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Amtrak breaks ridership record

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There's a growing demand for train travel in the United States.

Amtrak said today that its trains carried 31.2 million people in the previous fiscal year which ended in September. That number is the highest annual ridership since Amtrak began services in 1971.

And there were more good news numbers for the intercity passenger rail service. Since last fiscal year, ridership grew 3.5 percent and revenue was up 6.8 percent to a record $2.02 billion.

“Ridership will continue to grow because of key investments made by Amtrak and our federal and state partners to improve on-time performance, reliability, capacity and train speeds,” said Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman in a statement.

There's a good chance he's right about ridership numbers increasing. It has increased every year over the last decade. And since 2000 ridership has grown almost 50 percent.

But there are also good signs that better services are on the way. Last month, Amtrak tested trains at their highest speeds ever, 165 mph. It's also made high-tech improvements to its trains and announced ambitious plans to improve services and facilities.

Amtrak isn't banking on the fact that more people will choose the train to get around. They're steadily making improvements to ensure they break records again next year.

[Via Associated Press]

Photo: Flickr/Kevin H.

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— By on October 9, 2012, 10:49 PM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure