The Amtrak system has succeeded in stopping the decline in passenger train ridership and has generated modest but relatively steady increases in ridership since 1972. Between 1972 and 1991, passenger miles increased by 106 percent. Nothing remotely comparable occurred during private operation of passenger trains in the postwar era.
In the broadest sense the results of this analysis confirm the view that passengers can be attracted to passenger trains. Amtrak's management has pursued a variety of strategies to enhance the appeal and convenience of train travel; modernization of equipment, improved ticketing and reservation systems, and nationwide and regional advertising campaigns are among the tactics that have been employed to boost ridership. 24 The combined effect of these efforts is clear. The Amtrak system has been able to tap some of the growing travel demand generated by an expanding economy and competitive prices, an achievement unmatched by private U.S. passenger trains since World War II.