The new MPR is out. The following routes are above their 2019 YTD levels. The Missouri River Runner has fallen off this list. The CONO and WAS-RVR were added.
- Ethan Allen (15,800 from 8,500)
- Vermonter (21,300 from 17,800)
- Maple Leaf (70,900 from 62,700)
- Springfield Shuttle (74,000 from 69,900)
- Heartland Flyer (12,500 from 11,900)
- Blue Water (29,100 from 27,600)
- Roanoke Regionals (58,700 from 41,700)
- Cannonball (78,300 from 62,300)
- Richmond Regionals (21,700 from 20,200)
- Pere Marquette (15,300 from 14,400)
- Carolinian (54,600 from 42,800)
- Piedmont (52,600 from 43,400)
- City of New Orleans (38,000 from 37,100)
- Texas Eagles (51,200 from 51,200)*
- Sunset Limited (14,600 from 14,200)
- Coast Starlight (70,000 from 67,500)
- Lakeshore Limited (66,200 from 61,400)
- Crescent (46,100 from 46,100)
- Auto Train (44,700 from 34,300)
These routes are within 5%. The NER, IL Zephyr, and Palmetto have slipped off. The Pennsylvanian and WAS-NPN climbed on.
- Empire South (205,800 from 216,200)
- Washington to Newport News (58,800 from 61,700)
- Pennsylvanian (35,300 from 36,500)
- Silver Star (55,900 from 57,700)
*Ties get benefit of the doubt
Honorable mention goes again to the Ethan Allen, which is running nearly double its 2019 ridership, although that strangely low average miles per trip persists.
There was also good news from the bigger corridors. The Keystone, San Joaquin, Capitol Corridor, Wolverine, and Lincoln Service all carried more passengers in November than October, which as I understand it is abnormal (November has on less day and traffic tends to slow in the fall.) This could be taken as a sign of recovery.
Also the Virginia Services via Richmond are incredible. Ridership is up 51% in 3 years despite COVID. The Piedmont, Carolinian, and Roanoke Regionals are up about 20% a piece.
And finally, the Heartland Flyer carried more than 100 passengers per train this month, possibly for the first time ever, but someone would have to check me. Unfortunately, it seems that this year it will become the least used train in the system because of the incredible growth of the Ethan Allen.
And this is old news, but it the Cardinal were run daily, its ridership and passenger miles would be greater than the Capitol Limited. Just a bit weird to think about.
You missed out on the Norfolk Regionals. Going via FY19, the increase is: 78,300 (from 28,150). Going via FY20 (CY19), it's 78,300 from 62,300. [Norfolk getting a train that didn't
leave at 0600 did wonders, and doing it by "stealing" 94/95 from NPN certainly didn't hurt. So FY19->FY20 saw a massive surge there. Of course, Norfolk also added a midday train in the last few months (which, while it doesn't have huge ridership, helps the overall situation for Hampton Roads). Now if only Norfolk trains could viably serve Main Street Station...
Let's also look at "VA as a whole" for a second. In FY19 (CY18 so far), ridership on the four routes for October was 75,869. In FY20 (CY19 so far), for October it was 98,100. For FY23 (CY22 so far), it's 104,600.
The November data adds up October and November...but we can subtract October's report from November's report to get November's data. That will yield 83,342 for FY19; 87,800 for FY20; and 112,900 for FY23.
Comparing data across the three years, December 2019 got a bump from where Thanksgiving landed (in 2018, it was a full week earlier - look up "Republican Thanksgiving" or "Franksgiving for a fun bit of history), as the post-Thanksgiving Sunday was in December. The result in VA was that while November ridership was relatively "flat" (ridership was "only" up 4,500-ish in November FY20 while it had been up 28,700-ish). My best guess for December would put ridership...somewhere in the 115k ballpark, presuming some lost connections from the winter storm and so on getting balanced out by the airline meltdowns. Note that at just under 120k, it becomes VA's best month ever for ridership.
As a note, there's a chance that the new Norfolk train is "stealing" some ridership from the other midday/afternoon trains. Previously at RVR, there was nothing NB between the Carolinian (1400-ish) and the Palmetto (1700-ish). The NB Palmetto may also be getting "boxed in" by the shifted NPN train, which is only about an hour behind it (1735) instead of closer to 2.5 hours (1900), and looking at RPA's data, RVR-WAS was the Palmetto's #1 city pair not internal to the NEC...and trains coming from NPN/NFK are far
less likely to get held up badly than trains coming from Charlotte and Savannah. I ran into this a few weeks ago (I was going to take the Palmetto and ended up on the NPN train because the Palmetto wound up behind the NPN train). But overall, VA ridership does seem to be comfortably up.
Edit to add on the last point:
On the "old" timetable, you had the following NB Trains out of RVR:
1216: #92 (MIA)
1412: #80 (CLT)
1714: #90 (SAV)
1900: #66 (NPN)
As of now, the afternoon out of RVR looks like this:
1239: #92 (MIA)
1411: #80 (CLT)
1510: #138 (NFK)
1641: #90 (SAV)
1735: #186 (NPN)
Essentially, instead of three trains spread over five hours, it's four trains over four and a half hours.