Norfolk Southern’s Chief Executive Officer says the railroad is ready to help Amtrak and Virginia extend service from Lynchburg to Roanoke — if the state pays about $140 million for upgrades to the line. More from WFIR’s Evan Jones.
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That second daily Amtrak train north from Lynchburg has been profitable from the start two years ago, and the bus connection from Roanoke to that train which started this summer has also proved popular, regularly surpassing expected ridership. Norfolk Southern CEO Wick Moorman says the railroad is on board to bring rail service to Roanoke, but they’ll need to work some things out with the state. NS and state rail officials agree adding passenger service will place more demands on the Roanoke-to-Lynchburg rail line that is already busy with freight traffic, requiring capacity improvements like signaling and passing tracks. The estimated cost of those improvements comes to $140 million.
The state hopes to extend Lynchburg Amtrak service to Roanoke within five years, but before that happens, work is already underway to extend passenger rail service from Richmond to Norfolk.
As is the case in most of the country, Amtrak provides passenger service in Virginia over rail lines that primarily haul freight traffic.