SPRINGFIELD — Ridership on Amtrak’s New Haven- Springfield route rose 36% over the recently completed fiscal year, part of a healthy year for train travel in Western Massachusetts.
There were 324,342 riders in fiscal year 2022 and 442,028 in fiscal 2023, Amtrak said in recently published figures.
Amtrak passenger counts through Springfield’s Union Station were up as well. There were 56,279 on and 56,479 off in fiscal 2022 for 112,758 total. There were 76,076 who got on at Springfield Union station in the 12 months that ended in September 2023 and 73,296 who arrived here for a total of 149,372. That’s a 32% increase.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation, federal government, CSX and Amtrak are working on improving passenger service headed east and west from Springfield to Boston with Union Station as its hub.
Nationally, the passenger railroad provided 28.6 million passenger trips in the fiscal year, a 24.6% increase, according to its news release. The fiscal year ended in September.
Ridership on Amtrak’s Vermonter train — Washington, D.C., to St. Albans stopping in Springfield and other cities — was up 14% from 87,282 to 99,974.
Passenger ridership on the summer-only New York City-to-Pittsfield Berkshire Flyer was up 487% from 819 to 1,210.
Overall, ridership was up 29% on all Northeast Regional trains.
Fresh numbers for the Valley Flyer — running from Springfield to Holyoke, Northampton and Greenfield — were not available. But that service boasted about 14,000 riders in the 2022 fiscal year.
The Connecticut Department of Transportation said its Hartford Line service from New Haven to Springfield continues to rebound post pandemic with the 77,362 people who rode any part of that line in October 112% above pre-pandemic 2019 ridership.
Amtrak added in June two new daily Springfield-to- New-York trains to its Northeast Regional schedule, making it easier for travelers to spend a full day in the city without changing trains in New Haven.
In September, U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal and Gov. Maura T. Healey announced that the state, Amtrak and freight railroad CSX received $108 million from the federal government for track work between Springfield and Worcester.
Once the rail improvements happen, Amtrak plans to add two new daily train trips between Boston, Worcester and Springfield as a first phase of expanding what’s now an inconvenient once-a-day service provided by the Boston-to-Chicago Lake Shore Limited.
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