State of U.S. Passenger Rail – Nebraska

Amtrak ridership in Nebraska has increased 32% from 2003 to 2014, which puts it at the 28th fastest-growing state in the country – right in the middle of the pack. Its fastest growing stations are the quietest ones, a trend we’ve seen in many other states. Let’s take a closer look at the individual station trends after a word about the state’s train service.

Nebraska is served by Amtrak’s California Zephyr, a long-distance train with sleeper service that offers daily service between Chicago and the San Francisco Bay Area. The state has five stations, listed as follows based on their 2014 percentage of the state’s total ridership: Omaha (50%), Lincoln (27%), Hastings (11%), McCook (7%) and Holdrege (5%). This pie chart shows the breakdown visually. Make sure to click on 2014 to see the latest breakdown (the one recapped above).

Now let’s see how the number of passengers using each of the stations has risen and fallen over the years. This line chart shows it all.

Here’s how the ridership growth at each station from 2003 to 2014: Hastings, +89%; Lincoln, +64%; Holdrege, +54%; McCook, +40%; Omaha, +10%. This next graph shows how the state as a whole has grown over this time frame.

My only experience with Amtrak stations in Nebraska is at Omaha, where my wife and I alighted in 2013 to get to the start of RAGBRAI. No complaints on this end! It seemed like a very good station.

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