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Amtrak Virginia Norfolk service growing at six-month mark

6/26/2013, 10:35 a.m.

The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) and Amtrak note that more than 70,000 passengers have traveled on the passenger rail service route between Washington, D.C., and Norfolk.

Service to Norfolk started on Dec. 12, 2012, and provides a same-seat trip from the city to Petersburg, Richmond, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia and cities as far north as Boston.

“With the addition of the Norfolk train, residents of Southside Hampton Roads now have three reliable Amtrak alternatives in Norfolk to get to their destinations on time, instead of experiencing traffic delays in one of the most highly-congested areas of the State,” said Thelma Drake, director of DRPT. “Travelers have the option to choose direct train service from Norfolk, or board one of two Amtrak Thruway buses to the Newport News station. Three different departure and arrival times at Norfolk allow passengers to plan trips that work best for their busy schedules.”

The DRPT, Amtrak, Norfolk Southern, CSX, and the city of Norfolk worked to start the service that extends the Amtrak Northeast Regional service to and from Norfolk.

“The service expands mobility, increases connectivity and travel options to one of the state’s most populous regions,” Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman said. “Passenger rail is a vital alternative in Virginia's overall transportation solution and contributes to its current and future economic success.”

To serve passengers in Norfolk, construction is under way for a train station adjacent to Harbor Park. It is expected to be completed in the fall.

“The success of the Amtrak service solidifies Norfolk as one of the most multi-modal connected cities in the Commonwealth,” Mayor Paul Fraim said. “Amtrak Virginia is a great partner providing a reasonable means of travel to Norfolk and neighboring communities."

The round-trip train marked the return of intercity passenger rail service to Norfolk for the first time since 1977.

The Norfolk train is the third service expansion launched under the Amtrak Virginia partnership, which has introduced service to Lynchburg in October 2009, followed by Richmond in July 2010. Virginia is the 15th state to partner with Amtrak for intercity passenger rail service, and the successful launch of these new services is made possible through the partnership between DRPT, Amtrak and the host railroads along the routes.