State of U.S. Passenger Rail – Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s rail ridershp has surged nearly 70% from 2003 to 2014, making it the 14th fastest growing state in the country over the dozen year time frame we’re looking at in these posts. That growth is entirely due to the success of the Heartland Flyer, Amtrak‘s daily train between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth, Texas, where it connects to the Texas Eagle. The Flyer was inaugurated in 1999, making it Amtrak’s second-newest train after the Downeaster. This graph shows the ridership on the line.

Even though it has come down from a high in May 2012 of 7,448, average daily ridership on the Heartland Flyer is still up 45% over the last 12 years, rising from 4,086 as of December 2003 to 5,940 as June 2015.

Now let’s look at the train’s individual stations in Oklahoma. First, let’s look at the pie chart showing the whole state’s ridership broken down by station.

As of 2014, Oklahoma City accounts for 63% of Oklahoma’s riders, Norman is next at 17%, Ardmore has 11%, Pauls Valley has 7%, and Purcell has 2%. Next, let’s turn to a line graph showing how those station’s have grown over the years.

The remarkable thing about Oklahoma is that is the first state we’ve come across where no station is overtaking another one. While all of the ridership levels have increased over time, they had maintained the same rank order. Passenger volume at Oklahoma City has increased 76%, rising from 29,579 in 2003 to 52,099 in 2014, and one would think it’s the fastest growing station in the state. It isn’t. That distinction belongs to Norman, which grew 83% over the same time frame, rising from 7,619 in 2003 to 13,978 in 2014. Ardmore has risen 60%, Pauls Valley is up 36%, and Purcell is up 10%.

Now let’s look at how these stations add up into entire state’s total with a stacked column graph.

Recapping where we started things off in this post, Oklahoma train ridership is up 69.6% over the past dozen years, rising from 48,841 in 2003 to 82,855 in 2014. Another way of looking at that is that Oklahoma City by itself has more passengers in 2014 than the entire state did in 2003.

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