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Universal Orlando's 'Hogwarts Express' is Totally Showing Up Actual Amtrak Trains

August 11, 2014 at 11:35 AM | by | Comment (1)

Already?!

That's the question being exclaimed by visitors to Universal Studios Orlando, as the theme park has announced that their newest ride—the Hogwarts Express within The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley—just surpassed 1 million riders.

This train, a ride experience we heralded as "the most attractive ride at Universal Orlando" and which became our favorite of all at the park, only opened to the public on July 8, 2014. On August 7, the Universal Orlando Facebook page announced they'd reached the million riders, conveniently one day short of the ride's one month anniversary.

To put these numbers in perspective, note that in 2013 Amtrak carried 31.6 million passengers. That's roughly 2.6 million per month, a total culled from 305 trains, traveling over 21,000 miles of track.

The Hogwarts Express, which is one train traveling on less than one mile of track, has managed to do nearly half that business. As word spreads about the opening of the train and Diagon Alley, the Hogwarts Express can only expect more passengers. We wonder how the annual totals will compare in 2015, when the Hogwarts Express celebrates its first anniversary. At this rate, they'll also be welcoming more than 10 million riders by mid-summer 2015. Amtrak wishes they could boast the same, for even just one of their trains.

[Photos: Steven Drescher, Universal Orlando Facebook]

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Silly Comparison

What a remarkably silly comparison. Even if you ignore the fact that you can't legitimately compare a theme park attraction to real-world transportation systems, it's still a failed analysis.

Universal managed to move 1 million people a total of 1 million miles. Although they don't publish the statistic, I'm fairly certain that the average Amtrak passenger travels more an one mile each trip. Therefore, Amtrak will have moved their 2.6 million passengers a heck of lot further than 2.6 million miles.

There's nothing wrong with these types of stories. They're cute. But, there's no need to slam Amtrak.

Plus, it's just as easy to make Universal look bad if you choose arbitrary statistics. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) of New York has 2.3 billion riders annually. I bet Universal wished they could boast the same.

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