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As Debts Mount, Amtrak Ridership Grows

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Passengers line up for the Northeast Regional Train at Union Station. The Washington to Boston region is Amtrak's most popular corridor. Last year, Amtrak carried nearly 10 million people along this route.
Asma Khalid
Passengers line up for the Northeast Regional Train at Union Station. The Washington to Boston region is Amtrak's most popular corridor. Last year, Amtrak carried nearly 10 million people along this route.

By Asma Khalid

Every year, Amtrak loses a lot of money, even though more people are riding the train.

Amtrak lost more than $1.5 billion, last year. But, it also had its second busiest year ever. The region with the most riders is right here, along the Northeast Corridor from Washington to Boston.

The problem is Amtrak has huge maintenance costs. Joe Boardman is the CEO of Amtrak.

"Amtrak is not just about profitability, it’s about the mobility of this country," says Boardman. "Amtrak provides the greatest level of mobility between New York and Washington, and that is how it should be in an energy-starved world."

Alice Thomas rides Amtrak. She's waiting in Union Station.

"If you want to get a couple of hours of work done, it's great to just jump on the train and do that. The only drawback is it's expensive," says Thomas.

Realizing the train is more convenient for some than an airplane, Boardman says the price tag should also be on par.

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