Here is the first article I've found on the Illinois service that offers hard numbers matched up to an exact listing of what trains they're talking about:
http://www.register-mail.com/stories/12 ... .GID.shtml
>Magliari said November ridership this year compared to November 2005 was 14,103, an increase of 3,634 from 10,469. That was for both the Illinois Zephyr and the Carl Sandburg. Including all service between Chicago and Galesburg, including the Southwest Chief, the California Zephyr and the state-subsidized trains, ridership was up this year from 12,885 to 16,597, an increase of 3,712.
From this, you can figure out in a given month that:
the Ill Zephyr was carrying 10,469
The Chief and Cal Zephyr - 2,316 [between Chgo & Galesburg]
The new service has increased Amtrak's portion of the market by 28% (whereas the figure touted in previous press releases, 37%, was artificially inflated by computing the increase only for 'state supported trains.')
28% is quite good, I think. I can understand why the proponents would muddy the water with the misleading figure, but I think the real figure is more impressive, if you understand it - adding 33% more service increased the ridership by almost that much. I was less impressed with the idea that adding 100% more service (ie, doubling the number of state-supported trains) brought in only 37% growth.
It's interesting that the two LD trains carry such a small portion of the traffic. I wonder whether the reason is primarily:
1) cost (does Amtrak charge significantly more in order to free up seats for passengers riding farther?);
2) schedule (are the departure times geared for the LD market, and therefore less suitable for the types of trips people are taking within Illinois?); or
3) time-keeping (do the LD trains have such a reputation for being off-schedule that people are aware, and hence book themselves on the local instead?).
or maybe something else I'm not thinking of.