Long-Distance Train Facts
• A long-distance train typically consists of sleepers, coaches, a diner and/or a lounge car. • Long-distance trains travel as far as 2,800 miles and pass through as many as 12 states. • Amtrak operates 15 long-distance trains over 18,500 route miles serving 39 states and the District of Columbia. These trains provide the only rail passenger service to 23 states. • In FY 2008 these trains carried 4.2 million passengers accounting for 2.6 billion passenger miles—42% of Amtrak’s total—and produced ticket revenues of $415 million. • The average long-distance train passenger traveled 626 miles in FY08. • Long-distance trains run primarily on tracks owned and maintained by private freight railroads. • These trains are not the big money-losers that they are often portrayed to be; only about $300 million annually would be saved if they were eliminated, and only after a five-year period.
Amtrak’s long-distance trains provide an essential transportation service for many communities and to a significant percentage of the general public. Many long-distance trains serve small communities with limited or no significant air or bus service, especially in remote or isolated areas in the United States. As a result of airline deregulation and decisions by national bus carriers to exit many communities, rail transportation may provide the only feasible common carrier transportation option for a growing number of areas. 1 If long-distance trains were eliminated, 23 states and 243 communities would be left with no intercity passenger rail service and 18 other states would lose some service. No state or private operator has picked up a long-distance route that Amtrak has eliminated.
Amtrak Government Affairs: February 2009
Amtrak: Long Distance Trains: FY 2008
Importance of the Long-Distance Trains
The route across the northern tier of states, the Empire Builder, with...