Forty Years In Coming: Amtrak Arrives on October 31st

The Amtrak Northeast Regional pulls into one of many station’s similar to Roanoke.

After an absence of almost 40 years passenger train service returns to downtown Roanoke via Amtrak on October 31, a day after the ceremonial first train arrives with dignitaries at the new platform that is nearing completion along Norfolk Avenue in downtown Roanoke.

The Northeast Regional will stop in Lynchburg, Charlottesville, Culpepper, Manassas, Burke Centre, Alexandria, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, and other cities along the Northeast Corridor.

Amtrak spokesperson Kimberly Woods says the service that originates in Roanoke and extends all the way to Boston can now be ticketed online at the Amtrak.com site. Seats can also be reserved on the Amtrak mobile app or by calling 1-800-USA-Rail.  “The benefit is that customers can travel from Roanoke and we will offer a same-seat trip to [their destination]. They can get on and stay to their destination.”

The train will feature coach and business class seating. There’s also a customer friendly approach to baggage: two bags and two carry-ons up to 150 pounds per person are allowed. “All of that is for free. We have the friendliest baggage allowance in the travel industry,” says Woods. Caged pets up to 20 lbs. are also permitted on Amtrak trains.

Amtrak recently upgraded interiors on Northeast corridor trains to the tune of $16 Million.

The Northeast Regional features Coach and Business Class offering outlets for mobile devices, and complimentary Wi-Fi. The Café Car offers sandwiches, salads, snacks and hot and cold beverages, including a variety of wine, beer and soda.

The train will stop in downtown Roanoke at the newly-constructed passenger platform with a canopy located at 55 Norfolk Ave., SW. Public parking facilities are available adjacent to the Roanoke station stop. Customers will experience a comfortable and enjoyable way to travel on a national network serving more 500 destinations, and benefits such as no middle seat, and the ability to move about the train.

Those in Boston, New York and Washington can also come to Roanoke for a long weekend or more – something that has local officials associated with the travel industry looking to create new campaigns for that market. “We’re excited about this service that will soon start in Roanoke,” says Woods, adding that “this is a partnership with Amtrak, the State of Virginia as well as the City of Roanoke.”

To learn more about Amtrak Virginia, visit amtrak.com/virginia/home.

Gene Marrano