Why long distance passenger trains?
Long distance passenger trains through the United States serve a very vital purpose in connecting rural, outstate areas to more urban centers. Often times, especially in the Western United States, train service is the only link many people have as bus and airway services are reduced or eliminated. This fact is highlighted by routes such as the Empire Builder, and Southwest Chief for example, that serve very remote areas of the west. Long distance trains also service quite effectively what are called "city pairs." This means a passenger not travelling the entire route of the Empire Builder, but travelling say between the Twin Cities and Williston, North Dakota. The fifteen long distance routes that Amtrak currently operates service hundreds of these "city pairs" and provide a valuable service to almost half of Amtrak's annual ridership ( measured in passenger miles, which means one passenger hauled one mile).
This section of the site goes into detail about services offered on the various types of Amtrak trains, along with the mobility, economic, environmental, and other benefits that long distance rail passenger service offers as part of a balanced transportation network. If you have any further questions, please contact us. We are always happy to discuss this topic!