Amtrak Debuts Early Morning Train Route from Richmond to D.C.

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(WYDaily/Courtesy of Pixabay)
Ralph Northam celebrates expansion of service between Richmond and Washington D.C. (WYDaily/Courtesy of Pixabay)

RICHMOND — Virginia Governor Ralph Northam was on board early Monday morning, Sept. 27, as the first Amtrak train on the Northeast Regional Route 51 left the Main Street Station in downtown Richmond, according to a press release from Northam’s office.

The daily train service is scheduled to get passengers to Washington D.C. before the start of the work day and to New York City by midday.

The train is the first step in the Northam’s Transforming Rail in Virginia program, which is aims to significantly expand the Commonwealth’s rail capabilities for passengers and freight.

“If you’ve ever been stuck on I-95, you know we can’t pave our way out of congestion,” said Northam. “This new train offers quick, reliable service from the Commonwealth’s capital to Washington, D.C., connecting our two cities and making it easier for thousands of Virginians to get to work in the morning. Virginia is leading the nation in expanded access to high-performance rail—and I look forward to many more milestones ahead.”

The new route has several stops between Richmond and Boston with two departure times in the morning and one in the evening.

“Originating more trains from Main Street Station will connect our vibrant capital city to Washington D.C. and population centers along the East Coast,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine.  “This extension will bring trains closer to where people live and work, expanding access and economic opportunity.”

The service to the Main Street Station is an extension of a similar route that originated at Staples Mill Station, northwest of Richmond, but was discontinued in March of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Transforming Rail in Virginia program has budgeted $3.7 billion to improve passenger, commuter, and freight rail in Virginia. It will connect the Northeast and Southeast corridors in the United States’ national rail network.

According to the press release, over the next decade the program will work towards hourly service between Richmond and Washington as well as improving passenger rail for Newport News and Norfolk.

To purchase train tickets or find find train timetables, go to the Amtrak website.

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