Amtrak reported a strong recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic on its Northeast Corridor route that has stops in Wilmington and Newark, DE.
In fiscal 2023, more than 28 million customers rode Amtrak nationwide, fueled in part by growth on the Northeast Corridor (NEC), where ridership is booming and consistently exceeding pre-pandemic levels since early summer. The growth has come as a pleasant surprise, since commuter trains boardings remain well below pre-pandemic levels.
“Amtrak ridership continues to set post-pandemic records thanks to our customers who were anxious to travel again and attracted to the many benefits of train travel. This resurgence was made possible by our dedicated employees, our many state and host railroad partners, and ongoing support from the Biden Administration and Congress,” said Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner. “We’re inspired by the soaring demand for intercity passenger rail and are eager to continue connecting more people and places.”
“The best is yet to come!” said Amtrak Board Chair Tony Coscia. “As we build a new era of passenger rail with more modern trains, expanded routes, more frequent service, upgraded stations, and renewed infrastructure, Amtrak will continue to deliver major improvements for current and future Amtrak customers over the coming decade.”
Northeast Corridor ridership was up 8% from pre-pandemic levels. More trains were added on the lower-fare Northeast Regional routes, which saw a 29% increase in ridership from the pervious fiscal year. Acela service that includes stops in Wilmington saw a 38% ridership gain.
Revenues for Amtrak rose to $3.4 billion, up 20% from the previous fiscal year. The government-owned railroad’s loss was $752.2 million,an improvement of $130 million over the previous year. Cost containment aided cost increases that came during the pandemic and costs related to launching its track, tunnel and other infrastructure programs.
Amtrak also introduced Night Owl fares that better compete with bus service on the Northeast Corridor.
Long-distance ridership, which includes trains stopping in Wilmington, rose 12%.
Work continued on Amtrak Stations, with a multi-million project completed in Wilmington. Newark also has a new train station.
Amtrak is seeing delays in getting a new generation of Acela equipment in service that would replace aging transets.
Amtrak has maintenance, dispatching, training and administrative sites in northern Delaware.