New Haven part of Amtrak’s record ridership

NEW HAVEN -- It’s well documented that Thanksgiving week is the busiest travel week of the year and Amtrak expects America will continue saying "all aboard!"

Amtrak had a record year in 2018, with nearly 32 million passengers, marking the eighth consecutive year Amtrak has carried more than 30 million customers.

One of the train stations the holiday hustle is on: New Haven's Union Station.

"Heading home for Thanksgiving," said one woman, waiting for a train to Baltimore from New Haven with her son.

And traveling by train appears to be the preferred mode for many.

"Last year we had our busiest week in company (Amtrak) history during Thanksgiving week with more than 777,000 people across the entire country," said Jason Abrams, an Amtrak spokesperson.

"I think the training is pretty convenient," said Louise Lu, who attends school in Hartford and was returning to Philadelphia for the holiday. "It’s quiet. The environment is pretty good and it’s on time."

But, like the roads, trains are congested.

"You do have to travel from one car to the next to find a seat at times," said Sally Bonina of Shelton, who was headed to visit her two sons near Boston. "So, I’m hoping by leaving on Tuesday this year that my mom and I will have an easy time."

It will be easier if you arrive early because there are no assigned seats, except in first class aboard an Acela train.

"We also always recommend people to have their chargers handy because once you get on the train, there are outlets at every seat, free WiFi available this way you don’t have to lose any juice," said the Amtrak spokesman.

The busiest day in company history was the Sunday following Thanksgiving last year.

"More than 160,000 people across the network," Abrams said of that day's total passengers. Over 18,000 riders originated in New Haven during the 2017 Thanksgiving week.

Of course, there’s another bonus if you travel by train: You might have the opportunity to ride backwards.

Amtrak operates approximately 46 trains in Connecticut with Acela Express, Regional, and Vermonter service, making New Haven the 17th busiest station in the Amtrak national system.