Va., Amtrak launch new train service
Virginia rail officials along with Amtrak launched the second state-funded intercity passenger train Tuesday in an effort to expand mass-transit options throughout the commonwealth.
Operated by Amtrak and funded by the state, the train leaves Richmond at 7 a.m. and arrives at Union Station at 9:30 a.m., stopping at Ashland, Fredericksburg, Quantico, Woodbridge and Alexandria. The train continues to Boston, Amtrak officials said. The new southbound intercity train leaves Union Station at 3:55 p.m.
The train, which is the fifth to connect Richmond to Washington, is part of a three-year, $17.2 million pilot project that includes a similar train between Lynchburg and Washington that started in October.
"This new service is evidence of how well the Commonwealth of Virginia, Amtrak, the Virginia Railway Express and CSX Transportation have worked to enhance passenger, commuter and freight rail service in the I-95 corridor," Quintin Kendall, resident vice president for CSX Transportation, the host railroad for the Richmond train said in a press release.
The Richmond train was scheduled to launch last year but was delayed as transportation officials worked to complete about $78 million in needed infrastructure improvements. The winter weather, Amtrak officials said, slowed the process further.
Virginia is the 15th state to partner with Amtrak to provide intercity passenger rail. While the pilot project is fully funded, the state does not have the funding to continue service if it proves successful, state rail officials said. The hope, they said, is to lobby the General Assembly for funds.
-- Jennifer Buske
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