The surprising comeback of train travel

Moore is not the only one dedicated to passenger rail. There has been a 51% increase in ridership from 2001 to 2013 on Amtrak rail lines alone, according to Jim Mathews, the president of National Association of Railroad Passengers. More business travelers, students and people from the Northeast, Midwest and Western United States are turning to trains for their work and vacation travels.

Matt Hardison, a spokesman for Amtrak, the national rail operator, says the longstanding rumors from the 1980s that passenger rail is dying have changed. In the past 10 to 15 years, rail travel has seen a significant rise in ridership. “Rail has seen a real renaissance in the last decade,” he says. “It’s been a great time to be here. People are turning to rail for inter-city travel.”

From October 2012 to September 2013, “Amtrak welcomed aboard nearly 31.6 million passengers, the largest annual total in its history,” according to its website. Some rail stations are brimming at capacity, Hardison says. For example, Pennsylvania Station in New York sees 650,000 passengers a day buzzing through. The Northeast Corridor, Amtrak’s busiest railroad, has more than 2,200 trains operating on the Washington-Boston route each day.