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In fiscal year 2016, Amtrak served 31.3 million passengers and had $2.192 billion in revenue, while employing more than 20,000 people.

New streamlined diesel-powered trains such as the Pioneer Zephyr were popular with the traveling public but could not reverse the trend.

On the day it started, Amtrak was given the responsibility of rerouting passenger trains from the seven train terminals in Chicago (La Salle, Dearborn, Grand Central, Randolph, Chicago Northwestern Terminal, Central, and Union) into just one, Union Station.

In New York City, Amtrak had to pay to maintain both Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal because of the lack of track connections to bring trains from upstate New York into Penn Station, a problem not rectified until the building of the Empire Connection in 1991.

They conceived the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (NRPC), a private entity that would receive taxpayer funding and assume operation of intercity passenger trains.

Nearly everyone involved expected the experiment to be short-lived.

Amtrak serves more than 500 destinations in 46 states and three Canadian provinces, operating more than 300 trains each day over 21,300 miles (34,000 km) of track.

Some track sections allow trains to run as fast as 150 mph (240 km/h).

Amtrak soon had the opportunity to acquire rights-of-way.