Sunday, May 1, 2016
Happy 45th Birthday Amtrak: A Message from Joe Boardman
Happy birthday Amtrak! Forty-five years ago today, Amtrak began operations over a national network serving 43 states and the District of Columbia. Congress, recognizing that a “modern, efficient, intercity railroad passenger service is a necessary part of a balanced transportation system…,” had created Amtrak the previous year. The new company, formally known as the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, subsequently consolidated the services of more than a dozen railroads into a true national system – America’s Railroad.
Over the next four-and-a-half decades, Amtrak expanded services in partnership with federal and state governments, introduced technological innovations for greater efficiency and customer satisfaction, launched high-speed rail in North America with Acela Express and successfully managed the Northeast Corridor (NEC) – the busiest, most complex rail line on the continent. Significant growth resulted from these efforts, so that last year, Amtrak carried 30.8 million passengers on more than 300 daily trains serving over 500 communities.
Enhancements like eTicketing and mobile apps have made it easier than ever to book and change reservations, while Wi-Fi connections, available on trains carrying 91 percent of all customers, help you stay connected on the go.
Recognizing that pets are part of the family too, we’ve implemented a program that allows customers to travel with their small cat or dog on select trains. Cycling enthusiasts are taking advantage of expanded walk-on/walk-up bicycle service to access popular recreational areas in the communities we serve. And to top it off, we refreshed our Amtrak Guest Rewards program so that it’s simpler to earn and redeem reward points.
Looking to the future of intercity passenger rail, our vision incorporates new and rebuilt infrastructure, next-generation equipment, reimagined stations and customer experience enhancements shaped by your feedback. In the next few years, expect to see additional single-level dining and sleeping cars enter service on Eastern trains, as well as new high-speed trainsets on the NEC. I believe we can and will continue to build an even better Amtrak in the years to come.
As I near retirement after almost eight years with America’s Railroad, I can truly say that leading Amtrak has been one of the highlights in a career that spans business ownership and public service at the state and federal levels. The men and women of Amtrak never cease to amaze me in their dedication to moving America where it wants to go with superior safety, customer service and financial excellence.
In a world marked by an abundance of choice, I thank you for choosing Amtrak to meet your travel needs. Your continued support and interest in intercity passenger rail drives all of us to work harder to improve and strengthen the railroad today, and for the generations to follow. We hope to see you onboard soon!
Amtrak President and CEO