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Amtrak ridership down

By Staff | Nov 6, 2009

Amtrak passenger boardings on the Empire Builder route were down this past fiscal year compared to 2008, but it remains one of Amtrak’s most popular train routes, according to data from the national passenger rail service.

Just over 500,000 boarded the train which travels between Chicago and Seattle and Portland, and makes two daily stops in Rugby. That was down about seven percent from the previous year.

Rugby’s ridership in 2009 was 4,183. Minot had the most riders in the state with 28,317. Amtrak also makes daily stops in Fargo, Grand Forks, Devils Lake, Stanley and Williston. The state’s total ridership was 89,492.

However, the Empire Builder continues to have the most passengers of any of Amtrak’s long distance routes.

Nationwide, Amtrak’s total ridership declined by about a million passengers or about nine percent last fiscal year compared to 2008 figures. Just over 27.2 million boarded the train in 2009. It’s speculated fewer business travelers in the busy northeast corridor linked to a sagging economy, was a factor in a decline in boardings.

Nonethelesss, the 27.2 million was still the second highest ridership total in Amtrak’s 38-year history.

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