Here's the press release:
Midwesterners love their trains!
Amtrak recently released its annual ridership and revenue numbers and the report revealed that people across the Midwest are riding the train in record numbers.
Here are a few highlights from the report:
- The Empire Builder – beginning in Chicago and traveling through Minnesota on its way to the Pacific Northwest – is Amtrak’s most popular overnight passenger train. More than half a million people rode the route last year.
- Ridership totals on the shorter-run corridor services is up 55% across the Midwest during the past five years.
- The Hiawatha service between Chicago and Milwaukee has seen a 49% increase in ridership during the past five years and recently topped three-quarters of a million riders during the past year.
As Illinois Rep. Elaine Nekritz, chair of the Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Commission, put it, “These numbers confirm what state and federal officials are increasingly realizing – expanding and improving passenger rail service makes sense for the Midwest.”
These numbers are an affirming sign for local and statewide advocates of expanded passenger rail infrastructure in Minnesota. It is important that we have a variety of transportation options, including rail, as our state looks to enhance our economic viability and quality of life in the 21st century. Passenger rail – including a high-speed route from Rochester to the Twin Cities – will ensure the accessibility and capacity we need to meet those goals.
Election Day, November 2, is less than three weeks away. If you haven’t already done so, the Alliance encourages you to ask where your state and federal candidates stand on rail. The upcoming legislative and congressional sessions will be very important for the future of rail. Most important, don’t forget to vote.