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Article

  Amtrak Facts

downAmtrak System Map
downGeneral Facts
downService
downTrain Trips
downTrain Equipment/Infrastructure
downCommuter Service

  Amtrak System Map
  A link to Amtrak route Map showing the Boston - Washington D.C. Acela Express route.
A portion of the Amtrak System Map showing the Boston - Washington D.C. Acela Express route. To view national routes select the national route map PDF.
Source: Amtrak

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  General Facts
 
  • The name Amtrak is the blending of the words "American" and "Track". The railroad's official name is the National Railroad Passenger Corporation.
  • Amtrak began service on May 1, 1971 when Clocker No. 235 departed New York Penn Station at 12:05 a.m. bound for Philadelphia.
  • In 1971, Amtrak announced a schedule of 184 trains, serving 314 destinations.
  • When service began on May 1, 1971, Amtrak had 25 employees. Today, the company employs 22,000 people.
  • Since the beginning, even-numbered trains have traveled north and east. Odd-numbered trains travel south and west. Among the exceptions are Amtrak's Pacific Surfliners, which use the opposite numbering system inherited from their former operator, the Santa Fe Railroad, and some Empire Corridor Trains.
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  Service
 
  • Amtrak serves more than 500 stations in 46 states. Those not included are Alaska, Hawaii, South Dakota, and Wyoming. Wyoming is served by Amtrak Thruway Motorcoaches.
  • Amtrak operates over more than 22,000 route miles. It owns 730 route miles, about 3 percent of the total nationwide, primarily between Boston and Washington, DC, and in Michigan. In other parts of the country, Amtrak trains use tracks owned by freight railroads.
  • On weekdays, Amtrak operates up to 265 trains per day, excluding commuter trains.
  • Amtrak trains operate every minute of the entire year.
  • Amtrak's twenty busiest train stations in fiscal year 2003 were:
 
Rank Code City/Station Boardings
1 NYP New York, NY 4,367,553
2 WAS Washington, DC 1,888,459
3 PHL Philadelphia, PA 1,844,887
4 CHI Chicago, IL 1,179,955
5 NWK Newark, NJ 684,050
6 LAX Los Angeles, CA 644,845
7 TRE Trenton, NJ 499,399
8 BOS Boston, MA 488,912
9 BAL Baltimore, MD 455,059
10 PJC Princeton Jct., NJ 449,608
11 SAC Sacramento, CA 443,827
12 SAN San Diego, CA 398,720
13 WIL Wilmington, DE 372,104
14 ALB Albany-Rensselaer, NY 323,160
15 NHV New Haven, CT 309,268
16 SEA Seattle, WA 299,466
17 BWI BWI Airport, MD 296,756
18 PRO Providence, RI 239,209
19 EMY Emeryville, CA 237,766
20 IRV Irvine, CA 236,090
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  Train Trips
 
  • The Auto Train, which travels between Lorton, Virginia and Sanford, Florida is the longest Amtrak passenger train with two engines and 40-plus rail cars.
  • At 1,480 feet, the platform at Amtrak's Auto Train station in Lorton, Virginia is longer than the Sears Tower.
  • At 2,768 miles, the Sunset Limited between Orlando and Los Angeles is the longest Amtrak intercity passenger train route.
  • At 86 miles, the Hiawatha, which travels between Chicago and Milwaukee, is Amtrak's shortest intercity passenger train route.
 
Photo of an Amtrak train.
Source: Amtrak postcard
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  Train Equipment/Infrastructure
 
  • Passenger Cars: Amtrak operates 2,141 railroad cars including 168 sleeper cars, 760 coach cars, 126 first class/business class cars, 66 dormitory/crew cars, 225 lounge/café/dinette cars, and 92 dining cars. Baggage cars make up the remainder of the fleet.
  • Locomotives: Amtrak operates 425 locomotives -- 351 diesel and 74 electric.
  • 19 Acela Express trainsets currently provide high-speed rail service along the Northeast Corridor between Washington and Boston.
  • Amtrak owns three heavy maintenance facilities in Wilmington, and Bear, Delaware and Beech Grove, Indiana, as well as other maintenance facilities in Boston, Chicago, Hialeah, FL., Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, Niagara Falls, Oakland, Rensselaer, NY, Seattle, and Washington, DC.
  • Amtrak owns 17 tunnels consisting of 29.7 miles of track and 1,186 bridges consisting of 42.5 miles of track.
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  Commuter Service
 
  • Amtrak is the nation's largest provider of contract-commuter service for state and regional authorities
  • Through its commuter services, Amtrak serves an additional 61.1 million people per year.
  • Amtrak currently provides commuter service for the following state and regional authorities:
    • Caltrain (California)
    • Coasters (California)
    • Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC)
    • Metrolink (California)
    • Shoreline East (Connecticut)
    • Virginia Railway Express (VRE)
    • Amtrak provides maintenance services for the Sounder Commuter Rail system in the Seattle area.
 

 

  Adapted from Amtrak Web site, August 2004, Amtrak Facts.
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