State of U.S. Passenger Rail – Mississippi

Amtrak ridership in Mississippi has grown 41% from 2003 to 2014, making it the 22nd fastest growing state in the country over that time frame. This healthy uptick took place despite Amtrak losing four stations and one of what had been three routes across the state when the Sunset Limited ceased serving areas east of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Today, Mississippi is home to 10 Amtrak stations served by two routes, the City of New Orleans and the Crescent. Let’s take a look at ridership trends across the state.

Below is a stacked column graph that shows the state’s annual ridership, broken down by station. The busiest station in the state is Jackson, the state capital. This station accounts for 43% of the state’s ridership as of 2014. Next come Greenwood, Hattiesburg and Meridian, which each account for between 10% and 15% of the state’s riders. In the third tier, we have the state’s remaining six stations, which each serve between 2% and 6% of the state’s riders.

In the chart above, note the pink sections of the first three bars. These are the Sunset Limited stations that lost service after 2005.

Now let’s look at the same information as a line chart.

This view highlights the dominance of Jackson. Ridership at Jackson has grown 69% over the timeframe, from 27,927 in 2003 to 47,295 in 2014, after reaching a high of 52,307 in 2010. Ridership growth has been stronger at Picayune, where it grew 80% over the timeframe, rising from 1,395 in 2003 to 2,517 in 2014. Rounding out the rest of the state’s stations, we have: Hattiesburg (+61%), Greenwood (+60%), Hazlehurst (+47%), Brookhaven (+46%), McComb (+42%), Yazoo City (+31%), Laurel (unchanged), and Meridian (-8%).

Now let’s look at a pie chart showing the same information, with the stations grouped by route.

In these charts, Jackson, served by the City of New Orleans, is broken out separately, and the five other stations on the City of New Orleans are grouped together in the light blue slice. These are Brookhaven, Greenwood, Hazelhurst, McComb, and Yazoo City. The four stations on the Crescent, namely Hattiesburg, Laurel, Meridian and Picayune, are grouped together as well. And finally, the stations that had been served by the Sunset Limited are grouped together in pink slice: Bay St. Louis, Biloxi, Gulfport and Pascagoula.

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