Lynchburg leaders hope late schedule won't hinder new passenger train service - TransDominion Express


Lynchburg leaders hope late schedule won’t hinder new passenger train service


Civic leaders on the Lynchburg to D.C. route are working to keep the train on track.

When a second, daily passenger train pulls into Kemper Street station this fall, many are convinced it will have support.

“There already is a lot of excitement building in Lynchburg about this new service,” says Corrin Hoffmann with Lynchburg Regional Chamber, but ridership may be different than some first imagined.

The D.C. arrival time of 11:20 a.m. may keep business travelers from using the train for same-day commutes.

“Scheduling a service like this could be likened to threading a needle in the dark,” says Rex Hammond with the Lynchburg Regional Chamber.

Rex Hammond with Lynchburg’s Regional Chamber says Amtrak had to schedule the train around others that use the same track.

“One train will not serve everyone’s needs,” says Hammond.

Hammond is part of a regional coalition that’s supporting the new service.

They met with Congressman Tom Perriello in Charlottesville Thursday to come up with ways to get the most out of the train.

To help the new train be successful, officials plan to heavily advertise the service to leisure travelers and others who would benefit from the later departure time.

That includes the large number of college students, both in Lynchburg and Charlottesville.

“I think it presents a great opportunity to reach a variety of riders,” says Hoffman.

Low ticket prices could also drive ridership.

A round-trip fare is currently priced at $58.00.

Cheaper, some say, than driving.

Perriello has written a letter to Amtrak, asking them to reconsider their morning schedule.

He says it’s unlikely to change, but doesn’t believe that will doom the new service.

“The most important thing is to get it going, because we know there’s a lot of pent up demand between here and Washington if it’s on a reliable schedule,” says Rep. Tom Perriello/(D) 5th District.

The new train is being funded as a test program for the next three years, enough time, some say, to get riders on board and keep the train running.

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