Amtrak ridership increases in Minot, remains stable across N.D.

Amtrak ridership in Minot has more than rebounded from travel and depot disruptions that occurred following the 2011 flood.

For the fiscal year ended Oct. 1, the Minot station recorded 41,615 passengers getting on or off. That’s up from 40,360 passengers in 2010. Ridership had fallen to 29,179 in 2011 and rose to 37,169 in 2012. The 2013 ridership is nearly a 12 percent increase over last year.

Overall, Amtrak ridership of 154,800 through North Dakota reflected only 64 fewer passengers than in 2012.

The heaviest traffic was in Williston, with 51,076 passengers. Williston’s ridership was down from 54,324 in 2012, as was Stanley’s ridership, which dropped from 10,234 to 9,411 passengers.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari, Chicago, said station agents from Minot to Williston report a loss a ridership due to changes in work schedules in the oil field.

“The ‘two-weeks on, one-week off’ is less prevalent than it was before, now that the housing has started to catch up with the number of people wanting housing. So they are able to work more normal shifts. It would affect the number of people taking the train,” he said.

Both Williston and Stanley ridership remain at high levels in comparison to previous years, though. Williston’s ridership was 24,586 in 2010 and 29,920 in 2011. Stanley boarded and alighted 4,549 passengers in 2010 and 6,146 in 2011.

Other 2013 ridership numbers in North Dakota included 22,497 passengers in Fargo and 19,222 passengers in Grand Forks. Grand Forks was down 4.2 percent, while Fargo was up 10.8 percent.

Rugby’s 2013 ridership of 5,637 is down 20 percent from 7,057 passengers in 2012. Magliari said Rugby’s high 2012 number may have been skewed by increased usage of the depot due to interruptions in service in Minot following the flood. Rugby’s 2011 ridership was 6,106 and 2010 ridership was 6,409.

The Empire Builder route, from Chicago to Portland, Ore., and Seattle, boarded and disembarked 536,391 passengers in 2013, down 1.2 percent. However, revenues of $67.4 million were up 1.1. percent.

Amtrak carried a record 31.6 million passengers in Fiscal Year 2013. To celebrate the record, Amtrak is inviting passengers to share their rail travel stories and pictures on the Amtrak blog at (AmtrakStories.com) for a chance to win prizes.