(The Center Square) – In the first step of the statewide rail expansion program, travelers from downtown Richmond are now able to get on early-morning trains in downtown to Washington, D.C., New York City and other stops along the Northeast Corridor.
New train times would allow a person to arrive in Washington, D.C. for the start of the workday or New York City around lunchtime. The first early-morning train departed from the Main Street Station at 5:35 Monday morning.
Earlier this year, the state secured a $3.7 billion deal with CSX, Virginia Railway Express and Amtrak to expand rail service to give commuters more options and reduce traffic.
“If you’ve ever been stuck on I-95, you know we can’t pave our way out of congestion,” Gov. Ralph Northam said in a statement. “This new train offers quick, reliable service from the Commonwealth’s capital to Washington, D.C., connecting our two cities and making it easier for thousands of Virginians to get to work in the morning. Virginia is leading the nation in expanded access to high-performance rail—and I look forward to many more milestones ahead.”
The early-morning trains are serviced by Amtrak.
“We are pleased to partner with Virginia to bring additional Amtrak service to the Main Street Station,” Amtrak State Supported Services Vice President Ray Lang said in a statement. “As people feel comfortable traveling again, we are honored that our customers trust us on their journey as we are excited to welcome them onboard.”
The new early service is part of the Transforming Rail Program, which will include a variety of other upgrades. It will connect the Northeast and Southeast corridors by rail, construct a new long bridge over the Potomac, include 223 new miles of track, among other things. Within the next decade, Amtrak will provide hourly train services between Richmond and Washington, D.C. and the Virginia Railway Express will increase its services by 75% along the I-95 Corridor and add weekend services.