Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Governor McDonnell Announces Amtrak Ridership Grows

English: An Amtrak train on the NEC in NJ, as ...
  c 2005 joseph barillari (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since 2009, Ridership on Virginia’s State-supported Amtrak Intercity Passenger Trains Has Almost Doubled~

Staples Mill Road station busiest in Virginia


RICHMOND - Today, Governor Bob McDonnell announced Amtrak Virginia service continues to grow year and after year, delivering statewide benefits, providing vital transportation services, advancing the Commonwealth’s economy, and demonstrating the value and convenience of intercity passenger rail.

           “The impressive increase in Amtrak Virginia ridership demonstrates why the state has become more involved with providing additional transportation choices for citizens of the Commonwealth,” said Governor McDonnell. “It is clear that Virginians embrace the idea of passenger rail and we are pleased to be able to continue to expand intercity passenger rail service, most recently to Norfolk, and in the future to Roanoke.”

Stations in Richmond (Staples Mill Road), Alexandria, Charlottesville, and Newport News are the busiest facilities in Virginia.

“Since 2009, the Commonwealth's state-supported Amtrak intercity passenger trains have seen ridership grow by 99.83 percent.  Dedicated funding for Amtrak Virginia trains was included in Governor Bob McDonnell's 2013 transportation package, HB 2313, to continue to support existing intercity passenger rail and to provide additional funding sources to expand services for Virginians,” said Transportation Secretary Sean T. Connaughton.

                The Amtrak Virginia Lynchburg route had an increase of 7 percent. The Norfolk service has exceeded expectations as its one-year anniversary approaches. Both Amtrak Virginia trains provide same-seat service as far north as Boston.

                “People throughout the State are deciding on other modes of transportation rather than driving their vehicles to their destinations and often sitting in traffic,” said Thelma Drake, director of the Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT).  “Train travel is an attractive option by providing a relaxing one-seat ride up to Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York and Boston, free Wi-Fi and the ability to work, read or just enjoy the beautiful scenery of the State during the journey.”

                Virginia and other state-supported services are vital links in the Amtrak national network.  The power of increasing demand for passenger rail is recognized through state investments to improve service, speed and safety.  In addition, states and communities realize stations served by Amtrak are anchors for economic development, catalysts for historic preservation and tourism growth, sites for commercial and cultural uses, and points of civic pride.

                “There is high demand for passenger rail service in Virginia as demonstrated by considerable ridership growth throughout the Commonwealth,” said Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with DRPT and further expanding service in the Commonwealth.”

About Amtrak Virginia
Amtrak Virginia is a partnership between the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) and Amtrak to provide more rail travel choices in Virginia. The Lynchburg train was initiated in October 2009, and serves the following Virginia stations: Lynchburg, Charlottesville, Culpeper, Manassas, Burke Centre, and Alexandria. The Richmond train was initiated in July 2010, and serves the following Virginia stations: Richmond-Staples Mill, Ashland, Fredericksburg, Quantico, Woodbridge, and Alexandria. The Norfolk train launched in December 2012 and connects passengers to destinations north of the city. Amtrak Virginia service promotes economic, tourism and environmental benefits. for more information.

About Amtrak®
Amtrak is America’s Railroad®, the nation’s intercity passenger rail service and its high-speed rail operator. Amtrak and its state and commuter partners move people, the economy and the nation forward. Formally known as the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, Amtrak is governed by a nine member board of directors appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Anthony R. Coscia is board chairman and Jeffrey R. Moreland serves as vice chairman. In FY 2013, a record 31.6 million passengers traveled on Amtrak on more than 300 daily trains – at speeds up to 150 mph (241 kph) – that connect 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian Provinces. Enjoy the journey® at or call 800-USA-RAIL for schedules, fares, and more information. For updates, Like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter (@Amtrak), and check out their blog at
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