Intercity rail services in the United States - Statistics & Facts

Intercity rail services are typically express passenger train services covering much longer distances than commuter or regional trains. With growing rail passenger traffic in the United States, passenger-miles for intercity rail services in 2016 amounted to around 6.5 billion miles.

Prior to the late 1900s, there was a dense system of intercity railways in the U.S., which experienced a huge decrease after the decline of passenger railroad in North America in the 1960s. Today, the capital investment in passenger/transit railroad infrastructure and rail equipment is starting to experience a steady rise. The system is currently operated by the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, popularly referred to as Amtrak. Amtrak operates across the U.S. with the exception of Alaska, which uses the Alaska Railroad.

Founded in 1971, Amtrak is government owned and funded but operated and managed as a for-profit corporation. In 2016, the number of passengers that travelled aboard Amtrak's railcars amounted to some 31.2 million passengers. In that same year, the number of passengers traveling aboard Amtrak's long distance railcars stood at approximately 4.66 million passengers. Amtrak's railcar fleet comprises of over 1,200 passenger cars with an average age of Amtrak's passenger train cars recorded to be at 30.7 years, as of 2015. Amtrak’s is currently headquartered at Union Station in Washington, D.C., although its leading passenger station is New York’s Penn Station.

Alaska Railroad is a Class II railroad, owned by the state of Alaska, which carries both freight and passengers throughout its system. The routes operated by Alaska Railroad's scheduled services include: Denali Star, Coastal Classic, Grandview Cruise, as well as Glacier Discovery. In 2015, around 475,000 passengers travelled aboard Alaska Railroad's railcars.

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