Ridership last month was by far the highest ever recorded for Amtrak's Hiawatha service, the Milwaukee Chicago route. The state DOT's Chief of Railroads and Harbors Ron Adams says there was a forty percent increase in June of 2008 compared to last June's numbers. He calls high fuel prices the biggest reason for the people opting for rail service. Additionally, drivers taking Interstate 94 in Illinois have dealt with a lane closure since last spring causing long waits.
The DOT official says the route's popularity won't be slowing down anytime soon.
"Sometimes we are at capacity on some trains but we fully expect as gas prices stay where they are, we will continue to see rider ship growth."
The train route has seen 42 months of straight growth. Adams says even when gas prices were lower people were opting for the comfort of not having to drive.