America still has one of the lowest rates of rail usage in the world yet the biggest rail company, Amtrak, has recorded encouraging figures in recent times.
Amtrak is a huge state-owned rail company in the USA, which employs around 19,000 people. Americans have traditionally traveled either, due to the size of the country, by air or by road and the attitude towards rail travel has tended to involve extremes.
American citizens have a love it or loathe it attitude towards traveling by train. Recent figures from Amtrak now show that Americans are swinging towards the former. Amtrak has welcomed a record 30 million passengers in the past 12 months, with ridership up 5% and ticket revenue up 8%.
However, all is not as rosy as it seems for the rail giant. Amtrak’s position on the North American market has come under threat as key organizations have started to consider other bids for important projects.
Such threats have led to Amtrak wanting to use the extra revenue to improve its services and making traveling by train in the US a more pleasant affair. For example, the company wishes to avoid bottlenecks on the route between New York and Boston to cut travel time.
The company is set to celebrate its 40th anniversary publically by having an exhibit train run through the USA. Such promotion, linked to memorabilia with plenty of media coverage may tempt a few more Americans to trust the rail service a little bit more.
The long-term aim is to make rail travel a standard method of transport in the USA and not just an emergency method when plane tickets are too expensive and the car is unavailable.