Amtrak is the name of an intercity passenger train system created on May 1, 1971 in the United States. Amtrak is a independent public government corporation, however it is entirely owned by the United States government. The name Amtrak is a combination of the words American and Track; the official name of the public corporation that owns Amtrak is the National Railroad Passenger Corporation. In the United Kingdom, Amtrak is the name of a parcel delivery company. The two companies are not related.
Amtrak owns 730 route miles of track including 17 tunnels consisting of 29.7 miles of track and 1,186 bridges (including the famous Hell Gate Bridge) consisting of 42.5 miles of track in its network of 22,000 miles of routes. This rail network serves 500 communities in 46 of the United States, with some of these routes serving communities in Canadian provinces along the United States border. The states which are not served by Amtrak trains are Alaska, Hawaii, South Dakota, and Wyoming. However, Wyoming is served by Amtrak's Thruway Motorcoaches. As a general rule, even-numbered routes run north and east while odd numbered routes run south and west. However, some routes, such as the Pacific Surfliners, use the exact opposite numbering system, which they inherited from the previous operators of similar routes, such as the Santa Fe Railroad.
Amtrak employs over 22,000 people and receives a great deal of federal government funding, leading to recurring debates over its elimination. However, recently government funding of Amtrak has been greatly increased. In fiscal year 2001, Amtrak served more than 23.5 million passengers, and despite an overall decrease in travel, Amtrak served more than 23.4 million passengers in fiscal year 2002. Through its various commuter services, Amtrak serves an additional 61.1 million passengers per year in conjunction with state and regional authorities in California, Maryland, Connecticut, and Virginia: