ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) Tuesday the Commonwealth of Virginia commemorated 10 years of Virginia-sponsored passenger rail services.
October 1, 2009, Virginia launched its inaugural daily round-trip train service from Lynchburg to D.C. With the launch, it boosted tourism and improved mobility for Virginians.
After that initial route was offered, routes expanded to Richmond in 2010 and to Norfolk in 2012. Then in 2017, passenger rail services returned to Roanoke for the first time since 1979.
That first year of operation, more than 125,000 passengers used the new train. Over the last decade, Amtrak services have grown from one to four routes and includes six daily round-trip trains. Every year there's an average of more than 850,000 passengers using the train system to travel.
In a news release, Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine said in part, "Standing on the shoulders of many, we continue to build a rail network that supports job creation, workforce recruitment, tourism, and business investment throughout our Commonwealth."
With more and more people using rail services for travel, tourism economy has seen a significant increase. Last year alone visitors spent $26 billion in Virginia.
In the same news release, Rita McClenny, President & CEO of Virginia Tourism Corporation, said in part, "In Virginia, tourism and trains go hand-in-hand, as more and more travelers are choosing to make their trips by passenger rail. The ease and convenience of rail travel makes Virginia an even more attractive destination for travelers, which is why we are thrilled to celebrate this special fare and the positive impact it will have on our tourism economy."
Purchase tickets on Amtrak's website. Use promo code, V110, for discount.
Copyright 2019/WDBJ7. All rights reserved.