• Amtrak NEC Virginia Regional Service

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

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  by travelrobb
 
Looks like officials in Hampton Roads are split over whether "high speed" rail should go through Williamsburg to Newport News (the Peninsula Route) or on the south side of the James River, to Portsmouth, Norfolk, Chesapeake, and Virginia Beach:

"Schism grows over regional high-speed rail route"

But fear not: local congressman say there's enough money for both projects!

"For region's high-speed rail, lawmakers want both routes"

Apparently, the present cost for building the south side alternative with a MAS of 90 mph* is $475 million, while the Peninsula option would cost $330 million--up quite a bit from the 2005 costs of approximately $185-$195 million each. (The original south side estimate didn't include costs from Richmond to the junction just east of Petersburg; presumably the current estimate does.)

My preferred alternative is the third choice, which would use the Peninsula Route to Newport News, and then build a four-mile bridge across the James River to connect it to Norfolk. In 2005, this was estimated to cost $600 million (for a 90 MPH MAS), or half again as much as doing both alignments simultaneously. But the bridge would have a major additional benefit of serving as a foundation for a commuter rail system to serve the sprawling Hampton Roads area.

*The costs for building a 110-mph alignment rose in 2005 to as much as $239 million for the south side (Petersburg to Norfolk only) and $252 for the Peninsula Route. (Although this is confusing because the study uses two different sets of numbers for pricing most of the alternatives; these are the higher ones.) The faster alignment would save seven and six minutes, respectively.
  by kebauc
 
Way back in this thread, the question was asked about a means to turn a train in Lynchburg. There is a configuration that allows that just south of the station. Google maps/sat shows it pretty well. That area of track has some history as an interchange between NW and Southern, which clearly is not needed for interchange any more.
  by drewh
 
Glad to hear VA and Amtrak are doing this. Roanoke would make a lot of sense to add to the Lynchburg service - an extra some 60 miles that adds a population base of 300K. And I agree about changing the name to something that is more regional for them. For that matter NE Regional doesn't even play out for Philly, Balt, and DC which are mid-atlantic. Even NJ is considered mid-atlantic by some. Perhaps Acela Express and Acela Regional for all corridor trains other than LD's.
  by realtype
 
drewh wrote:Glad to hear VA and Amtrak are doing this. Roanoke would make a lot of sense to add to the Lynchburg service - an extra some 60 miles that adds a population base of 300K. And I agree about changing the name to something that is more regional for them. For that matter NE Regional doesn't even play out for Philly, Balt, and DC which are mid-atlantic. Even NJ is considered mid-atlantic by some. Perhaps Acela Express and Acela Regional for all corridor trains other than LD's.
The Mid-Atlantic is commonly considered the NE states not part of New England (NY, PA, MD, NJ, DE, DC, WV), although in the DC Area VA is also considered as suc. Anyway, you're right they should have their own name. IMHO the "NE Regional" name should be abandoned all together, and "NE Direct" should be brought back for BOS-WAS.
  by Suburban Station
 
realtype wrote: The Mid-Atlantic is commonly considered the NE states not part of New England (NY, PA, MD, NJ, DE, DC, WV), although in the DC Area VA is also considered as suc. Anyway, you're right they should have their own name. IMHO the "NE Regional" name should be abandoned all together, and "NE Direct" should be brought back for BOS-WAS.
I don't see the logic. Regional seems just as appropriatae, if not more so, than Direct. are the other trains indirect? The trains provide regional service. I'd call a BOS-WAS a Northeast Regional, A NY-Richmond a Mid-Atlantic Regional.
  by Jishnu
 
Suburban Station wrote:
realtype wrote: The Mid-Atlantic is commonly considered the NE states not part of New England (NY, PA, MD, NJ, DE, DC, WV), although in the DC Area VA is also considered as suc. Anyway, you're right they should have their own name. IMHO the "NE Regional" name should be abandoned all together, and "NE Direct" should be brought back for BOS-WAS.
I don't see the logic. Regional seems just as appropriatae, if not more so, than Direct. are the other trains indirect? The trains provide regional service. I'd call a BOS-WAS a Northeast Regional, A NY-Richmond a Mid-Atlantic Regional.
I agree with that position. I also don't see any logic of the "Direct" moniker In my thinking it could either be called Northeast Regional Service and Mid-Atlantic Regional Service or alternatively be even more mundane and call them Northeast Corridor Service and Mid-Atlantic Corridor Service. Then by extension one also has Empire Corridor Service and Keystone Corridor Service and perhaps Inland Corridor Service for the NHV - Hartford - Springfield, and then perhaps someday all the way to Boston service, all named using the same naming pattern.
  by Darien Red Sox
 
When will time table be released for these trains? When will they be added in the online reservation system, I checked and they are not there yet?
  by chefwrg
 
It's my understanding that the service in Lynchbirg will start in October and the extra train for Richmond will be a little later...December, I think.
  by Darien Red Sox
 
chefwrg wrote:It's my understanding that the service in Lynchbirg will start in October and the extra train for Richmond will be a little later...December, I think.
Why not get it into the online booking system so they can start selling tickets, I checked for December for STM to CVS and it is not in the system.
  by mkellerm
 
chefwrg wrote:It's my understanding that the service in Lynchbirg will start in October and the extra train for Richmond will be a little later...December, I think.
Governor Kaine's office and Amtrak both have press releases out today about the new service. Quick hits from the Governor's press release:
The additional Richmond to Washington, D.C. route will begin operation in December 2009, with stops at Staples Mill Road in Richmond, Ashland, Fredericksburg, Quantico, Woodbridge, Alexandria, and L'Enfant Plaza in Washington, D.C. The train is scheduled to depart Richmond daily at 7:00 am and arrive in Washington, D.C. at 9:30 am. Afternoon service is scheduled to depart Washington, D.C. at 3:55 pm and arrive in Richmond at 6:25 pm.

(snip)

In April 2009, Governor Kaine announced a similar agreement to operate daily passenger service between Lynchburg and Washington, D.C. with stops at Kemper Street in Lynchburg, Charlottesville, Culpeper, Manassas, Burke Center, Alexandria, and terminating at L'Enfant Plaza in Washington, D.C. The train is scheduled to depart Lynchburg at 7:38 a.m. and arrive in Washington, D.C. at 11:20 a.m. Afternoon service is scheduled to leave Washington, D.C. at 4:50 p.m. and arrive in Lynchburg at 8:36 p.m. Service is scheduled to begin in October 2009.
  by drewh
 
and terminating at L'Enfant Plaza in Washington, D.C
Was that a typo or is the service not going to Union Station?
  by realtype
 
drewh wrote:
and terminating at L'Enfant Plaza in Washington, D.C
Was that a typo or is the service not going to Union Station?
I'm pretty sure it continues to Union Station, it must be a typo.

On a side note, the Amtrak article also said:
"In addition to Virginia, Amtrak currently has partnership agreements with the following states to operate state-funded passenger rail services: California, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin."

Does Amtrak currently charge the total cost+profit for these services or just the operating and capital cost? Successful state funded routes such as the Cascades, Amtk California, Piedmont, Vermonter, Keystone etc. seem to provide a good opportunity for Amtrak to cover the cost of their own operations. Amtrak could probably charge a small profit to put themselves in a better financial position. Of course they would run the small risk of losing some support in Congress.
  by chefwrg
 
From the Richmond Times Dispatch:

The federal rail agency has dropped consideration of an eastern train route for proposed high-speed rail service that would have bypassed the Ashland and Staples Mill stations.

"The commonwealth can move forward with the I-95 corridor development plan to support enhanced passenger and freight rail service along the corridor," said Charles M. Badger, the director of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation.

The eastern route between Main Street Station in downtown Richmond and Doswell north of Ashland would have followed the Buckingham Branch rail line. The western route follows the CSX rail line.

Taking the eastern route would cost more, have more environmental and cultural impacts, and benefit the surrounding localities less, Badger said.

Last year 275,479 travelers used Amtrak's Staples Mill Station in Henrico County, and 16,497 passengers used the Ashland station. Staples Mill is Amtrak's busiest station in Virginia.
  by Darien Red Sox
 
drewh wrote:
and terminating at L'Enfant Plaza in Washington, D.C
Was that a typo or is the service not going to Union Station?
I thought that the original schedule was to make it a continuation of a Northeast Regional train to/from Boston?
  by realtype
 
From the Examiner"
Amtrak said Wednesday it plans to start new daily commuter train service later this year from Richmond and Lynchburg to Washington.

» Richmond to D.C. — December 2009 start: One train will leave Richmond at 7 a.m., stopping in Ashland, Fredericksburg, Quantico, Woodbridge and Alexandria until it ends at L’Enfant Plaza in the District. An afternoon train will make the reverse trip at 3:55 p.m.

» Lynchburg to D.C. — October 2009 start: One train will leave Lynchburg at 7:38 a.m., with stops in Charlottesville, Culpeper, Manassas, Burke Centre, Alexandria and L’Enfant Plaza. The return train leaves D.C. at 4:50 p.m.

» The cost: Fares have not been determined. Virginia is paying the train service $17.2 million over three years.

» The benefit: State officials estimate the services will:


» Remove 1.4 million cars from highways


» Save more than 8.3 million gallons of fuel


» Eliminate 66,000 tons of carbon emissions each year

I guess I was wrong, the new service will terminate at L'Enfant, or that's all Virginia paying for. If they were gonna do that they should have just made it a Virginia Railway Express service, although Richmond and Lynchburg to DC isn't rally a "commuter" route.
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