Despite some troubling underlying trends, there are many reasons to be pleased with the Fiscal 2014 results. Despite acute ridership declines on individual routes stemming from freight interference, overall Amtrak carried a best-ever 30.9 million riders (up 0.2 percent over the previous year), and earned a record $2.2 billion in ticket revenue (up 4.0 percent from last year). Ridership on the Northeast Corridor rose to 11.6 million (up 3.3 percent), and eight other routes also experienced record-setting years for ridership—the Adirondack, Auto Train, Albany-Niagara Falls-Toronto, Blue Water, Capitol Limited, Empire Service, Piedmont, and Washington-Lynchburg.
Delays Plaguing National Network
However, the broader takeaway was one of insufficient infrastructure investment. Poor National Network On-Time Performance (OTP), caused by too many freight trains on too few railroad lines, has led to severe congestion on the national train system. As result, we’ve seen a 0.6 percent ridership decline on state-supported routes, and a precipitous 4.5 percent drop on the long-distance lines.