NEWS RELEASE – March 10, 2023
Virginia is for Rail Lovers
RICHMOND — The Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA) today announced that January ridership on the Commonwealth’s Amtrak service set a record for the month of January. During the month, 87,300 passengers traveled, setting a record for the highest ridership in January since the Commonwealth launched state-supported service in September of 2009. January’s ridership topped the previous record for the month which was set in (pre-pandemic) 2020.
January 2023 vs January 2020 Comparison
|Route||January 2023||January 2020||% Increase|
|Route 46 Roanoke||22,639||16,689||+35.7%|
|Route 47 Newport News||24,215||24,152||+0.3%|
|Route 50 Norfolk||31,226||19,220||+62.5%|
|Route 51 Richmond||9,220||8,276||+11.4%|
When comparing this year’s January ridership to last year’s, the numbers show a strong rebound in post-pandemic travel, with every route seeing an increase.
January 2023 vs January 2022 Comparison
|Route||January 2023||January 2022||% Increase|
|Route 46 Roanoke||22,639||9,278||+144.0%|
|Route 47 Newport News||24,215||9,210||+162.9%|
|Route 50 Norfolk||31,226||12,007||+160.1%|
|Route 51 Richmond||9,220||3,271||+181.9%|
NOTE: Ridership declined in January 2022 due to a surge in the Covid-19 Omicron variant.
“The strength of these January ridership numbers – during what is usually a slow travel month – shows that demand for rail service across the Commonwealth continues to grow,” said DJ Stadtler, Executive Director of VPRA. “It also reveals that more and more travelers are looking for alternatives and will choose rail when the service is reliable, safe, and on time.”
January’s numbers follow a strong year for the Commonwealth’s Amtrak Virginia service with 1,021,452 passengers traveling on all state-supported trains for calendar year 2022 – which set a record for yearly ridership as it surpassed the previous record of 953,008 set in 2019. During the year VPRA and Amtrak launched two additional roundtrips – one between Roanoke and Washington, DC and one between Norfolk and Washington, DC – and, also resumed one roundtrip between Newport News and Washington, DC that had been discontinued due to the pandemic.
The Commonwealth of Virginia first launched state-supported passenger rail service in 2009 with one roundtrip between Washington, DC and Lynchburg. Since that time, the state’s service has grown to include eight roundtrips daily with stops at 17 stations along four corridors. All four routes provide service within Virginia and to Washington, DC and points north including Philadelphia, New York, and Boston.
About Virginia Passenger Rail Authority
The Virginia Passenger Rail Authority was established in 2020 to promote, sustain, and expand the availability of passenger and commuter rail service in the Commonwealth. VPRA is committed to delivering the state’s Amtrak Virginia passenger rail service as an integrated, affordable, and convenient travel option and plays a critical role in mitigating current and future traffic congestion on Virginia’s highways, promoting economic development, and connecting communities by increasing passenger rail capacity, services, and ridership. For more information, please visit vapassengerrailauthority.org.