After adding more routes in Virginia, ridership on four state-supported Amtrak routes hit all-time highs in July, beating pre-pandemic levels with 110,256 passengers.
“These numbers make it very clear – Virginians want more passenger rail to be a part of their transportation network,” Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VRPA) Chief Operating Officer Mike McLaughlin said in a press release. “With the launch of two new roundtrips and the resumption of another, we know that rail works for the Commonwealth and look forward to further expanding service throughout the state.”
Amtrak announced a new Washington, D.C.-to-Roanoke daily round trip Monday, adding to the already-existing round trip. The new trip leaves Washington at 8:05 a.m., arriving in Roanoke at 1:00 p.m., and the return leaves at 4:30 p.m., arriving back at 9:28 p.m, with stops in Alexandria, Manassas, Culpeper, Charlottesville, and Lynchburg. The existing train departs Roanoke for Washington at 6:32 a.m. and arriving in Washington at 11:34 a.m., while a return departs Washington at 5:00 p.m. and arrives in Roanoke at 10:06 p.m.
Fares for the 8:05 a.m. Roanoke-bound train and the 4:30 p.m. Washington-bound train currently start at $20 one-way.
The New River Valley will have passenger rail service by 2025 for the first time since 1979, thanks to the new $257.2 million Western Rail Initiative announced by Governor Ralph Northam on Wednesday. The initiative is part of an agreement with Norfolk Southern. Northam said the passenger service would boost tourism and economic growth.