mph.
With support from the State of Illinois, additional frequencies are added to routes from Chicago to Carbondale (Saluki), Chicago to Quincy (Carl Sandburg), and Chicago to St. Louis (Lincoln Service).
Amtrak begins at-seat cart and beverage service on some Acela Express trains.
Amtrak fosters partnerships with communities wishing to invest in their stations by launching the Great American Stations website with case studies, grant information and other resources. Amtrak had earlier donated $2 million to the Great American Station Foundation that was set up to help communities repair and improve their train stations.
Amtrak installs wind power generator and solar panels in its Chicago yard to power signal system with renewable energy.
A multi-year effort to replace the Thames River Bridge lift span in Connecticut is completed. Historic aspects of the bridge were retained without sacrificing 21st century safety and operational efficiency along the busy Northeast Corridor.
Amtrak launches its Mobility First program to make stations more accessible to passengers with disabilities.
The Commonwealth of Virginia provides funding for a daily roundtrip Northeast Regional between Washington, D.C., and Lynchburg. In one year, the new service notched more than 126,000 trips, a 147% increase over the initial estimate of 51,000. Within a few years, passenger rail service is expanded to Richmond and restored to Norfolk and Roanoke.
Amtrak Guest Rewards
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