Amtrak To Expand Passenger Service Between Richmond and Washington, D.C.


~ Additional train to provide service during commuter hours ~

RICHMOND- Governor Timothy M. Kaine today announced that Amtrak and the Commonwealth of Virginia have signed an agreement to operate an additional train between Richmond and Washington , D.C. during commuter hours. This new train, along with previously announced daily service between Lynchburg and Washington , D.C. , provides more passenger and freight rail transportation options, and are the first state-supported intercity passenger rail services in Virginia .

“We cannot engage the future without a strong commitment to passenger rail in these vital corridors, providing more transportation choices for all Virginians while helping grow our economy,” Governor Kaine said.  “I appreciate the commitment of Amtrak, CSX and Norfolk Southern to make these new services a reality. This is a first step toward a national vision of rail and ensures Virginia ’s place in that larger network.”

The new routes represent the first phase of planned passenger rail improvements in Virginia ’s I-81/Route 29 and I-95/I-64 corridors. At full implementation, these services are estimated to remove 1.4 million cars from highways, save more than 8.3 million gallons of fuel and eliminate 66,000 tons of carbon emissions each year.

These two projects, and the associated infrastructure improvements, display Virginia ’s continuing investment in intercity rail, and are another step in positioning Virginia to be a national leader in high speed rail. Governor Kaine today attended a roundtable discussion with Vice President Joseph R. Biden, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and other Governors on the future of high speed rail in the United States.

The additional Richmond to Washington , D.C. route will begin operation in December 2009, with stops at Staples Mill Road in Richmond , Ashland , Fredericksburg , Quantico , Woodbridge , Alexandria , and L’Enfant Plaza in Washington , D.C. The train is scheduled to depart Richmond daily at 7:00 am and arrive in Washington , D.C. at 9:30 am. Afternoon service is scheduled to depart Washington , D.C. at 3:55 pm and arrive in Richmond at 6:25 pm.

Detailed schedules and fares will be finalized with Amtrak in the coming months. As part of this agreement, the Commonwealth will help fund Amtrak service for the first time with a $17.2 million investment over a three-year demonstration period.

Amtrak CEO Joseph Boardman said, “With its connections to the national passenger rail system, Amtrak is the logical choice to provide these new transportation options for Virginia , with direct service to many other East Coast cities, including Washington , New York and Boston .”

The Amtrak Board of Directors’ approval expands the availability of Amtrak service between Virginia and the entire Northeast Corridor. This agreement with Amtrak is the last of four major agreements to be signed with rail operators along each route, including the host railroads—CSX and Norfolk Southern—in addition to Virginia Railway Express.

Virginia is one of only a few states in the country to successfully negotiate the addition of new intercity passenger rail service in major rail corridors, balancing freight and economic development needs with additional passenger rail options.

In April 2009, Governor Kaine announced a similar agreement to operate daily passenger service between Lynchburg and Washington, D.C. with stops at Kemper Street in Lynchburg , Charlottesville , Culpeper, Manassas , Burke Center , Alexandria , and terminating at L’Enfant Plaza in Washington , D.C. The train is scheduled to depart Lynchburg at 7:38 a.m. and arrive in Washington, D.C. at 11:20 a.m. Afternoon service is scheduled to leave Washington, D.C. at 4:50 p.m. and arrive in Lynchburg at 8:36 p.m. Service is scheduled to begin in October 2009.

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