Opinion/Editorial: Upgrades needed for Amtrak in Charlottesville, Virginia

September 1, 2015

From the editorial page of Charlottesville, Virginia’s The Daily Progress newspaper:

The Amtrak train now serving Charlottesville daily is one of the most successful trains in the country.

Over six years of high ridership, it has proven that people want an alternative to driving or flying.

Now, rail advocates are looking toward the next round of improvements.

Two are already in the works: extending service from Lynchburg to Roanoke, and even adding a second train from Lynchburg to D.C.

Two more need to be considered: expanding and improving the Charlottesville train station and nearby parking options, and building more rail lines dedicated to passenger service.

Meredith Richards, chairwoman of the Piedmont Rail Coalition, says the current train has exceeded expectations, even though its schedule isn’t what advocates had sought.

Groups like the PRC had hoped for an early morning train that would allow local residents to arrive in Washington in time for the workday, thus enabling C’villians to commute to D.C.

That didn’t happen. One of the major impediments is that passenger trains do not have dedicated rail; they must use lines owned by freight companies. Those companies, for understandable reasons, place a priority on their own needs, and — although there is room for negotiation — passenger train schedules generally must be fitted around freight train traffic.

Read the full editorial in The Daily Progress by clicking here.


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