CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Millions of people are heading out for the holiday weekend, and that means it's a busy day for train travel.
Amtrak’s Marc Magliari said Wednesday is the second busiest travel day of the year for the trains.
“The fact is we have more than 10,000 customers coming through Chicago’s Union Station today on Amtrak trains,” Magliari said.
With much of the emphasis put on the roadways and the airways for holiday travel, though, Magliari said most forget that rail travel is enormous.
“Train 393 this evening, to Carbondale, has almost 400 customers on it,” he said. “That’s the same as almost, what, four or six regional jets.”
The busiest day, Magliari said, is the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
“We’ve seen week-to-week ridership growth,” he said. “We’re right now at the 80% – 90% [range], depending on which of our products you’re talking about.”
As Metra and airlines work to get their staff back up to pre-pandemic numbers, Amtrak is doing the same. Masks are optional for those traveling this year, though there are some limitations on baggage.
“We might have the most generous carry-on baggage allowance of the industry, but still, taking more than 150 pounds of fruitcake with you really exceeds the limit,” Magliari said.
Magliari said if you are planning Christmas travel on Amtrak, book now.