Amtrak training trains for new service between Roanoke and Lynchburg

(Photo: Amtrak)

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) -- Amtrak, in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) and Norfolk Southers, began operating non-scheduled trains Monday.

They said the trains serve as training for locomotive engineers and train conductors to learn the tracks and territory between Lynchburg and Roanoke.

The trains will not carry passengers and are expected to operate two times per day, five days a week.

Amtrak wrote in a release that operating qualifying trains is an essential step toward completing the project to bring intercity passenger rail service to Roanoke in the fall.

Amtrak Northeast Regional Service will extend from Lynchburg to Roanoke and will operate one round-trip seven days per week.

Amtrak, DRPT, and the city of Roanoke are working to bring intercity passenger rail service back to the city for the first time in four decades.

The Northeast Regional service will provide a same-seat trip to and from Roanoke and to Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, and other cities along the Northeast Corridor.

They said the effort to expand rail options in Virginia has been made possible by the state's more than $100 million strategic investment in Norfolk Southern's rail infrastructure, which makes this intercity passenger service extension possible.

Instead of driving on congested highway corridors, like I-81, Route 29, I-95, and Route 460, travelers can use rail as a way to expand mobility and increase connectivity for travel throughout the regions served along the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak wrote.

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