Happy Birthday! Amtrak Celebrates 43 Years

Ticket to the 10th Anniversary celebration in 1981.It’s our birthday! In celebration of our 43 years, we’re remembering our milestones from the past four decades. Travel back with us for a quick journey into our rich and prolific history:

Thanks to Congress passing the Rail Passenger Service Act of 1970, Amtrak took over the privately-run, intercity railroads and brought America aboard (across 21 routes in 43 states!) for the first time on May 1, 1971.

Although taking over these railroads came with some challenges, like old equipment, Amtrak worked hard to create a safer and faster railroad system. Throughout 1970s, Amtrak installed new electric heat and lighting systems, ordered a new fleet of single-level cars that could travel more quickly, and added roomier bi-level cars to ensure passenger comfort along our routes.

Whether it be introducing 1,436 new or rebuilt energy-efficient cars,  a computerized ticketing and reservation system or the high-speed Washington-New York Metroliner Service, Amtrak saw the benefits of our hard work in the 1980s with improved gear and faster train service.

In the 1990s, Amtrak focused on building the Acela Express by reconstructing the Northeast Corridor (NEC), upgrading the electric power system and partnering with Bombardier Transportation to ensure high-speed service to the Northeast. Zooming up to 150mph, the first Acela Express launched on December 11, 2000.

Today, Amtrak carries about 31.6 million people per year, serves more than 500 communities across the country, and is 14 percent more energy efficient than planes and 31 percent more efficient than cars.

So join us in celebrating! Here’s to the great American adventure, and of course … Amtrak!


Want to celebrate the big day with us? Join us for National Train Day on Saturday, May 10.