Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Amtrak Virginia Set a Record for 2023 Ridership

Williamsburg police were called to the Transportation Center, located at 468 North Boundary Street, around 1:35 p.m. Friday after a maintenance worker reported a “racist message” written on a tree with marker. (Steve Roberts Jr./WYDaily)
Williamsburg Transportation Center. (WYDaily file)

RICHMOND — More than 1.32 million passengers traveled on Amtrak Virginia service in 2023, the highest ridership recorded since state-supported service began in 2009 according to the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority.

The Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA) announced Monday that the 1,325,937 passengers topped 2022 ridership by 29.8%.

The authority noted all four Amtrak Virginia corridors saw increases year-over-year, with Newport News leading the way with an increase of 36.8% over 2022.

The month of August also set a record for monthly ridership, with 130,998 passengers traveling, it added.

(Virginia Passenger Rail Authority)

“Virginians continue to tell us that they want passenger rail to lighten the load on the state’s highways and to provide them with an alternative to sitting in traffic,” said DJ Stadtler, Executive Director of VPRA. “And, we are listening. With recent grant funding and the selection of construction partners, the team at VPRA is pushing our Transforming Rail in Virginia initiative to the next level to provide additional passenger rail service in the Commonwealth as soon as possible.”

To that end, VPRA has purchased railroad right-of-way and is building infrastructure through its Transforming Rail in Virginia (TRV) initiative.

Last fall, VPRA was awarded two grants to fully fund projects in Northern Virginia, including the completion of Phase 2 of the TRV initiative. These investments will aid in completing the final design and construction of projects that will relieve rail congestion that affects service throughout the Commonwealth and along the East Coast, it said.

Currently, Amtrak Virginia offers three daily roundtrips between Norfolk and Washington, DC, two daily roundtrips between both Roanoke and Washington, and Newport News and Washington, and one daily roundtrip between Richmond and the nation’s capital. Completion of TRV’s Phase 2 projects will allow for three new roundtrips. Added to the current eight, and the two that are scheduled to launch upon completion of Phase 1 projects in 2026, VPRA plans for a total of 13 daily roundtrips by 2030.

For more information, visit vapassengerrailauthority.org

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