Highway and airport congestion plus higher petrol prices appear to be driving more passengers onto North America’s trains. Amtrak is reporting that it broke a new nationwide record for the first six months of its fiscal year, October 2011 to March 2012, with passenger counts up 3.7% from the same period the previous year. More business travellers are taking to the rails, with traffic in the busy “Northeast Corridor” up 5.2%. More than 30 million passengers rode Amtrak in 2011. This figure will rise further as the population grows and road and airport congestion worsen. Amtrak operates in excess of 300 trains daily, connecting 46 states.
However, president and CEO Joe Boardman cautioned: “Amtrak achieving ridership records is important, but it is more critical that the right infrastructure be in place to continue this trend in the years to come and to provide safe, efficient and reliable rail transportation for all current and future passengers.”
[pictured: “Hot bearing detector” with dragging equipment unit]