With demand for intercity passenger rail service on the rise as demonstrated by yet another year of record ridership, Amtrak is moving forward with an aggressive agenda for 2012 and building for the future while strengthening current services.
Among the key actions planned in the new year are building the first units of 70 new electric locomotives and 130 new single-level long-distance cars; the national roll-out of eTicketing to all trains; and the further integration and advancement of Northeast Corridor (NEC) planning efforts to improve the existing Corridor and develop a high-capacity, next-generation high-speed rail (NextGen HSR) system.
“Amtrak is building the equipment, infrastructure and organization needed to ensure our strong growth continues into the future,” said President/CEO Joe Boardman. “We are investing in projects critical for enhancing the passenger experience, essential for supporting our national network of services and vital for the future of America’s Railroad.”
Other significant projects in 2012 include: upgrading NEC tracks, bridges and other infrastructure; pursing efforts to expand Acela Express capacity; advancing initial planning work for the Gateway Program to provide additional capacity into Manhattan for intercity, commuter and NextGen HSR services; improving station accessibility under requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act; and continuing the development of a next-generation reservation system.
Boardman explained these and other projects support a strong focus on strengthening the Amtrak bottom line and its strategic goals of safety and security, customer focus, mobility and connectivity, environment and energy, and financial and organizational excellence.
He added the projects for 2012 follow and enhance recent accomplishments including a new all-time ridership record of nearly 30.2 million passengers in FY 2011 – the eighth ridership record in the last nine years.
Among other major achievements in the past year, Amtrak also: made Wi-Fi available to 75% of all its passengers; launched an iPhone app; reduced its debt for the eighth consecutive year; and completed a massive renewal and integration of its financial, and procurement and materials management systems.