NEWS RELEASE – December 12, 2022
Three daily trains serve waterfront city
RICHMOND & WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA) and Amtrak celebrate the 10th Anniversary of state-funded rail service between Norfolk and Washington, DC. The service, which began with one roundtrip on December 12, 2012, has grown to three roundtrips daily and has carried more than 1.7 million passengers over the past ten years.
When the service launched through an agreement between the Commonwealth, Amtrak, Norfolk Southern, and CSX Transportation (CSXT), it marked the return of passenger rail service to Norfolk for the first time since 1977. The service grew over the years, adding a second roundtrip in March of 2019 and a third roundtrip just this past July.
“The growth and expansion of our state-supported service to Norfolk would not be possible without the strong partnership we share with Amtrak, Norfolk Southern, and CSX,” said DJ Stadtler, Executive Director of VPRA. “Together we are working towards a goal of establishing rail at the forefront of Virginia’s transportation network and looking at the ridership growth of the Norfolk service, Virginians increasingly support that goal.”
After departing Norfolk, the Amtrak Northeast Regional service makes stops at Petersburg, Richmond, Ashland, Fredericksburg, Quantico, Woodbridge, Alexandria, and Washington, DC before continuing up Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor. providing same-seat service to Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston.
The Norfolk station, located at 280 Park Ave., is also a stop for the Amtrak Thruway Bus Connection for service to the Amtrak station in Newport News.
“The public’s support for daily train service in Norfolk has been tremendous,” said Ray Lang, Vice President of State Supported Services at Amtrak. “We are proud to partner with the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority to offer customers a sustainable and comfortable transportation option instead of driving and flying.”
“CSX congratulates the Commonwealth, Amtrak and City of Norfolk for this milestone anniversary of passenger service returning to Norfolk and the record ridership on this route,” said Andy Daly, Senior Director of Passenger Rail Operations for CSX. “This cooperative partnership and balanced approach to establishing and expanding service has successfully enhanced passenger and freight rail service, eased congestion and supported the state and local economy.”
“Norfolk Southern is proud of our partnership with the State of Virginia, Amtrak, and CSX to serve passengers in the state while continuing to move the goods that power the U.S. economy,” said John V. Edwards, General Director, Passenger Policy at Norfolk Southern. “This service remains an example of how thoughtful collaboration and deliberate investment come together to fulfill transportation needs for all.”
“This route provides a very attractive option for Hampton Roads residents seeking to travel towards the nation’s capital, allowing them to take to the rails at three different times of the day and avoid one of the most congested highway corridors on the East Coast. The route’s growth over the past 10 years is testament to Virginia’s leading approach to building our intercity rail network in conjunction with our railroad partners,” said Virginia Secretary of Transportation Shep Miller. “I commend our partners – VPRA, Amtrak, CSX, and Norfolk Southern – for their work to connect Virginians.”
“As the third-most populous city in Virginia, it is vital that Norfolk have transportation options that are viable and reliable, and our Amtrak service is a large part of that,” said Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Cooper Alexander. “The ridership growth we have seen on our state-supported Amtrak service is a true testament to the state’s commitment of meeting the transportation needs of all Virginians. We are proud of its success and celebrate its 10th anniversary!”
“Thirty-five years after the last train left the station in Norfolk, Amtrak service returned to Norfolk in 2012,” said Jennifer DeBruhl, Director of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation and Chair of the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority Board. “Passenger rail service has been an economic driver for the Hampton Roads region, with the growing ridership over the last 10 years demonstrating Virginians’ desire to have safe and convenient transportation.”
Most recent ridership figures for the Norfolk service reveal an increase year-over-year and an increase over pre-pandemic numbers.
October 2022 vs October 2021 Comparison
|Route||October 2022||October 2021||% Increase|
|Route 50 Norfolk||37,110||17,649||+110.3%|
October 2022 vs October 2019 Comparison (pre-pandemic)
|Route||October 2022||October 2019||% Increase|
|Route 50 Norfolk||37,110||26,936||+36.8%|
The popularity of rail service to Norfolk can be seen in the growth of ridership year-over-year since the state-supported service launched.
|Route 50 Norfolk||Total Ridership|
*Third roundtrip began July 2022.
**Ridership declined due to the pandemic. One of the two roundtrips to Norfolk was canceled between April 2020 and September 2020 due to pandemic-related service cuts.
***Second roundtrip began March 2019.
****Includes December 2012 through September 2013 as service began December 12, 2012.
Virginia is the 15th state to partner with Amtrak for intercity passenger rail service. Through agreements between the Commonwealth, Amtrak, and the host railroads, CSX and Norfolk Southern, VPRA offers rail service on four corridors from Washington, DC to Roanoke, Richmond, Newport News, and Norfolk.
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 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
For 50 years, Amtrak has connected America and transformed transportation by modernizing train travel and building for the future. Amtrak will continue to play an important role in the national transportation network for the next 50 years and beyond by operating a safe, environmentally efficient and fiscally responsible business by providing travelers with an experience that sets a new standard. Book travel, check train status, access your eTicket and more through the Amtrak app. Learn more at Amtrak.com and connect with us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.