New Lynchburg Train Exceeds Performance Goals

RICHMOND, Va. – The new Amtrak Virginia train on the Lynchburg route has exceeded its annual performance targets in the first six months of operation, Amtrak said. The route provides a daily one-seat ride as far north as Boston from Lynchburg in the I-81/Route 29 corridor.

The latest ridership data for March 2010 indicates that the Lynchburg train now exceeds the annual ridership goal of 51,000 with 55,025 passengers during the first six months of operation. The service also exceeded the annual revenue goal of $2,580,000 by generating $2,839,448 in revenue.

The service’s monthly ridership began at 8,585 in October 2009 and ended the first six months of operation at 11,365 in March 2010, the highest monthly ridership to-date. The average monthly ridership has been 9,171 over the six month period. While these results are promising, there are many factors that can influence ridership, such as additions/changes in service, seasonal changes, service interruptions, on-time performance, fuel prices and unemployment levels.

“Today’s surplus in operating funds for the Lynchburg train will help fund operating shortfalls over the next three years of demonstration service,” said Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) Director Thelma Drake. “It’s important to remember that passenger rail ridership fluctuates, and we still have a long way to go before the end of the three-year period.”

The Lynchburg train has consistently exceeded its monthly performance targets since service began in October 2009. The top two stations in boardings and alightings on this route as of March 2010 are Charlottesville and Lynchburg. Every station along the route has seen significant increases in passenger traffic compared to the previous year, with highest growth at the Lynchburg station at 68 percent, followed by the Culpeper station at 40 percent year-to-date growth.

“The Lynchburg service is a great example of how Amtrak can work successfully with a state partner to meet a need for intrastate rail service,” said Jay McArthur, principal officer in Amtrak’s Policy & Development Department. “Our goal is to provide central Virginia with a transportation alternative, and we’re encouraged by the enthusiasm Virginians have shown during the first six months of operation.”