Va. launches Amtrak service from downtown Richmond to D.C. and New York
Service from Main Street Station will begin three times a day
Virginia is launching the Amtrak Northeast Regional Route 51, a thrice daily service from downtown Richmond to Washington D.C. and New York, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Monday from Main Street Station.
“If you’ve ever been stuck on I-95, you know we can’t pave our way out of congestion,” Northam said in a statement. “This new train offers quick, reliable service from the commonwealth’s capital to Washington, D.C., connecting our two cities and making it easier for thousands of Virginians to get to work in the morning. Virginia is leading the nation in expanded access to high-performance rail — and I look forward to many more milestones ahead.”
The service begins at Main Street Station in Richmond’s Shockoe Bottom neighborhood and has stops at multiple destinations in the Northeast corridor and has three daily departures, two in the morning and one in the evening.
“We are pleased to partner with Virginia to bring additional Amtrak service to the Main Street Station,” Ray Lang, Amtrak vice president for state supported services, said in a statement. “As people feel comfortable traveling again, we are honored that our customers trust us on their journey as we are excited to welcome them onboard.”
The Virginia Passenger Rail Authority supports four Northeast Regional routes that originate in Newport News, Norfolk, Richmond and Roanoke.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, service to and from Richmond’s Staples Mill Station was suspended in March 2020,” Virginia Passenger Rail Authority Executive Director DJ Stadtler said in a statement. “Today’s resumption of this service, which includes the extension to Main Street Station, marks the return to pre-pandemic service levels in Virginia.”
Transforming Rail in Virginia is a $3.7 billion program to expand and improve passenger, commuter and freight rail in Virginia. It will connect the Northeast and Southeast corridors in the national rail network. In partnership with CSX Transportation, Amtrak and Virginia Railway Express (VRE), Virginia is constructing a new Long Bridge over the Potomac dedicated to passenger and commuter rail. The project acquired 386 miles of rail right-of-way and 223 miles of track and the program has more than $1 billion.
Over the next ten years, these investments will result in nearly hourly Amtrak service between Richmond and Washington and service enhancement for Newport News and Norfolk. The VRE services will increase by 75% along the I-95 corridor, according to a news release, and add weekend services.