us-Amtrak Cardinal in Washington DC

USA: Amtrak launched major station and route upgrading projects and hired a record level of employees during the 2022 financial year, the company reported.

‘We worked hard to restore service and grow ridership in the face of lingering impacts from the pandemic, all while modernising our assets to make train travel a better experience for customers’, explained CEO Stephen Gardner.

Demand for Amtrak services returned strongly in the second half of the financial year to September 30, following the decline of the Omicron coronavirus wave, which saw overall ridership recovering to about 85% of pre-pandemic levels. Year-on-year ridership on Northeast Corridor services grew by 110%, with state-supported and long-distance ridership increasing by 85% and 56% respectively, having not fallen as far during the pandemic.

This increase in ridership and revenue enabled Amtrak to reduce its operating losses by $145m compared to the anticipated result for the financial year. The operator now expects ridership and revenue to recover to more than 90% of pre-Covid levels by the year end in September 2023.

In its 2022 fiscal year, Amtrak invested $2·3bn in capital projects, their total operating revenue was $2·8bn, a 47·8% increase from the previous financial year, and only 15% below financial year 2019.

The adjusted operating earnings was $885m, an 18·2% improvement over the previous financial year, and $145m ahead of Amtrak’s plan for this year, due to strong ticket-revenue growth.

‘Ridership exceeding our expectations, shows that travellers are flocking back to Amtrak for inter-city trips and that the United States is ready for more and better passenger rail service’, said Board Chairman Tony Coscia. ‘As we begin the new year, Amtrak will prioritise service improvements for customers, expand our network and advance our infrastructure and fleet modernisation programmes.’