Train ridership skyrocketing in Badger State

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

From an article by Kate McGinty in the Appleton Post-Crescent:

Wisconsinites are jumping on trains at record-shattering highs — and that demand could help the state expand train service into the Fox Valley.

Two Amtrak trains now run through Wisconsin. The popular Hiawatha track, which takes passengers between Chicago and Milwaukee, scored 607,000 rides in the last 10 months. That’s up 24.2 percent from the year before.

The state also reported an all-time monthly record passenger count on that track in July, with 78,644 rides. That is a 37.6 percent increase over the same month last year.

"The public is clamoring for this kind of thing. We have got extremely strong demand for our service," said Randy Wade, passenger rail manager for the state Department of Transportation.

Because of the high demand, the state wants to extend the service into northeast Wisconsin. Right now, the tracks are limited to Milwaukee and the western edge of the state.