AMTRAK ridership has taken off and last month was a big one for all of the passenger trains serving Missouri. AMTRAK has three routes in Missouri and all of them saw double-digit surges in ridership last month. The most prominent route is the Kansas City to St., Louis service, The Missouri River Runner trains, that showed an almost 26 percent increase in ridership in July, compared to July, 2009.
Ridership topped 22-thousand, almost a record high for a month, and the best total since July, 2001.
The transportation department’s railroads team leader, Rod Massman, says several factors are involved but one stands out. On time performance, he says, is “really, really good” and has stayed at that level for about two years.
July was a big month for other AMTRAK routes that serve Missouri. The Texas Eagle ridership from Chicago, through St.Lous to Poplar Bluff and on to San Antonio was up 13 percent. The Southwest Chief from Kansas City to La Plata and on to Chicago showed a 28 percent jump in rider numbers.
Massman says the department is looking for more federal grants to improve the Kansas City to St. Louis line to make sure passenger service continues to be on time as freight service regains strength in an improving economy.