Amtrak plans to expand the direct Acela service it launched on the Northeast Corridor this fall, and major plans to expand short-haul traffic across the country.
The nonstop Acela service currently operates with just one round trip between New York's Penn Station and Washington Union Station, but Amtrak plans to add direct trains in both directions during the fall hours, CEO Richard Anderson said Friday during Amtrak's fiscal year 2019 call for revenue. In addition, it wants to expand the nonstop service north between New York and Boston South Station.
The extra direct trains will be part of a planned service plan for the Northeast Corridor. Acela limited-stop trains would be one level below, followed by Northeast Regional trains, and finally a new level of service that would make all local stops on routes between Richmond, Virginia and Maine.
"The idea must be to serve every municipality that we touch up and down the corridor," Anderson said.
Related: Amtrak to launch Newstop Acela Service between New York and Washington
The expanded Acela service plan is part of a larger investment program, which includes new train sets with updated interiors to come in operation in 2021.
Anderson's vision for Amtrak in the Northeast is part of a larger strategy to get the national railroad on a firmer financial footing. He sees a future in which Amtrak self-finances operations, with federal and state funding going exclusively to capital investment, like a new tunnel between New Jersey and New York under the Hudson River.
Amtrak dramatically reduced its annual operating loss to $ 29.8 million during the fiscal year ending September, compared to $ 171 million the year before.
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Amtrak also sees growth opportunities outside the Northeast Corridor. The coming year plans to add frequencies to the busy routes between Chicago and Milwaukee, Los Angeles and San Diego and Seattle and Portland, Oregon.
Anderson's ambitions for Amtrak do not stop at extra frequencies on a few routes. He commented on a vision where the passenger lane of corridors up to 300 miles is a frequent and reliable alternative to flying and driving throughout the United States
“It is inevitable that short-haul trains will grow in America because we do not have the highways , ”He said – a vision he also had five years ago when he was CEO of Delta Air Lines.
Related: Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner is the best route from Los Angeles to San Diego
This vision of expanded short-haul passenger trains requires funding from both federal and state governments, Anderson said.
Anderson's latest comments come as Americans increasingly take the train. Amtrak riders grew 2.5% year over year to 32.5 million rides during the fiscal year ended September. The Northeast Corridor, the busiest route, increased by 3.3% to 12.5 million trips.
Featured image of Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg via Getty Images.
Are senior reports for airlines at The Points Guy. Edward joined the TPG team in June 2019 after seven years at FlightGlobal.