One of the most aggressive railroad programs in the country
Virginians currently receive service from two Virginia Railway Express routes and multiple Amtrak services. With history demonstrating commitment to passenger-rail projects, and long-term planning priorities outlined in the 2022 Virginia Statewide Rail Plan, Virginia is poised to see further growth and improved service in the future.
Close partnerships with CSX and Norfolk Southern, combined with a commitment to acquire right-of-way, have set the stage for regional rail. Leadership in Washington is taking note of increased demand for a robust rail network.
A true federal program with substantial resources is needed for the state’s full potential to be realized, but Virginia is working to overcome this by creating a compact with North Carolina.
Virginia’s rapidly growing cities, important U.S. government institutions, and the U.S. Capitol are served by a combination of commuter-rail services and Amtrak’s long-distance and state-supported routes:
- The Northeast Regional, which runs 18 times daily between Boston and four Virginian cities, Newport News, Norfolk, Richmond, and Roanoke
- The Palmetto, which runs once daily between New York City and Savannah
- The Silver Meteor and Silver Star which runs once daily between New York City and Miami
- The Crescent, which runs once daily between New York City and New Orleans
- The Carolinian, which runs once daily between New York City and Charlotte
- The Auto Train, which runs once daily between Lorton, Virginia and Sanford, Florida
- Virginia Railway Express commuter services, which each run eight times daily from Manassas and Fredericksburg, Virginia into Washington D.C.
Combined, Amtrak services on Virginia’s four primary corridors accounted for more than 1.25 million passengers in FY 2023, breaking a 2015 record by more than 30% and surpassing 1 million riders for the first time. These successes can be built upon in the future, as leadership in Virginia continues to push for improved service, infrastructure upgrades, and the introduction of new corridors.
State Rail Plan
The 2022 Virginia Statewide Rail Plan (VASRP) outlines how the projects will be implemented to best serve rail passengers in Virginia. The VASRP also demonstrates Virginia’s commitment to rail’s importance as a transportation mode, underpinned by strong environmental, economic, and social benefits. These investments and long-range planning will set Virginia up for excellent rail service across the state in the near future.
Transforming Rail in Virginia
In early 2021, Virginia—along with Amtrak, the Virginia Railway Express, and CSX Transportation—agreed on a $3.7 billion passenger-rail expansion program which included a number of projects to improve rail service across the Commonwealth. The agreement earmarked funds and transferred more than 350 total miles of tracks and right-of-way from CSX Transportation to the Commonwealth. Acquisitions of rail rights-of-way allow for infrastructural improvements and higher-frequency services along the I-95 corridor in the central and eastern portion of the state, the creation of an east-west passenger corridor from Clifton Forge to Richmond, and set the table for the reactivation of the S-Line for passenger service between Raleigh and Richmond.
Exciting Projects on the Horizon
The country needs an Interstate Railway Program, like the Interstate Highway Program, to take full advantage of the community, economic, and environmental benefits of trains.
Please join with us in asking Congress to create a national railway program to re-connect America with fast, frequent, and affordable trains.