US: Amtrak Plans to Double Ridership by 2040

Amtrak has announced plans to advance several key initiatives throughout 2024 as part of its goal to double annual ridership to 66 million passengers by 2040.

This will include historic infrastructure investments that will enable new and expanded services, enhanced safety and reliability, improved accessibility and a greater customer experience, alongside economic development.

Amtrak's New Acela train
Amtrak’s New Acela train
Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner said:

“Amtrak has rebounded from the pandemic and is growing again as part of our plan to double ridership by 2040. With funding from the infrastructure bill in hand, we and our partners are transforming intercity passenger rail across the country in a big way.”

Advancing Infrastructure

Amtrak will invest roughly 5.5 billion USD in its largest-ever annual capital programme to modernise trains, enhance stations, tunnels and bridges, and upgrade critical infrastructure. This includes the Frederick Douglass Tunnel Program and the East River Tunnel Rehab Project.

It will also continue construction for major Northeast Corridor projects, including the Portal North Bridge and Hudson Tunnel Projects and will advance the Sawtooth Bridges Replacement and Dock Bridge Rehab projects.

What’s more, it will work on megaprojects such as the Chicago Hub Improvement Program, New York Penn Station Expansion and Washington Union Station Redevelopment.

Amtrak is also supporting partners to improve future service, including Penn Station Access in New York, the Long Bridge Project in Virginia, and Compass Rail in Massachusetts.

Amtrak President Roger Harris said:

“Amtrak is working on two overarching objectives in 2024 – improving passenger train service for our customers and efficiently and effectively carrying out a massive major infrastructure capital program aimed to modernise and upgrade our infrastructure, stations, fleet and technology. As both a passenger rail service provider and a major construction company, we are quickly growing and evolving to deliver on both.”

Rolling Stock

To advance progress on the New Acela service, the first Amtrak Airo trainset will be fully built by the end of 2024 ready for testing. Proposals will also be selected to begin replacing Amtrak’s Long Distance fleet.

Amtrak’s National Network Climate Vulnerability Assessment and Resilience Strategic Plan will also engage suppliers on carbon reduction goals and will work towards transitioning 100% of its on-road vehicles to electric power by 2035.

Business Growth

Amtrak aims to enhance its quality and quantity of service through the FRA’s Corridor ID Program. This will include a twice-daily service between New Orleans and Mobile and the extension of the Hiawatha from Milwaukee to St. Paul.

It will also continue implementing a customer-centric pricing structure nationwide to drive revenue and ridership growth.

Customer Experience

To enhance the customer experience, Amtrak will increase its range of food and beverage offerings with a makeover to the Acela Cafe menu.

It will also invest in new talent and training for frontline teams and will advance its accessibility improvements.

Empowering Employees

Amtrak plans to hire more than 3,500 new employees to rebuild existing infrastructure and meet the growing demand for passenger rail.

To transform its connected workforce, it will upgrade its HR Information System that provides employees with self-service tools, data analytics and dashboards. It will also expand the mobile devices and apps used by its staff.

Finally, it will progress its Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging strategy while expanding its Total Rewards Offerings to help recruit and retain the best talent.

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