Amtrak has started operating non-scheduled trains that will be used to familiarize locomotive engineers and train conductors with the tracks and territory between Lynchburg and Roanoke. The trains are part of a project by Amtrak, the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT), and the city of Roanoke to extend Amtrak Northeast Regional service from Lynchburg to Roanoke in the fall.
The Northeast Regional service will provide a same-seat trip to and from Roanoke and will operate one round-trip seven days per week. It will be the fourth expansion of intercity passenger rail in Virginia since 2009 following new or additional service to Lynchburg, Richmond, and Norfolk.
The trains, operating in collaboration with the DRPT and Norfolk Southern, will carry no passengers and are expected to operate two times per day, five days a week.
The new rail services in Virginia have been made possible by the Commonwealth’s more than $100 million strategic investment in Norfolk Southern’s rail infrastructure, which makes this intercity passenger service extension possible.