The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak, is a passenger railroad service that provides medium- and long-distance intercity service in the contiguous United States and to nine Canadian cities.
Founded in 1971 as a quasi-public corporation to operate many U.S. passenger rail services, it receives a combination of state and federal subsidies but is managed as a for-profit organization. Amtrak's headquarters is located one block west of Union Station in Washington, D.C.
Amtrak serves more than 500 destinations in 46 states and three Canadian provinces, operating more than 300 trains daily over 21,400 miles (34,000 km) of track. Amtrak owns approximately 623 miles of this track and operates an additional 132 miles of track. Some track sections allow trains to run as fast as 150 mph (240 km/h).
In fiscal year 2017, Amtrak served 31.7 million passengers and had $3.3 billion in revenue, while employing more than 20,000 people. Nearly 87,000 passengers ride more than 300 Amtrak trains on a daily basis. Nearly two-thirds of passengers come from the 10 largest metropolitan areas; 83% of passengers travel on routes shorter than 400 miles (645 km).
|National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak)|
Geographic map of the Amtrak system (interactive map)
|Reporting mark||AMTK, AMTZ|
|Dates of operation||May 1, 1971–present|
48 years ago
|Predecessor||20 privately operated intercity passenger rail systems|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Length||44 routes (21,400 miles (34,400 km) route miles)|
Track owned: 623 miles (1,003 km)
|Headquarters||1 Massachusetts Ave, N.W., Washington, D.C.|
In 1916, 98% of all commercial intercity travelers in the United States moved by rail, and the remaining 2% moved by inland waterways. Nearly 42 million passengers used railways as primary transportation. Passenger trains were owned and operated by the same privately owned companies that operated freight trains. As the 20th century progressed, patronage declined in the face of competition from buses, air travel, and the automobile. New streamlined diesel-powered trains such as the Pioneer Zephyr were popular with the traveling public but could not reverse the trend. By 1940, railroads held just 67 percent of commercial passenger-miles in the United States. In real terms, passenger-miles had fallen by 40% since 1916, from 42 billion to 25 billion.
Traffic surged during World War II, which was aided by troop movement and gasoline rationing. The railroad's market share surged to 74% in 1945, with a massive 94 billion passenger-miles. After the war, railroads rejuvenated their overworked and neglected passenger fleets with fast and luxurious streamliners. These new trains brought only temporary relief to the overall decline. Even as postwar travel exploded, passenger travel percentages of the overall market share fell to 46% by 1950, and then 32% by 1957. The railroads had lost money on passenger service since the Great Depression, but deficits reached $723 million in 1957. For many railroads, these losses threatened financial viability.
The causes of this decline were heavily debated. The National Highway System and airports, both funded by the government, competed directly with the railroads, who paid for their own infrastructure. Progressive Era rate regulation limited the railroad's ability to turn a profit. Railroads also faced antiquated work rules and inflexible relationships with trade unions. To take one example, workers continued to receive a day's pay for 100-to-150-mile (160 to 240 km) work days. Streamliners covered that in two hours.
Matters approached a crisis in the 1960s. Passenger service route-miles fell from 107,000 miles (172,000 km) in 1958 to 49,000 miles (79,000 km) in 1970, the last full year of private operation. The diversion of most U.S. Postal Service mail from passenger trains to trucks, airplanes, and freight trains in late 1967 deprived those trains of badly needed revenue. In direct response, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway filed to discontinue 33 of its remaining 39 trains, ending almost all passenger service on one of the largest railroads in the country. The equipment the railroads had ordered after World War II was now 20 years old, worn out, and in need of replacement.
As passenger service declined various proposals were brought forward to rescue it. The 1961 Doyle Report proposed that the private railroads pool their services into a single body. Similar proposals were made in 1965 and 1968, but failed to attract support. The federal government passed the High Speed Ground Transportation Act of 1965 to fund pilot programs in the Northeast Corridor, but this did nothing to address passenger deficits. In late 1969 multiple proposals emerged in the United States Congress, including equipment subsidies, route subsidies, and, lastly, a "quasi-public corporation" to take over the operation of intercity passenger trains. Matters were brought to a head on March 5, 1970, when the Penn Central, the largest railroad in the Northeast United States and teetering on bankruptcy, filed to discontinue 34 of its passenger trains.
In October 1970, Congress passed, and President Richard Nixon signed into law, the Rail Passenger Service Act. Proponents of the bill, led by the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP), sought government funding to ensure the continuation of passenger trains. They conceived the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (NRPC), a private entity that would receive taxpayer funding and assume operation of intercity passenger trains. The original working brand name for NRPC was Railpax, but shortly before the company started operating it was changed to Amtrak. There were several key provisions:
Of the 26 railroads still offering intercity passenger service in 1970, only six declined to join Amtrak. Nearly everyone involved expected the experiment to be short-lived. The Nixon administration and many Washington insiders viewed the NRPC as a politically expedient way for the President and Congress to give passenger trains a "last hurrah" as demanded by the public. They expected Amtrak to quietly disappear as public interest waned. After Fortune magazine exposed the manufactured mismanagement in 1974, Louis W. Menk, chairman of the Burlington Northern Railroad, remarked that the story was undermining the scheme to dismantle Amtrak. Proponents also hoped that government intervention would be brief and that Amtrak would soon be able to support itself. Neither view had proved to be correct; for popular support allowed Amtrak to continue in operation longer than critics imagined, while financial results made passenger train service returning to private railroad operations infeasible.
Amtrak began operations on May 1, 1971. Amtrak received no rail tracks or rights-of-way at its inception. All Amtrak's routes were continuations of prior service, although Amtrak pruned about half the passenger rail network. Of the 366 train routes that operated previously, Amtrak only continued 184. On the routes that were continued (to the extent possible), schedules were retained with only minor changes from the Official Guide of the Railways and under the same names. Several major corridors became freight-only, including the ex-New York Central Railroad's Water Level Route from New York to Ohio and Grand Trunk Western Railroad's Chicago to Detroit route. Reduced passenger train schedules created headaches. A 19-hour layover became necessary for eastbound travel on the James Whitcomb Riley between Chicago and Newport News.
Amtrak inherited problems with train stations (most notably deferred maintenance) and redundant facilities that competed with companies serving the same areas. On the day it started, Amtrak was given the responsibility of rerouting passenger trains from the seven train terminals in Chicago (LaSalle, Dearborn, Grand Central, Randolph, Chicago Northwestern Terminal, Central, and Union) into just one, Union Station. In New York City, Amtrak had to pay and maintain both the Penn Station and the Grand Central Terminal due to the lack of track connections to bring trains from upstate New York into Penn Station; a problem that was rectified once the Empire Connection was built in 1991. Amtrak had to abandon numerous large stations whose upkeep could no longer be justified. On the other hand, the creation of the Los Angeles–Seattle Coast Starlight from three formerly separate train routes was an immediate success, resulting in an increase to daily service by 1973.
Needing to operate only half the train routes that were owned by the private railroads, Amtrak originally picked around 1,200 of the best passenger cars to lease from the 3,000 that the private railroads had owned. All were air-conditioned; and 90% were easy-to-maintain stainless steel. When Amtrak took over, passenger cars and locomotives initially retained the paint schemes and logos of their former owners which resulted in Amtrak running trains with mismatched colors – the "Rainbow Era". In mid-1971, Amtrak began purchasing some of the equipment it had leased, including 286 EMD E and F unit diesel locomotives, 30 GG1 electric locomotives and 1,290 passenger cars. By 1975, the official Amtrak color scheme was painted on most Amtrak equipment and newly purchased locomotives and rolling stock began appearing.
Amtrak soon had the opportunity to acquire rights-of-way. Following the bankruptcy of several northeastern railroads in the early 1970s, including Penn Central, which owned and operated the Northeast Corridor (NEC), Congress passed the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976. A large part of the legislation was directed to the creation of Conrail, but the law also enabled the transfer of the portions of the NEC not already owned by state authorities to Amtrak. Amtrak acquired the majority of the NEC on April 1, 1976. (The portion in Massachusetts is owned by the Commonwealth and managed by Amtrak. The route from New Haven to New Rochelle is owned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Connecticut Department of Transportation as the New Haven Line.) This main line became Amtrak's "jewel" asset, and helped the railroad generate revenue. While the NEC ridership and revenues were higher than any other segment of the system, the cost of operating and maintaining the corridor proved to be overwhelming. As a result, Amtrak's federal subsidy was increased dramatically. In subsequent years, other short route segments not needed for freight operations were transferred to Amtrak.
In its first decade, Amtrak fell far short of financial independence, which continues today, but it did find modest success rebuilding trade. Outside factors discouraged competing transport, such as fuel shortages which increased costs of automobile and airline travel, and strikes which disrupted airline operations. Investments in Amtrak's track, equipment and information also made Amtrak more relevant to America's transportation needs. Amtrak's ridership increased from 16.6 million in 1972 to 21 million in 1981.
In 1982, former Secretary of the Navy and retired Southern Railway head William Graham Claytor Jr. came out of retirement to lead Amtrak. Despite frequent clashes with the Reagan administration over funding, Claytor enjoyed a good relationship with John H. Riley, the head of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), and with members of Congress. Limited funding led Claytor to use short-term debt to fund operations.
Building on mechanical developments in the 1970s, high speed Washington-New York Metroliner Service was improved with new equipment and faster schedules. Travel time between New York and Washington D.C was reduced to under 3 hours. According to the 1980 Amtrak Annual Report, a converted 12-car set saved the company approximately $250,000 a year in fuel, maintenance and yard support costs. Amtrak completed the head-end power conversion program in 1982. Demand for passenger rail service resulted in the creation of five new state-supported routes in California, Illinois, Missouri, Oregon and Pennsylvania, for a total of 15 state-supported routes across the nation.
Ridership stagnated at roughly 20 million passengers per year amid uncertain government aid from 1981 to about 2000. Thomas Downs succeeded Claytor in 1993. Amtrak's stated goal remained "operational self-sufficiency". By this time, however, Amtrak had a large overhang of debt from years of underfunding, and in the mid-1990s, Amtrak suffered through a serious cash crunch. Under Downs, Congress included a provision in the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 that resulted in Amtrak receiving a $2.3 billion tax refund that resolved their cash crisis. However, Congress also instituted a "glide-path" to financial self-sufficiency, excluding railroad retirement tax act payments.
George Warrington became president in 1998 with a mandate to make Amtrak financially self-sufficient. Passengers became "guests" and there were expansions into express freight work, but the financial plans failed. Amtrak's inroads in express freight delivery created additional friction with competing freight operators, including the trucking industry. Delivery was delayed of much anticipated high-speed trainsets for the improved Acela Express service, which promised to be a strong source of income and favorable publicity along the Northeast Corridor between Boston and Washington, D.C.
Ridership increased during the first decade of the 21st century after implementation of capital improvements in the NEC and rises in automobile fuel costs. The inauguration of the high-speed Acela Express in late 2000 generated considerable publicity and led to major ridership gains. However, through the late 1990s and very early 21st century, Amtrak could not add sufficient express freight revenue or cut sufficient other expenditures to break even. By 2002, it was clear that Amtrak could not achieve self-sufficiency, but Congress continued to authorize funding and released Amtrak from the requirement. In early 2002 David L. Gunn replaced Warrington as president. In a departure from his predecessors' promises to make Amtrak self-sufficient in the short term, Gunn argued that no form of passenger transportation in the United States is self-sufficient as the economy is currently structured. Highways, airports, and air traffic control all require large government expenditures to build and operate, coming from the Highway Trust Fund and Aviation Trust Fund paid for by user fees, highway fuel and road taxes, and, in the case of the General Fund, from general taxation. Gunn dropped most freight express business and worked to eliminate deferred maintenance.
A plan by the Bush administration "to privatize parts of the national passenger rail system and spin off other parts to partial state ownership" provoked disagreement within Amtrak's board of directors. Late in 2005, Gunn was fired. Gunn's replacement, Alexander Kummant (2006–08), was committed to operating a national rail network, and, like Gunn, opposed the notion of putting the Northeast Corridor under separate ownership. He said that shedding the system's long-distance routes would amount to selling national assets that are on par with national parks, and that Amtrak's abandonment of these routes would be irreversible. In late 2006, Amtrak unsuccessfully sought annual congressional funding of $1 billion for ten years. In early 2007, Amtrak employed 20,000 people in 46 states and served 25 million passengers a year, its highest amount since its founding in 1970. Politico noted a key problem: "the rail system chronically operates in the red. A pattern has emerged: Congress overrides cutbacks demanded by the White House and appropriates enough funds to keep Amtrak from plunging into insolvency. But, Amtrak advocates say, that is not enough to fix the system's woes." 
In 2011, Amtrak announced its intention to improve and expand the high-speed rail corridor from Penn Station in NYC, under the Hudson River in new tunnels, and double-tracking the line to Newark, NJ called the Gateway Program, initially estimated to cost $13.5 billion.
From May 2011 to May 2012, Amtrak celebrated its 40th anniversary with festivities across the country that started on National Train Day (May 7, 2011). A commemorative book entitled Amtrak: An American Story was published, and a documentary was created. Six commemorative Heritage units a 40th Anniversary Exhibit Train toured the country. The Exhibit Train visited 45 communities and welcomed more than 85,000 visitors. It was an entirely rebuilt train powered by GE Genesis locomotives and included three refurbished ex-Santa Fe baggage cars and a food service car. Four Genesis locomotives were painted into retired Amtrak paint schemes: No. 156 was in Phase 1 colors, No. 66 was in Phase 2 colors, No. 145 and No. 822 were in Phase 3 colors (822 pulled the Exhibit train), and No. 184 was in Phase 4 colors. After years of almost revolving-door CEOs at Amtrak, in December 2013, Boardman was named "Railroader of the Year" by Railway Age magazine, which noted that with over five years in the job, he is the second-longest serving head of Amtrak since it was formed more than 40 years ago. In 2014 Amtrak began offering a "residency" program for writers.
On December 9, 2015, Boardman announced in a letter to employees that he would be leaving Amtrak in September 2016. He had advised the Amtrak Board of Directors of his decision the previous week. On August 19, 2016, the Amtrak Board of Directors named former Norfolk Southern Railway President & CEO Charles "Wick" Moorman as Boardman's successor with an effective date of September 1, 2016. During his term, Moorman took no salary and said that he saw his role as one of a "transitional CEO" who would reorganize Amtrak before turning it over to new leadership.
In May and June 2017, following several service disruptions within Pennsylvania Station and the East River Tunnels, the train service announced an expedited schedule for maintenance and repairs of infrastructure, which involves the complete shutdown of multiple tracks at a time. Amtrak has faced criticism from commuters as well as politicians for these incidents, prompting responses from figures such as New Jersey governor Chris Christie and New York governor Andrew Cuomo. The repairs are expected to take place in Summer 2017, affecting the Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit trains during all hours, who have planned additional or modified services.
On November 17, 2016, the Gateway Program Development Corporation (GDC) was formed for the purpose of overseeing and effectuating the rail infrastructure improvements known as the Gateway Program. (citation below) GDC is a partnership of the States of New York and New Jersey and Amtrak. The Gateway Program includes the Hudson Tunnel Project, to build a new tunnel under the Hudson River and rehabilitate the existing century-old tunnel, and the Portal North Bridge, to replace a century-old moveable bridge with a modern structure that is less prone to failure. Later projects of the Gateway Program, including expansion of track and platforms at Penn Station New York, construction of the Bergen Loop and other improvements will roughly double capacity for Amtrak and NJ Transit trains in the busiest, most complex section of the Northeast Corridor.
In June 2017, it was announced that former Delta and Northwest Airlines CEO Richard Anderson would become Amtrak's next President & CEO.  Anderson began the job on July 12, assuming the title of President immediately and serving alongside Moorman as "co-CEOs" until the end of the year.
Amtrak is required by law to operate a national route system. Amtrak has presence in 46 of the 48 contiguous states (lacking Wyoming and South Dakota). Amtrak services fall into three groups: short-haul service on the Northeast Corridor, state-supported short haul service outside the Northeast Corridor, and medium- and long-haul service known within Amtrak as the National Network. Amtrak receives federal funding for the vast majority of its operations including the central spine of the Northeast Corridor as well as for its National Network routes. In addition to the federally funded routes, Amtrak partners with transportation agencies in 18 states to operate other short and medium haul routes outside of the Northeast Corridor, some of which connect to it or are extensions off of it. In addition to its inter-city services, Amtrak also operates commuter services for three state agencies including MARC in Maryland, Shore Line East in Connecticut, and Metrolink in California.
Service on the Northeast Corridor, between Boston, and Washington, D.C., as well as between Philadelphia and Harrisburg, is powered by overhead electric wires; for the rest of the system, diesel locomotives are used. Routes vary widely in frequency of service, from three-days-a-week trains on the Sunset Limited to weekday service several times per hour on the Northeast Corridor (NEC). Amtrak also operates a captive bus service, Thruway Motorcoach, which provides connections to train routes.
The most popular and heavily used services are those running on the NEC, including the Acela Express and Northeast Regional. The NEC runs from Boston to Washington, D.C. via New York City and Philadelphia. Some services continue into Virginia. The NEC services accounted for 12 million of Amtrak's 31.7 million passengers in fiscal year 2017. Outside the NEC the most popular services are the short-haul corridors in California. These include the Pacific Surfliner, Capitol Corridor, and San Joaquin, supplemented by an extensive network of connecting buses. Together the California corridor trains accounted for a combined 5,717,185 passengers in fiscal year 2017. Other popular corridors include the Empire Corridor, which consists of trackage between New York City and Niagara Falls, New York via Albany and Buffalo, New York and carried 1,511,762 passengers in FY2017, and the Keystone Service from New York City to Harrisburg via Philadelphia that carried 1,505,518 passengers that same year.
Four of the six busiest stations by boardings are on the NEC: New York (Penn Station) (first), Washington (Union Station) (second), Philadelphia (30th Street Station) (third), and Boston (South Station) (sixth). The other two are Chicago (Union Station) (fourth) and Los Angeles (Union Station) (fifth).
Per passenger mile, Amtrak is 30–40 percent more energy-efficient than commercial airlines and automobiles overall, though the exact figures for particular routes depend on load factor along with other variables. The electrified trains in the NEC are considerably more efficient than Amtrak's diesels and can feed energy captured from regenerative braking back to the electrical grid. Passenger rail is also very competitive with other modes in terms of safety per mile.
per passenger mile
|Deaths per 100
million passenger miles
|Domestic airlines||13.0¢||2,931 BTU/mi (1,922 kJ/km)||< 0.01||81.9%|
|Transit buses||12.9¢||2,656 BTU/mi (1,741 kJ/km)||0.06||N/A|
|Amtrak||30.7¢||1,745 BTU/mi (1,144 kJ/km)||0.03||83%|
|Automobiles||N/A||3,501 BTU/mi (2,295 kJ/km)||0.48||N/A|
On-time performance is calculated differently for airlines than for Amtrak. A plane is considered on-time if it arrives within 15 minutes of the schedule. Amtrak uses a sliding scale, with trips under 250 miles (400 km) considered late if they are more than 10 minutes behind schedule, up to 30 minutes for trips over 551 miles (887 km) in length.
In 2005, Amtrak's carbon dioxide equivalent emissions were 0.411 lbs/mi (0.116 kg per km). For comparison, this is similar to a car with two people, about twice as high as the UK rail average (where much more of the system is electrified), about four times the average US motorcoach, and about eight times a Finnish electric intercity train or fully loaded fifty-seat coach. It is, however, about two thirds of the raw CO2-equivalent emissions of a long-distance domestic flight.
Intermodal connections between Amtrak trains and other transportation are available at many stations. Most Amtrak rail stations in downtown areas have connections to local public transport. Amtrak also code shares with United Airlines, providing service between Newark Liberty International Airport (via its Amtrak station and AirTrain Newark) and Philadelphia 30th St, Wilmington, Stamford, and New Haven. Special codes are used to designate these intermodal routes, such as "ZVE" to designate the combination of New Haven's Union Station and Newark International Airport and the Amtrak connection between them. Amtrak also serves airport stations at Milwaukee, Oakland, Burbank, and Baltimore.
Amtrak coordinates Thruway Motorcoach service to extend many of its routes, especially in California.
Outside the Northeast Corridor and stretches of track in Southern California and Michigan, most Amtrak trains run on tracks owned and operated by privately owned freight railroads. Freight rail operators are required under federal law to give dispatching preference to Amtrak trains. Some freight railroads have been accused of violating or skirting these regulations, allegedly resulting in passenger trains waiting in sidings for an hour or longer while waiting for freight traffic to clear the track. The railroads' dispatching practices were investigated in 2008, resulting in stricter laws about train priority. Subsequently, Amtrak's overall on-time performance went up from 74.7% in fiscal 2008 to 84.7% in 2009, with long-distance trains and others outside the NEC seeing the greatest benefit. The Missouri River Runner jumped from 11% to 95%, becoming one of Amtrak's best performers. The Texas Eagle went from 22.4% to 96.7%, and the California Zephyr, with a 5% on-time record in 2008, went up to 78.3%. This improved performance coincided with a general economic downturn, resulting in the lowest freight-rail traffic volumes since at least 1988, meaning less freight traffic to impede passenger traffic. In 2018, Amtrak began issuing report cards, grading each host railroad based on the railroad's impact on on-time performance. The first report card, issued in March 2018, includes one A (given to Canadian Pacific) and two Fs (given to CN and Norfolk Southern).
Amtrak carried 15,848,327 passengers in 1972, its first full year of operation. Ridership has increased steadily ever since, carrying a record 31.739 million passengers in fiscal year 2017, double the total in 1972.
Amtrak's loyalty program, Guest Rewards, is similar to the frequent-flyer programs of many airlines. Guest Rewards members accumulate points by riding Amtrak and through other activities, and can redeem these points for free or discounted Amtrak tickets and other rewards.
Through various commuter services, Amtrak serves an additional 61.1 million passengers per year in conjunction with state and regional authorities in California (through Amtrak California and Metrolink), Connecticut (through Shore Line East), and Maryland (through MARC).
Along the NEC and in several other areas, Amtrak owns 730 miles (1,170 km) including 17 tunnels consisting of 29.7 miles (47.8 km) of track, and 1,186 bridges (including the famous Hell Gate Bridge) consisting of 42.5 miles (68.4 km) of track. In several places, primarily in New England, Amtrak leases tracks, providing track maintenance and controlling train movements. Most often, these tracks are leased from state, regional, or local governments. Amtrak owns and operates the following lines:
In addition to these lines Amtrak owns station and yard tracks in Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, Oakland (Kirkham Street Yard), Orlando, Portland, Oregon, Saint Paul, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. Amtrak leases station and yard tracks in Hialeah, near Miami, Florida, from the State of Florida.
Amtrak owns the Chicago Union Station Company (Chicago Union Station), New York Penn Station, Baltimore Penn Station and Providence Station. It has a 99.7% interest in the Washington Terminal Company (tracks around Washington Union Station) and 99% of 30th Street Limited (Philadelphia 30th Street Station). Also owned by Amtrak is Passenger Railroad Insurance.
Amtrak owns 2,142 railway cars and 425 locomotives for revenue runs and service. Examples include the GE P42DC, the Siemens ACS-64, the Amfleet car, and the Superliner car. Occasionally private cars, or loaned locomotives from other railroads can be found on Amtrak trains.
As of 2015 Amtrak offers four classes of service: First Class, Sleeper Service, Business Class, and Coach Class:
Amtrak launched an e-ticketing system on the Downeaster in November 2011 and rolled it out nationwide on July 30, 2012. Amtrak officials said the system gives "more accurate knowledge in realtime of who is on the train which greatly improves the safety and security of passengers; en route reporting of onboard equipment problems to mechanical crews which may result in faster resolution of the issue; and more efficient financial reporting".
Amtrak first offered free Wi-Fi service to passengers aboard the Downeaster in 2008, the Acela Express and the Northeast Regional trains on the NEC in 2010, and the Amtrak Cascades in 2011. In February 2014, Amtrak rolled out Wi-Fi on corridor trains out of Chicago. When all the Midwest cars offer the AmtrakConnect service, about 85% of all Amtrak passengers nationwide will have Wi-Fi access. As of 2014, most Amtrak passengers have access to free Wi-Fi. The service has developed a reputation for being unreliable and slow due to its cellular network connection.
Amtrak allows carry-on baggage on all routes; services with baggage cars allow checked baggage at selected stations. With the passage of the Wicker Amendment in 2010 passengers are allowed to put lawfully owned, unloaded firearms in checked Amtrak baggage, reversing a decade-long ban on such carriage.
Amtrak Express (reporting marks AMTK, AMTZ) provides small-package and less-than-truckload shipping among more than 100 cities. Amtrak Express also offers station-to-station shipment of human remains to many express cities. At smaller stations, funeral directors must load and unload the shipment onto and off the train. Amtrak hauled mail for the United States Postal Service and time-sensitive freight, but canceled these services in October 2004 due to minuscule profits. On most parts of the few lines that Amtrak owns, trackage rights agreements allow freight railroads to use its trackage.
|Alan Stephenson Boyd||1978–1982|
|W. Graham Claytor, Jr.||1982–1993|
|David L. Gunn||2002–2005|
|David Hughes (interim)||2005–2006|
|William Crosbie (interim)||2008|
|Joseph H. Boardman||2008–2016|
|Charles W. "Wick" Moorman IV||2016–2017|
In the modern era, Amtrak faces a number of important labor issues. In the area of pension funding, because of limitations originally imposed by Congress, most Amtrak workers were traditionally classified as "railroad employees" and contributions to the Railroad Retirement system have been made for those employees. However, because the size of the contributions is determined on an industry-wide basis rather than with reference to the employer for whom the employees work, some critics, such as the National Association of Railroad Passengers, maintain that Amtrak is subsidizing freight railroad pensions by as much as US$150 million/year.
In recent times, efforts at reforming passenger rail have addressed labor issues. In 1997 Congress released Amtrak from a prohibition on contracting for labor outside the corporation (and outside its unions), opening the door to privatization. Since that time, many of Amtrak's employees have been working without a contract. The most recent contract, signed in 1999, was mainly retroactive.
Because of the fragmentation of railroad unions by job, as of 2009 Amtrak has 14 separate unions to negotiate with. Plus, it has 24 separate contracts with those unions. This makes it difficult to make substantial changes, in contrast to a situation where one union negotiates with one employer. Former Amtrak president Kummant followed a cooperative posture with Amtrak's trade unions, ruling out plans to privatize large parts of Amtrak's unionized workforce.
Amtrak receives annual appropriations from federal and state governments to supplement operating and capital programs.
|FY 2009||FY 2010||FY 2011||FY 2012||FY 2013||FY 2014||FY 2015|
Amtrak commenced operations in 1971 with $40 million in direct federal aid, $100 million in federally insured loans, and a somewhat larger private contribution. Officials expected that Amtrak would break even by 1974, but those expectations proved unrealistic and annual direct federal aid reached a 17-year high in 1981 of $1.25 billion. During the Reagan administration, appropriations were halved and by 1986, federal support fell to a decade low of $601 million, almost none of which were capital appropriations. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Congress continued the reductionist trend even while Amtrak expenses held steady or rose. Amtrak was forced to borrow to meet short-term operating needs, and by 1995 Amtrak was on the brink of a cash crisis and was unable to continue to service its debts. In response, in 1997 Congress authorized $5.2 billion for Amtrak over the next five years – largely to complete the Acela capital project – on the condition that Amtrak submit to the ultimatum of self-sufficiency by 2003 or liquidation. While Amtrak made financial improvements during this period, it did not achieve self-sufficiency.
In 2004, a stalemate in federal support of Amtrak forced cutbacks in services and routes as well as resumption of deferred maintenance. In fiscal 2004 and 2005, Congress appropriated about $1.2 billion for Amtrak, $300 million more than President George W. Bush had requested. However, the company's board requested $1.8 billion through fiscal 2006, the majority of which (about $1.3 billion) would be used to bring infrastructure, rolling stock, and motive power back to a state of good repair. In Congressional testimony, the DOT Inspector General confirmed that Amtrak would need at least $1.4 billion to $1.5 billion in fiscal 2006 and $2 billion in fiscal 2007 just to maintain the status quo. In 2006, Amtrak received just under $1.4 billion, with the condition that Amtrak would reduce (but not eliminate) food and sleeper service losses. Thus, dining service was simplified and now requires two fewer on-board service workers. Only Auto Train and Empire Builder services continue regular made-on-board meal service. In 2010 the Senate approved a bill to provide $1.96 billion to Amtrak, but cut the approval for high-speed rail to a $1 billion appropriation.
State governments have partially filled the breach left by reductions in federal aid. Several states have entered into operating partnerships with Amtrak, notably California, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan, Oregon, Missouri, Washington, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, Wisconsin, Vermont, Maine, and New York, as well as the Canadian province of British Columbia, which provides some of the resources for the operation of the Cascades route.
With the dramatic rise in gasoline prices during 2007–08, Amtrak has seen record ridership. Capping a steady five-year increase in ridership overall, regional lines saw 12% year-over-year growth in May 2008. In October 2007, the Senate passed S-294, Passenger Rail Improvement and Investment Act of 2007 (70–22) sponsored by Senators Frank Lautenberg and Trent Lott. Despite a veto threat by President Bush, a similar bill passed the House on June 11, 2008, with a veto-proof margin (311–104). The final bill, spurred on by the September 12 Metrolink collision in California and retitled Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, was signed into law by President Bush on October 16, 2008. The bill appropriates $2.6 billion a year in Amtrak funding through 2013.
Amtrak points out that in 2010, its farebox recovery (percentage of operating costs covered by revenues generated by passenger fares) was 79%, the highest reported for any U.S. passenger railroad. This increased to 94% in 2016.
Amtrak has argued that it needs to increase capital program costs in 2013 in order to replace old train equipment because the multi-year maintenance costs for those trains exceeds what it would cost to simply buy new equipment that would not need to be repaired for several years. However, despite an initial request for more than $2.1 billion in funding for the year, the company had to deal with a year-over-year cut in 2013 federal appropriations, dropping to under $1.4 billion for the first time in several years. Amtrak stated in 2010 that the backlog of needed repairs of the track it owns on the Northeast Corridor included over 200 bridges, most dating to the 19th century, tunnels under Baltimore dating to the American Civil War era and functionally obsolete track switches which would cost $5.2 billion to repair (more than triple Amtrak's total annual budget). Amtrak's budget is only allocated on a yearly basis, and it has been argued by Joseph Vranich that this makes multi-year development programs and long-term fiscal planning difficult if not impossible.
In Fiscal Year 2011, the U.S. Congress granted Amtrak $563 million for operating and $922 million for capital programs.
Government aid to Amtrak was controversial from the beginning. The formation of Amtrak in 1971 was criticized as a bailout serving corporate rail interests and union railroaders, not the traveling public. Critics have asserted that Amtrak has proven incapable of operating as a business and that it does not provide valuable transportation services meriting public support, a "mobile money-burning machine". Many argued that subsidies should be ended, national rail service terminated, and the NEC turned over to private interests. "To fund a Nostalgia Limited is not in the public interest." Critics also question Amtrak's energy efficiency, though the U.S. Department of Energy considers Amtrak among the most energy-efficient forms of transportation.
The Rail Passenger Service Act of 1970, which established Amtrak, specifically states that, "The Corporation will not be an agency or establishment of the United States Government". Then common stock was issued in 1971 to railroads that contributed capital and equipment; these shares convey almost no benefits, but their current holders declined a 2002 buy-out offer by Amtrak. There are currently 109,396,994 shares of preferred stock, at a par value of $100 per share, all held by the US government. There are currently 9,385,694 shares of common stock, with a par value of $10 per share, held by four other railroad companies: APU (formerly Penn Central) 53%, BNSF (35%), Canadian Pacific (7%), and Canadian National (5%).
The following are major accidents and incidents that involved Amtrak trains.
|1971 Salem, Illinois, derailment||City of New Orleans||June 10, 1971||Salem, Illinois||The City of New Orleans derailed due to a broken locomotive axle.||11||163|
|1979 Harvey train crash||Shawnee||October 12, 1979||Harvey, Illinois||The Shawnee, consisting of brand new Superliners collided with a stationary Illinois Central Gulf freight train due to misaligned switches changed by a switcherman shortly before the train passed them.||2||38|
|1987 Maryland train collision||Colonial||January 4, 1987||Chase, Maryland||The Colonial collided with three Conrail locomotives which had overrun signals.||16||164|
|1990 Back Bay, Massachusetts train collision||Night Owl||December 12, 1990||Back Bay, Boston, Massachusetts||The Night Owl collided with a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority commuter train.||0||453|
|1993 Big Bayou Canot rail accident||Sunset Limited||September 22, 1993||Mobile, Alabama||The Sunset Limited derailed on a bridge which had been damaged by a barge.||47||103|
|1995 Palo Verde, Arizona derailment||Sunset Limited||October 9, 1995||Palo Verde, Arizona||The Sunset Limited derailed because of track sabotage.||1||78|
|1996 Maryland train collision||Capitol Limited||February 16, 1996||Silver Spring, Maryland||The Capitol Limited collided with a Maryland Area Regional Commuter train which had overrun signals.||11||26|
|1999 Bourbonnais, Illinois, train crash||City of New Orleans||March 15, 1999||Bourbonnais, Illinois||The City of New Orleans collided with a semi-truck on a grade crossing.||13||122|
|2015 Philadelphia train derailment||Northeast Regional||May 12, 2015||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||A Northeast Regional derailed due to excessive speed on a curve.||8||200+|
|2017 Washington train derailment||Cascades||December 18, 2017||DuPont, Washington||A Cascades train derailed due to excessive speed on a curve.||3||62|
|2018 Cayce, South Carolina train collision||Silver Star||February 4, 2018||Cayce, South Carolina||The Silver Star collided head-on into a parked CSX freight train.||2||116|
Topics dealing with Amtrak
Rail companies of interest
Other national railroads
30th Street Station is an intermodal transit station in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is Philadelphia's main railroad station, and is a major stop on Amtrak's Northeast and Keystone corridors. It doubles as a major commuter rail station; it is served by all Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) Regional Rail lines, and is the western terminus for New Jersey Transit's Atlantic City Line. It is also served by several SEPTA city and suburban buses, as well as buses operated by NJ Transit and intercity operators. It is the tenth-busiest train station in the United States.Acela Express
The Acela Express ( ə-SEL-ə; colloquially abbreviated to Acela) is Amtrak's flagship service along the Northeast Corridor (NEC) in the Northeastern United States between Washington, D.C. and Boston via 14 intermediate stops, including Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York City. The route contains segments of high-speed rail, and Acela Express trains are the fastest trainsets in the Americas; they attain 150 miles per hour (240 km/h) on 33.9 miles (54.6 km) of the route.Acela carried more than 3.4 million passengers in fiscal year 2016; second only to the slower and less expensive Northeast Regional, which had over 8 million passengers in FY 2016. Its 2016 revenue of US$585 million was 25% of Amtrak's total.Acela operates along routes that are used by freight and slower regional passenger traffic, and only reaches the maximum allowed speed of the tracks along some sections, with the fastest peak speed along segments between Mansfield, Massachusetts and Richmond, Rhode Island. Acela trains use tilting technology, which helps control lateral centripetal forces, allowing the train to travel at higher speeds on the sharply curved NEC without disturbing passengers. The high-speed operation occurs mostly along the 226-mile (364 km) route from Pennsylvania Station in New York City to Union Station in Washington, D.C., with a fastest scheduled time of 2 hours and 45 minutes and an average speed of 82.2 mph (132 km/h), including time spent at intermediate stops. Over this route, Acela and the Northeast Regional service captured a 75% share of air/train commuters between New York and Washington in 2011, up from 37% in 2000.The Acela's speed is limited by traffic and infrastructure on the route's northern half. On the 231-mile (372 km) section from Boston's South Station to New York's Penn Station, the fastest scheduled time is 3 hours and 30 minutes, or an average speed of 66 mph (106 km/h). Along this section, Acela has still captured a 54% share of the combined train and air market. The entire 457-mile (735 km) route from Boston to Washington takes between 6 hours, 38 minutes and 6 hours, 50 minutes, at an average of around 70.3 mph (113 km/h).The present Acela Express equipment will be replaced by new Avelia Liberty trainsets, beginning in 2021. The new trains will have greater passenger capacity and an active tilt system that will allow faster speed on the many curved sections of the route. Amtrak plans to retire all current Acela trains by the end of 2022.Amtrak California
Amtrak California (reporting mark CDTX) is a brand name used by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) Division of Rail on three state-supported Amtrak rail routes within the US State of California, the Capitol Corridor, the Pacific Surfliner, and the San Joaquin. It also includes an extensive network of Thruway Motorcoach bus connections, operated by private companies under contract. The three lines shared the use of "Amtrak California" branded Thruway buses and trainsets.Amtrak Cascades
The Amtrak Cascades is a higher-speed passenger train corridor in the Pacific Northwest, operated by Amtrak in partnership with the U.S. states of Washington and Oregon. It is named after the Cascade mountain range that the route parallels. The 467-mile (752 km) corridor runs from Vancouver, British Columbia, through Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon to Eugene, Oregon.
In the fiscal year 2016, Cascades was Amtrak's eighth-busiest route with a total annual ridership of 792,481. In fiscal year 2015, farebox recovery ratio for the train was 59%.As of January 2018, 14 trains operate along the corridor each day–two between Vancouver, BC and Seattle, two between Vancouver, BC and Portland, four between Seattle and Portland; two between Eugene and Portland, and four between Eugene and Seattle. Presently, no train travels directly through the entire length of the corridor. For trains that do not travel directly to Vancouver or Eugene, connections are available on Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach services. Additionally, Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach services offer connections to other destinations in British Columbia, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington not on the rail corridor.
On December 18, 2017, a train derailed on the inaugural run along the new Point Defiance Bypass alignment near DuPont, Washington; at least three people were killed and dozens injured.Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach
Thruway Motorcoach is Amtrak's system of Amtrak-owned intercity coaches, locally contracted transit buses, through-ticketed local bus routes, and taxi services to connect Amtrak train stations to areas not served by its railroads, or stations which are disconnected temporarily due to service delays or track maintenance issues. Train and Thruway Motorcoach tickets are purchased together from Amtrak for the length of a passenger's journey, and the connections are timed for convenient dedicated and guaranteed-reliable transfers between the two services. In addition to providing connecting service to unserved areas, some Thruway Motorcoaches operate as redundant service along well-established passenger rail corridors to add extra capacity.
Due to California state law, tickets for California routes are sold only as part of train journeys.Amtrak establishes temporary Thruway Motorcoach service when normal rail service encounters disruptions.California Zephyr
The California Zephyr is a passenger train operated by Amtrak between Chicago and the San Francisco Bay Area (at Emeryville), via Omaha, Denver, Salt Lake City, and Reno. At 2,438 miles (3,924 km), it is Amtrak's second longest route after the Texas Eagle branch to Los Angeles, with travel time between the termini taking approximately 511⁄2 hours. Amtrak claims the route as one of its most scenic, with views of the upper Colorado River valley in the Rocky Mountains, and the Sierra Nevada. The modern train is the second iteration of a train named California Zephyr, the original train was privately operated and ran on a different route through Nevada and California.
During fiscal year 2016, the California Zephyr carried 417,322 passengers, an increase of 11.2% over FY2015. The train had a total revenue of $51,950,998 in FY2016.Capitol Corridor
The Capitol Corridor is a 270-mile (430 km) passenger train route operated by Amtrak between San Jose and Auburn, California. Most trains operate between San Jose and Sacramento, roughly parallel to Interstate 880 and Interstate 80. One round trip per day runs from Oakland through the eastern Sacramento suburbs to Auburn, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Capitol Corridor trains started in 1991.
Like all regional trains in California, the Capitol Corridor is operated by a joint powers authority. The Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA) is governed by a board that includes two elected representatives from each of eight counties the train travels through. The CCJPA contracts with the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District to provide day-to-day management, and Amtrak to operate and maintain the rolling stock (locomotives and passenger cars). The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) provides the funding and also owns the rolling stock.Chicago Union Station
Chicago Union Station is a major railroad station that opened in 1925 in Chicago, Illinois, replacing an earlier station built in 1881. It is the only remaining intercity rail terminal in Chicago, and is the city's primary terminal for commuter trains. The station stands on the west side of the Chicago River between West Adams Street and West Jackson Boulevard, just outside the Chicago Loop. Including approach and storage tracks, it covers about nine and a half city blocks — mostly underground, buried beneath streets and skyscrapers. The station serves as Amtrak's flagship station in the Midwest, and is also the downtown terminus for six Metra commuter lines.
Chicago Union Station is the fourth-busiest rail terminal in the United States, after Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station and Jamaica station in New York City. It is Amtrak's overall fourth-busiest station, and the busiest outside of its Northeast Corridor. It handles about 140,000 passengers on an average weekday (130,000 Metra riders and 10,000 Amtrak riders) and is one of Chicago's most iconic structures, reflecting the city's strong architectural heritage and historic achievements. It has Bedford limestone Beaux-Arts facades, massive Corinthian columns, marble floors, and a Great Hall, all highlighted by brass lamps. In 2011, its lighting system was replaced with more energy-efficient light bulbs and motion sensors, reducing the station's annual carbon emissions by 4 million tons. Custom steel lighting covers were added to top these safety/light towers, helping them blend in with the overall neoclassical style of the station.Chicago Union Station was designated as one of America's "Great Places" in 2012 by the American Planning Association (APA). The program recognized the station as a "Great Public Space" for promoting social activity and reflecting local culture and history. In celebration of the 2018 Illinois Bicentennial, Union Station was selected as one of the Illinois 200 Great Places by the American Institute of Architects Illinois component (AIA Illinois).Coast Starlight
The Coast Starlight is a passenger train operated by Amtrak on the West Coast of the United States. It runs from Seattle, Washington, to Los Angeles, California, via the San Francisco Bay Area. The train was the first to offer direct service between the two cities. Its name is a combination of two Southern Pacific (SP) trains, the Coast Daylight and the Starlight. The train has operated continuously since Amtrak's formation in 1971. Unique among Amtrak's long-distance trains, the Coast Starlight featured a Hi-Level lounge for sleeping car passengers — the "Pacific Parlour Car" — which was discontinued in February 2018.Empire Builder
The Empire Builder is an Amtrak long-distance passenger train that operates daily between Chicago and – via two sections west of Spokane – Seattle and Portland. Introduced in 1929, it was the flagship passenger train of the Great Northern Railway and its successor, the Burlington Northern, and was retained by Amtrak when it took over intercity rail service in 1971.
The end-to-end travel time of the route is 45–46 hours for an average speed of about 50 mph (80 km/h), though the train travels as fast as 79 mph (127 km/h) over the majority of the route. It is Amtrak's busiest long-distance route.North Station
North Station is a major transportation hub located at Causeway and Nashua Streets in Boston, Massachusetts, United States. It is one of the city's two inbound terminals for Amtrak and MBTA Commuter Rail trains, the other being South Station. The main concourse of North Station is located at the street level immediately below TD Garden, a major sports arena. The arena is also used for concerts and other events, taking advantage of the extensive transportation connections at the site.Northeast Corridor
The Northeast Corridor (NEC) is an electrified railroad line in the Northeast megalopolis of the United States. Owned primarily by Amtrak, it runs from Boston through Providence, New Haven, New York City, Philadelphia, and Baltimore to Washington, D.C. The NEC closely parallels Interstate 95 for most of its length, and is the busiest passenger rail line in the United States by ridership and service frequency as of 2013. The NEC carries more than 2,200 trains daily. Branches to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Springfield, Massachusetts, and various points in Virginia are not considered part of the Northeast Corridor, despite frequent service from routes that run largely on the corridor.
The corridor is used by many Amtrak trains, including the high-speed Acela Express, intercity trains, and several long-distance trains. Most of the corridor also has frequent commuter rail service, operated by the MBTA, Shore Line East, Metro-North Railroad, New Jersey Transit, SEPTA, and MARC. Several companies run freight trains over sections of the NEC.
Much of the line is built for speeds higher than the 79 mph (127 km/h) maximum allowed on many U.S. tracks. Amtrak operates intercity Northeast Regional and Keystone Service trains at up to 125 mph (201 km/h), as well as North America's only high-speed train, the Acela Express, which runs up to 150 mph (240 km/h) on a few sections in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Acela covers the 225 miles (362 km) between New York and Washington, D.C., in under 3 hours, and the 229 miles (369 km) between New York and Boston in under 3.5 hours. Under Amtrak's $151 billion Northeast Corridor plan, which hopes to roughly halve travel times by 2040, trips between New York and Washington via Philadelphia would take 94 minutes.Northeast Regional
The Northeast Regional is a regional rail service operated by Amtrak in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic United States. In the past it has been known as the NortheastDirect, Acela Regional, or Regional. It is the busiest Amtrak route, carrying 8.41 million passengers in fiscal year (FY) 2016, a 2.4% increase over the 8.15 million passengers in FY2015. The Northeast Regional service earned over $613.9 million in gross ticket revenue in FY2016, a 0.4% increase over the $611.7 million earned during FY2015.There is daily all-reserved service about every hour during the day. Trains generally run along the Northeast Corridor between Boston, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C., via New York City. Extensions, branches and Shuttle trains provide service to Springfield, Massachusetts, and Richmond, Newport News, Norfolk and Roanoke, Virginia.
Travel times are about 4.5 hours between Norfolk or Newport News and Washington, 5 hours between Roanoke and Washington, under two hours between Washington and Philadelphia, 1.5 hours between Philadelphia and New York, 3.5 hours between New York and Springfield, and four hours between New York and Boston. Travel times between Washington and New York are typically slightly faster than the equivalent travel time by car.Pacific Surfliner
The Pacific Surfliner is a 350-mile (560 km) passenger train service operated by Amtrak, serving the communities on the coast of Southern California between San Diego and San Luis Obispo.
The service carried 2,924,117 passengers during fiscal year 2016, a 3.4% increase from FY2015. Total revenue during FY2016 was $73,020,267, an increase of 3.6% over FY2015. The Pacific Surfliner is Amtrak's third-busiest service (exceeded in ridership only by the Northeast Regional and Acela Express), and the busiest outside the Northeast Corridor.The route is the successor of the San Diegan, a Los Angeles-San Diego service which had been one of the premier trains of the Santa Fe Railway until Amtrak took over operations in 1971. Initially there were three daily trips, but the schedule was expanded to six round trips during the 1970s with funding from the state of California. In 1988 the service was extended to Santa Barbara, followed in 1995 with one trip a day going all the way to San Luis Obispo. As the name "San Diegan" no longer reflected the extent of the route, it was renamed the Pacific Surfliner in 2000. The route is named after the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway's Surf Line.
Like all regional trains in California, the Pacific Surfliner is operated by a joint powers authority. The Los Angeles – San Diego – San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) Rail Corridor Agency is governed by a board that includes eleven elected representatives from the six counties the train travels through. LOSSAN contracts with the Orange County Transportation Authority to provide day-to-day management of the service and with contracts with Amtrak to operate the service and maintain the rolling stock (locomotives and passenger cars). The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) provides the funding to operate the service and also owns some of the rolling stock. The Surfliner coaches, primarily used on the Pacific Surfliner, are named after it,Pennsylvania Station (New York City)
Pennsylvania Station, also known as New York Penn Station or Penn Station, is the main intercity railroad station in New York City and the busiest in the Western Hemisphere, serving more than 630,000 passengers per weekday as of 2018. Penn Station is in Midtown Manhattan, close to Herald Square, the Empire State Building, Koreatown, and Macy's Herald Square. Entirely underground, the station is located in Midtown South beneath Madison Square Garden, between Seventh and Eighth Avenues and between 31st and 33rd Streets, with additional exits to nearby streets.
Penn Station has 21 tracks fed by seven tunnels (the two North River Tunnels, the four East River Tunnels, and the single Empire Connection tunnel). It is at the center of the Northeast Corridor, a passenger rail line that connects New York City with Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and intermediate points. Intercity trains are operated by Amtrak, which owns the station, while commuter rail services are operated by the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and New Jersey Transit. Connections are available within the complex to the New York City Subway, and buses. An underground passageway formerly provided an indoor connection with the 34th Street–Herald Square subway station and 33rd Street PATH station.Penn Station is named for the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR), its builder and original tenant, and shares its name with several stations in other cities. The current facility is the remodeled underground remnant of the original Pennsylvania Station, a more ornate station building designed by McKim, Mead, and White and completed in 1910. Considered a masterpiece of the Beaux-Arts style, its headhouse was torn down in 1963, galvanizing the modern historic preservation movement. The rest of the station was rebuilt in the following six years.
Future plans for Penn Station include adding railway platforms at the station's south end to accommodate two proposed Gateway Project tunnels. Plans also call for adding entrances and concourses to the adjacent James A. Farley Building. The Farley Post Office was built as a companion to the 1910 station. Moynihan Train Hall, part of the Empire Station Complex, will add new concourses for the LIRR and Amtrak within the Farley Post Office building and is being built in phases.Southwest Chief
The Southwest Chief (formerly the Southwest Limited and Super Chief) is a passenger train operated by Amtrak on a 2,265-mile (3,645 km) route through the Midwestern and Southwestern United States. It runs between Chicago, Illinois and Los Angeles, California, passing through Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and California.
During fiscal year 2015, the Southwest Chief carried 367,267 passengers, up 4.3 percent from FY 2014. The route grossed $44,904,314 in revenue during FY 2015, a 0.6 percent increase from FY 2014. Amtrak had plans for replacing the route between Albuquerque, New Mexico and Dodge City, Kansas with bus service, but as of October 2018, these are shelved.Union Station (Los Angeles)
Los Angeles Union Station (LAUS) is the main railway station in Los Angeles, California, and the largest railroad passenger terminal in the Western United States. It opened in May 1939 as the Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal, replacing La Grande Station and Central Station.
Approved in a controversial ballot measure in 1926 and built in the 1930s, it served to consolidate rail services from the Union Pacific, Santa Fe, and Southern Pacific Railroads into one terminal station. Conceived on a grand scale, Union Station became known as the "Last of the Great Railway Stations" built in the United States. The structure combines Art Deco, Mission Revival, and Streamline Moderne style. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
Today, the station is a major transportation hub for Southern California, serving almost 110,000 passengers a day. It is Amtrak's fifth-busiest station, and by far the busiest in the Western United States and the tenth-busiest in the entire country. Four of Amtrak's long-distance trains originate and terminate here: the Coast Starlight to Seattle, the Southwest Chief and Texas Eagle to Chicago, and the Sunset Limited to New Orleans. The state-supported Amtrak California Pacific Surfliner regional trains run frequently to San Diego and also to Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo. The station is the hub of the Metrolink commuter trains, and several Metro Rail subway and light rail lines serve it as well, with more in construction or planning.
The Patsaouras Transit Plaza, on the east side of the station, serves dozens of bus lines operated by Metro and several other municipal carriers.Washington Union Station
Washington Union Station is a major train station, transportation hub, and leisure destination in Washington, D.C. Opened in 1907, it is Amtrak's headquarters and the railroad's second-busiest station with annual ridership of just under 5 million and the ninth-busiest in overall passengers served in the United States. The station is the southern terminus of the Northeast Corridor, an electrified rail line extending north through major cities including Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston and the busiest passenger rail line in the nation.
An intermodal facility, Union Station also serves MARC and VRE commuter rail services, the Washington Metro, intercity bus lines, and local Metrobus buses.
At the height of its traffic, during World War II, as many as 200,000 passengers passed through the station in a single day. In 1988, a headhouse wing was added and the original station renovated for use as a shopping mall. Today, Union Station is one of the busiest rail facilities and shopping destinations in the United States, and is visited by over 40 million people a year.
Amtrak rolling stock
Class I railroads of North America
Railroads in italics meet the revenue specifications for Class I status, but are not technically Class I railroads due to being passenger-only railroads with no freight component.