Amtrak touts ridership record in 2013 fiscal year

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More people have ridden Amtrak trains this year than any year in the rail system’s 42 years of operation, officials with the company said on Monday.

Amtrak said it carried 31.6 million passengers in the fiscal year that ended at the end of September, up from 31.2 million in 2012.

The ridership represents a new record for Amtrak usage, and the company said

"Amtrak moves people, the economy and the nation forward everywhere the trains go," Amtrak CEO Joe Boardman said in a statement.

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"In towns all across America, Amtrak brings economic opportunities for people, businesses and communities to grow and prosper," Amtrak Board of Directors Chairman Tony Coscia added.

Amtrak said 2013 was the 11th consecutive year in which it broke a previous ridership record.

The company said 15.4 million of its 2013 riders were on shorter “state-supported” routes that have been promoted under the 2008 Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act (PRIIA). Amtrak added that 11.4 million riders rode trains on its popular Northeast routes, which it is said was the second best ridership in the region.

The remaining 4.8 million riders came on Amtrak’s long-distance intercity routes, which have proven to be a source of contention with Congress because they tend to lose money.

Amtrak said the 2013 ridership was its best performance on long-distance routes in 20 years.