Governor Bob McDonnell announced today that Amtrak Virginia’s Northeast Regional service extension to and from Norfolk will start December 12, 2012, providing a same-seat trip from Norfolk to Washington, DC, Baltimore, New York City and as far north as Boston.
Tickets are now available for purchase.
“The partnership between the Commonwealth and Amtrak to bring an Amtrak Virginia station to the city of Norfolk reflects my administration’s commitment to continue to make progress in improving our transportation networks for the state,” said Governor McDonnell. “By providing the citizens of Virginia an alternative way to get to and from Southside Hampton Roads, it takes cars off the highways, helping ease congestion on already highly-traveled roads. The new station provides a one-seat ride to Richmond, Washington, DC and major cities along the northeast corridor, offering an economical and environmentally-friendly way to travel.”
“The new Norfolk passenger rail service is just the latest example of the great partnership we have with the Commonwealth to expand transportation options for Virginians,” said Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman. “Virginia is a leader in passenger rail and Amtrak is proud to help bring their vision to reality.” As part of the extension to Norfolk, the service will also stop at the Petersburg Station in Ettrick.
Passengers may book travel via Amtrak.com, the mobile app, or by calling 1-800-USA-RAIL for any station along the route between Norfolk and Boston.
Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton said, “Thanks to the hard work of our partners, CSX, Norfolk Southern and the City of Norfolk, for completing the necessary upgrades for this service and making it possible to launch 10 months earlier than originally projected. This new service will greatly benefit Southside Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia. The economies of these two regions are intertwined and starting this service will strengthen them both.”
“The people of Southside Hampton Roads will now have another transportation option when making their travel plans outside the region, in addition to benefiting the environment by taking more cars off the road, improving air quality, and saving fuel,” said Thelma Drake, Director of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation. “This new service is a significant expansion of the Commonwealth’s passenger rail service. I appreciate the commitment of Amtrak, CSX, Norfolk Southern and the City of Norfolk to make this new service a reality.”
The round-trip train will bring intercity passenger rail service to Norfolk for the first time since 1977, and will link Norfolk with a same-seat ride to Richmond, Washington, D.C. and cities as far north as Boston.
Norfolk Mayor Paul D. Fraim said, “The return of passenger rail service to Southside Hampton Roads adds an important transportation alternative for business and military travelers as well as the general public. It is the result of dedicated, visionary leadership at the state and local level that will benefit the region far into the future.”
The Norfolk train marks the third service expansion launched under the Amtrak Virginia partnership, which introduced state-supported service to and from Lynchburg in October 2009 and to and from 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.
Virginia routes had sizable ridership gains in fiscal year 2011 over fiscal year 2010 with increases of 28.5 percent on the Washington-Lynchburg route and 19.1 percent on the Washington-Newport News route.