Amtrak launches new passenger-rail service in Virginia

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine today joined Gov. Linwood Holton, Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman, Norfolk Southern CEO Wick Moorman and state and local officials on a Whistle Stop Train Tour to launch new passenger rail service between Lynchburg and Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor. Beginning October 1, Amtrak Virginia, a partnership between the Commonwealth of Virginia and Amtrak, will expand daily round-trip service between Lynchburg, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York, Boston and many other cities in between.

“By linking communities along the US 29 corridors with Washington, D.C., and numerous destinations in the Northeast, Virginia and our partners have taken a significant first step toward expanding passenger rail service today while providing more transportation choices for travelers and businesses,” Kaine said. “The expanded service will support economic growth and benefit the environment by taking more cars off the road, improving air quality, and saving fuel.”

“Amtrak is pleased to partner with Virginia to offer another transportation option to connect people and businesses between Lynchburg and Washington, D.C.,” said Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman. “The new service doubles the available passenger rail service for many Central Virginia residents, offering them a direct link to major destinations along the Northeast Corridor.”

“We recognize that passenger rail service is a critical element in addressing our nation’s transportation challenges,” said Norfolk Southern CEO Wick Moorman. “Norfolk Southern is proud to have worked closely with the Commonwealth and Amtrak to provide this new service.”

The new service, originating from Lynchburg, makes stops in Charlottesville, Culpeper, Manassas, Burke Centre, Alexandria, Washington, D.C., and as far north as Boston, with round trip service seven days a week. The additional departure times from Lynchburg are 7:38 a.m. during the weekdays and 9:59 a.m. during the weekends.

The expanded service is made possible through a public-private partnership among Amtrak, the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, Norfolk Southern and CSX. The Commonwealth is Amtrak’s 15th state partner. This partnership marks the first time in history that Virginia has invested in intercity passenger rail service. Virginia’s investment for the two routes is $17.2 million over a three-year demonstration period. Afterward, a dedicated funding source must be identified to continue to operate the service.

Amtrak Virginia is a program developed by the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) and Amtrak to provide more rail travel choices in Virginia. With the addition of this new service, the train originates in Lynchburg for the first time ever and passengers from Richmond will have hourly morning service from the state capital to the Northeast Corridor. The new service promotes economic, tourism and environmental benefits. For reservations, visit Amtrak.com or call 800.USA.RAIL.

Amtrak operates more than 20 trains daily across the state. Over one million passenger trips were made from Virginia in fiscal year 2008. Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor is the busiest railroad in North America, with more than 2,600 trains that carried almost 11 million passengers in fiscal year 2008. In fact, Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor trains carry more traffic than all air carriers in the region combined.

For more information, log onto AmtrakVirginia.com.

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