Amtrak celebrates anniversary with record popularity
America's trains are set to carry over 30 million passengers this year for the first time ever, projections have shown.
Amtrak, the company responsible for running intercity passenger rail services in 49 states, confirmed last week that ridership numbers hit an all-time high in June 2011, the 20th consecutive month of year-over-year growth.
A total of 2.6 million passengers boarded Amtrak trains in June, up just over 4 percent on June 2010.
When Amtrak's fiscal year ends in September this year, company officials believe it will pass the 30 million passenger mark for the first time in US rail history, smashing last year's record ridership of 28.7 million passengers.
Even that figure is a considerable improvement on a decade earlier, when only 20 million passengers used the US-wide service, currently celebrating its 40th anniversary.
Amtrak's rising popularity can be explained in part by the launch of new routes, often with generous state support, but the surge in fuel prices has made rail travel a more attractive option for consumers already squeezed by the economic downturn.
The Acela Express, a high-speed route which runs along the North East corridor between New York and Washington DC, has also seen a considerable rise in popularity with a growth in business users thanks to the addition of free wifi to the trains.
To celebrate the service's 40th anniversary, Amtrak is sending a special "Exhibit Train" across the country showcasing its past, present and future.
Find out more about the anniversary: http://www.amtrak40th.com/
The 50 Best spas
The 10 Best lightweight luggage
The 10 Best hiking boots
Simon Calder: British Airways 'plane on fire' over Heathrow causes travel chaos on one of the busiest weekends of the year
Simon Calder: Nowhere else but London would a temporary runway closure lead to 200 flights being cancelled
- 1 What, let gays get married? We must be bonkers
- 2 Rocky Horror star Tim Curry 'suffers major stroke'
- 3 Exclusive: How MI5 blackmails British Muslims
- 4 Lord of the Sings: Sir Christopher Lee, 91, to release heavy metal album
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.