Amtrak Celebrates 48 Years; Looks to the Future

WASHINGTON – Continuing its FY18 success, Amtrak is on track for its best year as the company celebrates its 48th year of operations. Fiscal year ridership is up 1.3% through March over FY18, and Amtrak is heading toward breakeven on an operating earnings basis by FY21. Amtrak has committed to investing billions in modernizing infrastructure, fleet, and facilities to meet the growing needs and ensure a continued, bright future for passenger rail service across the nation.

Following the enactment of
the Rail Passenger Service Act in 1970, Amtrak began serving customers on May
1, 1971, taking over the operation for most intercity passenger trains then
operated by private railroads in exchange for access to their respective
networks, thus preserving intercity passenger rail service across America. With
demonstrated success under new leadership and growing demand for passenger rail,
it’s a pivotal time for America’s Railroad® to reinforce the
promises made 48 years ago and to reassess Amtrak’s network for the next 50

“We are changing intercity passenger
rail to meet the needs of America – modernizing our trains and stations,
improving on-time performance, and adding contemporary amenities – making it
the preferred mode of travel for customers,” said Amtrak President & CEO
Richard Anderson. “We are experiencing record growth, and we look forward to
working with Congress to further invest in our rail infrastructure to better serve the
changing landscape of our nation.”

With much of Amtrak’s infrastructure dating
to the early 1900s and most of Amtrak’s equipment nearing the end of its useful
life, considerable investments are needed to address increased highway
congestion, rapid urbanization, and the threats posed by our changing climate.

Additionally, millennials and aging
populations are changing the overall travel landscape, forming new markets,
with many of the fastest growing markets having limited or no intercity
passenger rail service.

“We have been building a successful
company over the last several years: best-ever operating performance, record
ridership and revenue, and the highest ever capital spend,” said Amtrak Board
Chair Tony Coscia. “We have the potential to meaningfully enhance how this
country moves in the future, to provide frequent and reliable, city-to-city
passenger rail service.”

Last month, Amtrak submitted its 5 Year Plans which provide a comprehensive strategic
and financial view of the services that Amtrak provides its customers along
with its General and Legislative Annual Report to
. Amtrak is preparing to transmit a
comprehensive reauthorization proposal to Congress later this year as the
Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act is set to expire.