This past March was the best in history of Amtrak for the entire country, according to Washington Tourism Director Mary Beth Rettke.

And the Washington stop was up considerably as well, Rettke told The Missourian.

The Washington stop, which is part of the Missouri River Run between St. Louis and Kansas City, was up 11.24 percent this past March compared to March 2012.

“The on/offs (for March) totaled 1,139 for 2012 and 1,267 for 2013,” Rettke said.

For third quarter (fiscal year 2013), which runs January through March, 2013, the Washington stop was up 8.58 percent over last year during the same time period, Rettke reported.

“We saw the biggest increase in ridership of any stop on the Missouri River Runner,” she said. “Overall, the on/offs were 2,902 for the third quarter in 2012 and 3,151 for 2013.”

The largest number of arrivals at the Washington stop in the last two quarters have been from Kansas City, Lee Summit, Kirkwood and St. Louis, in that order.

“I have been very pleased with the increase we have seen,” Rettke said. “The Washington station continues to be a very popular stop on the Missouri River Runner line.”

Currently, the Washington station has four trains stopping daily — two eastbound and two westbound. The schedule is: Eastbound, 12:31 p.m. and 8:16 p.m. and Westbound, 10:21 a.m. and 5:06 p.m.

“Since we do not have a manned Amtrak station, we have our Visitor Center in the depot staffed seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.,” Rettke said.

“This time frame allows us to cover the first three trains of the day, greeting and helping people navigate Washington,” she said. “We are looking at starting some volunteers in the evening summer hours from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., which will cover the last (eastbound) train of the day.”