A deal between the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority and Norfolk Southern closed on June 30, which means additional passenger rail service will begin next Monday. According to a release, the state entity will now own 28 miles of track between Christiansburg and Salem that will allow for the expansion of passenger rail to the New River Valley in a few years.
“We have reached an agreement that expands access for passengers and preserves an important link in the supply chain for businesses that rely on freight rail to ship base materials and finished products,” said Norfolk Southern Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Mike McClellan. “The partnership of our government leaders was critical to making this plan a reality and we appreciate their commitment to the people and economy of Virginia’s Blue Ridge.”
The first daily service on the Northeast Regional began in 2009 and ridership was triple what had been forecast. This train was extended to Roanoke in 2017 and this year has seen a return to pre-pandemic boarding levels.
The second train will begin on July 11, according to the release. It will stop in Alexandria, Manassas, Culpeper, Charlottesville, Lynchburg, and Roanoke.
“Amtrak will now offer morning and afternoon options in both directions between Roanoke, Washington, D.C., and to the Northeast,” said Amtrak spokeswoman Kimberly Woods.
To learn more and to book tickets, check out Amtrak’s press release.
A study is underway to determine if Bedford would be a viable stop.
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