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Published October 16, 2013, 08:51 AM

Amtrak ridership rebounds in Minot after flood

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — Amtrak ridership in Minot has rebounded from travel and depot disruptions following Souris River flooding two summers ago.

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — Amtrak ridership in Minot has rebounded from travel and depot disruptions following Souris River flooding two summers ago.

The river in June 2011 swamped the train station and shut it down for five months, forcing passengers that normally would get on or off the train in Minot to do so in Stanley, Rugby or Williston.

For the fiscal year that ended this Oct. 1, the Minot station recorded 41,615 passengers, the Minot Daily News reported. That was up significantly from 29,179 passengers in 2011 and 37,169 last year, and also slightly higher than the 40,360 passengers in 2010, before the flood.

Amtrak ridership in the recently ended fiscal year fell slightly in the western oil patch cities of Williston and Stanley. Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari cited changes in work schedules in the oil fields.

"The 'two-weeks on, one-week off' is less prevalent than it was before, now that the housing has started to catch up with the number of people wanting housing," he said. "So they are able to work more normal shifts. It would affect the number of people taking the train."

Williston, the hub city of the oil patch that has boomed in recent years, still had the heaviest traffic in the state, with 51,076 passengers. Williston's ridership was 24,586 just three years ago.

Amtrak's Empire Builder route between Chicago and Seattle crosses through northern North Dakota and the central Red River Valley. Total ridership of 154,800 passengers through North Dakota in fiscal 2013 reflected only 64 fewer passengers than in 2012.

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