It was a record-setting year for the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad in 2016.
Overall ridership was a record 214,063 while the National Park Scenic enjoyed record patronage of 117,478.
The previous overall ridership record was 210,347 in 2012. Since then, ridership has been in the range of 186,000 to 185,000.
Although not setting any records, The Polar Express carried more than 42,000 in 2016. Traditionally, it has accounted for 20 percent of the CVSR’s annual ridership.
“The staff and volunteers of CVSR are pleased that so many people chose our trains as a way to experience Cuyahoga Valley National Park,” said Kim Gillan-Shafron CVSR vice president-marketing & community alliances in a news release.
Aside from viewing the scenery of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the CVSR offers various theme trains, including a few new ones in 2016.
Aside from the long-standing dinner trains, and beer and wine tastings fare, the CVSR hosted Read Aboard, the first summer reading program aboard the train; Royalty on the Rails and the Superhero train, excursions for children to meet and greet with their favorite characters on the train.
The CVSR began operations in 1975 as the Cuyahoga Valley Line. It suspended operations in 1986 and 1987 after CSX abandoned the tracks used by the CVL between Akron and Independence.
The National Park Service subsequently bought the rails used by the CVSR and has invested more than $30 million into improving and maintaining the railroad’s infrastructure.