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Thursday, October 17, 2013
More and more people are riding trains in Virginia, Gov. Bob McDonnell said Wednesday.
Ridership on Amtrak trains statewide has doubled since 2009, and it continues to go up on the surprisingly successful Lynchburg-to-Washington train that went into service four years ago.
"The impressive increase in Amtrak Virginia ridership demonstrates why the state has become more involved with providing additional transportation choices for citizens of the commonwealth," McDonnell said.
Ridership for the route between Washington and Lynchburg went up 7 percent for the 12 months ending in September, McDonnell said.
Amtrak said 186,125 passengers rode the train, and 93,337 got on or off it in Lynchburg. Others boarded at stops in Charlottesville, Culpeper and Northern Virginia.
When the Hill City train started in 2009, Amtrak said it expected 51,000 riders per year.
Those numbers justify his administration's $96 million commitment to extend Amtrak service from Lynchburg to Roanoke about three years from now, McDonnell said.
Currently, buses carry about a dozen people per day between Roanoke and the Lynchburg train station.
The region's transportation leaders have begun working to establish an Amtrak route to Bristol.
Amtrak began service to Norfolk within the past year, and its ridership also has exceeded expectations, McDonnell said.
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