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Tue Jun 8, 2021, 09:47 PM

Special Report: Passenger Rail Stat Snapshot

Special Report: Passenger Rail Stat Snapshot
The light at the end of the pandemic’s tunnel seems to be getting closer with each passing week as new vehicle orders and infrastructure projects continue to progress.

Mischa Wanek-Libman
Jun 8th, 2021

In a typical pre-pandemic year, rail modes would account for nearly half of U.S. transit ridership. However, passenger rail providers are contending with deeper ridership reductions and many have not experienced the start of rebounds that bus modes have seen.

However, the industry is fighting to keep rail modes robust and viable options within the mobility mix through advocacy efforts and continued investment.

In late May, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) submitted testimony for the record to the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure urging the establishment of a passenger rail trust fund.

“Passenger rail is an underutilized mode, and ripe to connect with national and local transportation networks and rural areas with high-performance corridor services. These services will relieve congestion on highways and airspace and provide efficient, accessible, equitable and environmentally friendly mobility options. New and reinvigorated rail corridors will have multiple users and would connect seamlessly with Amtrak and local and regional public transit services,” APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas wrote. “Dedicated funding for passenger rail is critical to realize these goals.”


In April, the Chicago Transit Authority began to introduce its new 7000-series railcars into service on the Blue Line. The new cars incorporate additional safety and comfort amenities such as an active vehicle suspension system, new passenger information displays and a new interior seating configuration.

Sound Transit in Seattle, Wash., put its first Series 2 cars into service in May. The Series 2 cars have larger windows, wider center aisles, more room to stow luggage, seating for 70 and dynamic information displays. ..........(more)


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