On the rail: Amtrak routes in Virginia see record ridership for two months
After a record-setting July, Amtrak’s state-supported trains in Virginia reached another record high in August.
According to the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA) and Amtrak, 119,280 rode Amtrak on all four state-supported routes in the Commonwealth in August, an increase of 8.2 percent over the 110,256 who rode in July.
“The continued growth of our state-supported Amtrak service shows that rail is not only a viable part of Virginia’s transportation network, it’s a necessary part,” VPRA Executive Director D.J. Stadtler said in a press release. “Every day we are working toward our mission of providing more rail options across the Commonwealth.”
The most popular route in August, the press release stated, was to Newport News with 33,055 passengers, a 12.9 percent increase from July. The increase includes Amtrak resuming its one roundtrip route that was suspended during the pandemic. In August 2022, 28.5 percent more than in August 2021 traveled the Newport News corridor, with stops in northern Virginia, Fredericksburg and Richmond along the way.
Following the launch of two new roundtrips in July, Roanoke and Norfolk routes also saw increases. In August, 45,742 passengers traveled to Norfolk, a 12.2 percent increase from July. The Norfolk route saw an increase of 35.4 percent from August 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic. The Roanoke route carried 28,655 passengers in August, a 4.7 percent increase from July, and 43.8 percent increase from August 2019. The Roanoke route makes stops in Alexandria, Burke Center and Manassas in northern Virginia, Culpeper, Charlottesville, Lynchburg and Roanoke.
“The demand to travel on Amtrak’s state-supported Virginia service is strong and growing,” Vice President of State Supported Services at Amtrak Ray Long said in the press release. “We thank our customers for choosing an energy-efficient way to travel in the U.S.”
The Washington, D.C. to Richmond route continues to rebound from suspension during the pandemic with a 22 percent increase in August 2022 from August 2019.
Amtrak’s state-supported passenger rail service launched in 2009 with the roundtrip between Washington, D.C. and Lynchburg. The service now has 17 stations along four corridors providing service to Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York and Boston. The VPRA was established in 2020. Amtrak has provided passenger rail service for 50 years in the United States.