If You Add It, They Will Come

After much prodding of state, local and federal governments – and Amtrak, too – rail service between Boston and Portland, Maine, was begun in 2001. Since then, ridership on the Downeaster has steadily increased with new records being set every year … more than 475,000 last year with projections for yet another increase this year.

Comes now the latest bit of good news: Downeaster service will be extended some 30 miles farther up the Maine coast to Brunswick. New track will have to be laid, but the extended service should be in place in a bit over two years. Estimates are that another 36,000 passengers should then be added to the Downeaster’s ridership.

Meanwhile, Amtrak has added another daily train to its Piedmont service, operating between Raleigh and Charlotte, North Carolina. The result? An increase of some 10,000 passengers in the month of June compared to June of last year.

This happens over and over again. The more frequency you add, the more passengers you will attract to rail service … and the more cars are taken off the highways, which reduces congestion and pollution and saves money and … and etcetera and so forth.

Yet the anti-rail ideologues persist. Because, of course, they are ideologues.