LONGVIEW (KYTX) -- All aboard! More people than ever are choosing to hop onto the Amtrak train in Longview to travel to their destination. The city of Longview has big plans for Texas Eagle.
Revenue for Texas Eagle Amtrak nationally is up by about 7% this past year. "That mirrors what has taken place here locally," says Griff Hubbard manager at Longview's Amtrak station. "The local station is now handling 97 ticketed passengers per day 365 days a year."
For Longview that means a 5% increase and about an 8% revenue increase over last year making Longview the 4th highest ridership location in the entire state. "One of the reasons is that Longview is a junction point between Galveston and Shreveport Bossier. Passengers traveling to and from this region use Longview as their rail passenger station," says Griff.
The city took possession of the depot about a year ago bringing about lots of changes. Most recently a new temporary waiting area brought about by Mayor Jay Dean and council woman Kasha Williams, "They were having such huge ridership with about 100 people coming through a day but only had 23 seats so they actually opened up this room here for space and places as a place to relax while you wait on your next train," says city Community Relations Manager Shawn Hara.
For Griff Hubbard, Texas Eagle Amtrak serves to fulfill a real public need while bringing new interest to the city. "Even people who don't get off the train in Longview are looking out the window and Longview as a destination," says Griff.
The city is also busy working on restoring the old depot. Those renovations should be complete by 2013. The Texas Eagle provides daily passenger rail service that goes from Chicago through east Texas to San Antonio and Los Angeles.