VIRGINIA (WDVM) — Virginia Governor Ralph Northam celebrated the launch of expanded rail service from Richmond to the Northeast corridor on Monday.
The Amtrak Northeast Regional Route 51 will begin at Main Street Station in Richmond and make stops in Washington, D.C., New York and Boston. The new train will offer early morning service beginning at 5:35 a.m.
“It will be easier to hop on Amtrak to New York for the weekend. It will be easier to take a train from southwest Virginia to northern Virginia,” Northam said at a ribbon cutting on Monday.
The new service is the first expansion from the governor’s Transforming Rail in Virginia program, aimed at expanding rail infrastructure throughout the commonwealth.
“We estimate that in a year, the service from Main Street will attract over 12,000 new riders,” said Northam. “In partnership with CSX, Amtrak and the Virginia Railway Express, we expect to invest more than $1 billion in additional rail infrastructure projects over the next decade.”
Ray Lang, vice president of state supported services for Amtrak, aims to steadily expand the service.
“This program will one day get us to the point where we will have near hourly service between Richmond and Washington D.C., truly making it easier for people in this region to get to the northeast and to go south and other parts of the state of Virginia,” said Lang.
State officials also say there are big plans are in the future.
“We are going to be constructing a $1.9 billion new lawn bridge across the Potomac dedicated to passenger and commuter rail,” said Shannon Valentine, secretary of transportation.
Travelers can choose from three daily departure times. Two are offered in the morning and one in the evening.
Tickets and information can be found here.