Amtrak Virginia Sets Record With Calendar Year 2023 Ridership

The Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA) has announced that more than 1.32 million passengers traveled on its state-supported Amtrak Virginia service during calendar year 2023. This was the highest ridership recorded since state-supported service began in 2009, and the total – 1,325,937 – beat calendar year 2022 ridership by 29.8%.

All four Amtrak Virginia corridors saw increases year-over-year with Newport News leading the way with an increase of 36.8% over 2022. The month of August set a record for monthly ridership with 130,998 passengers traveling.

Calendar Year 2023 vs Calendar Year 2022 Comparison
Route CY2023 CY2022 % Increase
Route 46 Roanoke 331,836 268,774 +23.5%
Route 47 Newport News 363,835 266,014 +36.8%
Route 50 Norfolk 490,719 375,094 +30.8%
Route 51 Richmond 139,541 111,570 +25.1%
Total 1,325,931 1,021,452 +29.8%
NOTE: CY2023 ridership includes eight daily roundtrips. Ridership for the first half of CY2022 includes just five daily roundtrips as three were added in July 2022 – one to Roanoke and one to Norfolk. The third, to Newport News, was the resumption of service cancelled due to the pandemic.  

“Virginians continue to tell us that they want passenger rail to lighten the load on the state’s highways and to provide them with an alternative to sitting in traffic,” said DJ Stadtler, Executive Director of VPRA. “And, we are listening. With recent grant funding and the selection of construction partners, the team at VPRA is pushing our Transforming Rail in Virginia initiative to the next level to provide additional passenger rail service in the Commonwealth as soon as possible.”

A national model for the expansion of state-supported passenger rail service, VPRA has purchased railroad right-of-way and is building infrastructure through its Transforming Rail in Virginia (TRV) initiative.

Last fall VPRA was awarded two grants to fully fund projects in Northern Virginia. The Franconia-Springfield Bypass received a $100 million CRISI grant from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). VPRA was also awarded a $729 million grant through the FRA’s Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Program for the completion of Phase 2 of the TRV initiative. These investments will aid VPRA in completing the final design and construction of Long Bridge and all Phase 2 projects, which will relieve rail congestion that affects service throughout the Commonwealth and along the East Coast.

Currently, Amtrak Virginia offers three daily roundtrips between Norfolk and Washington, DC, two daily roundtrips between both Roanoke and Washington, and Newport News and Washington, and one daily roundtrip between Richmond and the nation’s capital. Completion of TRV’s Phase 2 projects will allow for three new roundtrips. That will be in addition to the current eight roundtrips and the two that are scheduled to launch upon completion of Phase 1 projects in 2026 for a total of 13 daily roundtrips by 2030.

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