RICHMOND, Va. (WSET) — The Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA) and Amtrak announced on Tuesday that ridership on its state-supported trains hit an all-time high in July with more than 110,000 passengers traveling.
This is an increase of 28.9 percent over June of 2022 and an increase of 19.8 percent over pre-pandemic ridership in July of 2019. VPRA launched two new roundtrips in July, one to Roanoke and one to Norfolk, with the resumption of an additional roundtrip to Newport News that had been suspended due to the pandemic. These new roundtrips provided more options for Virginians, and they responded by traveling by train.
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In July 110,256 passengers traveled on all four state-supported routes. Every route saw an increase in ridership with Newport News topping the list. That route with stops in Alexandria, Woodbridge, Quantico, Fredericksburg, Ashland, Richmond Staples Mill Station, Richmond Main Street Station, Williamsburg, and Newport News carried an additional 10,315 passengers in July compared to June, a 54 percent increase.
The state’s Norfolk route which includes stops in Alexandria, Woodbridge, Quantico, Fredericksburg, Ashland, Richmond Staples Mill Station, Petersburg, and Norfolk, saw the second largest increase from June to July with 40,763 passengers traveling, a 23 percent increase (+7,669). In addition to beating June, this number was also, a 36.5 percent increase over the pre-pandemic July 2019 number of 29,864.
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“These numbers make it very clear – Virginians want more passenger rail to be a part of their transportation network,” said DJ Stadtler, Executive Director of VPRA. “With the launch of two new roundtrips and the resumption of another, we know that rail works for the Commonwealth and look forward to further expanding service throughout the state.”
“We are encouraged by the ridership growth and enthusiasm customers have in selecting Amtrak’s state-supported Virginia service as an option for travel,” said Ray Lang, Vice President of State Supported Services at Amtrak. “We will continue to strive to give travelers the best experience possible with congestion-free, frequent, convenient, and reliable service.”
Service to Roanoke saw an increase of 72.1 percent in July as compared to July of last year with 27,374 passengers traveling. This route, which includes stops in Alexandria, Burke Centre, Manassas, Culpeper, Charlottesville, Lynchburg, and Roanoke, also beat its pre-pandemic number with a 31.4 percent increase in July 2022 over July 2019.
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The Washington, DC to Richmond route, which includes stops in Alexandria, Woodbridge, Quantico, Fredericksburg, Ashland, Richmond Staples Mill Station, and Richmond Main Street Station, continues to perform strongly with ridership of 12,848 passengers in July – an eight percent increase over June and a 26.3 percent increase of July 2019.
The Commonwealth of Virginia first launched a state-supported passenger rail service in 2009 with one roundtrip between Washington, DC, and Lynchburg. Since that time, the state’s service has grown to include stops at 17 stations along four corridors. All four corridors provide service to Washington, DC, and points north including Philadelphia, New York, and Boston.