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Amtrak is seriously expanding in Virginia

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Amtrak’s current Virginia map.

America’s passenger rail network may still be decades behind Europe and Asia, but real progress is being made. Virginia in particular is in the midst of a big expansion in service, with at least 4 major improvement projects:

  1. 2009 Lynchburg extension: Starting in 2009, some Northeast Regional Amtrak trains running between DC and Boston began going south to Lynchburg, doubling the Amtrak service from Lynchburg to DC.
  2. Washington-Richmond track improvements: With help from federal stimulus funding, additional tracks are being added on the busy DC-to-Richmond line. The tracks are currently shared with freight trains and are at capacity, so new tracks will allow more (and faster) passenger trains to run.
  3. Norfolk extension: For decades the only Amtrak service to the Norfolk metro area ended at Newport News, well north of the region’s population centers. Starting in just a few days, on December 12, Amtrak will initiate a new route extending from Richmond’s Staples Mill Station (unfortunately not the more convenient Main Street Station) south to downtown Norfolk, with an intermediate stop in Petersburg.
  4. Roanoke extension: Starting in 2018, the Lynchburg-DC-Boston train will be extended to Roanoke, which is currently the largest metro area in Virginia without rail service.

These improvements won’t make Virginia the next Japan, but they are solid investments that mark an important return of rail service to key Virginia cities.

December 4th, 2012 | Permalink
Tags: intercity, transportation



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