As I mentioned in a recent post (Rail Highlights - Amtrak California's Capitol Corridor), the Thanksgiving holiday season is the busiest time of the year for Amtrak. On my Thanksgiving weekend trip it was standing room only in several cars. Well, according to Amtrak estimates it looks like this year will set a new ridership record with an estimated 720,000 passengers over the Thanksgiving holiday travel week.
Amtrak's Vice President of Marketing and Product Management Emmet Fremaux stated that this was "due in part to increased capacity and the recent introduction of free Wi-Fi service on several of Amtrak's routes". Comparing Thanksgiving 2011 to Thanksgiving 2010, there was an estimated 2.2 percent increase in ridership nationwide. The previous Thanksgiving ridership records was set in 2010 with 704,446 passengers.
Amtrak gives credit to their operation of every available passenger rail car in its fleet and the scheduling of extra trains to accommodate additional passengers in the Northeast and on the West Coast. This was due in part to the slightly larger equipment fleet this year due to rehabilitated and refurbished railcars and locomotive engines that were recently restored to service.