Archived Story

Passenger rail begins

Published 10:26pm Monday, December 10, 2012

Passenger rail service returns to Norfolk this week for the first time since 1977, and Suffolk will begin seeing its effects Tuesday.

Public service begins Wednesday, with trains leaving the Norfolk station and stopping in Petersburg en route to Washington, D.C., and destinations farther north including Philadelphia, New York, New Haven and Boston.

“We’re extremely excited to launch this service extension to the city of Norfolk,” said Christina Leeds, a spokeswoman for Amtrak.

A train will travel through Suffolk Tuesday for a VIP tour.

Once actual service begins Wednesday, the train will travel through Suffolk once in the morning and once in the evening. Neither Amtrak nor Department of Rail and Public Transportation officials could give an exact time that crossings in Suffolk will be held up.

The train will leaves Norfolk at 4:50 a.m. Monday through Friday and at 6:05 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. The return trip arrives in Norfolk at 8:50 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8:48 p.m. Saturday and 11:48 p.m. Sunday.

“The train will be very short, compared to the freight trains that keep the crossings blocked for an extended amount of time,” city spokeswoman Diana Klink wrote in an email responding to questions. “We do not anticipate much impact from the passenger trains on the roads in Suffolk at this new service.”

After Norfolk, the next stop to the west is Petersburg. Communities along the route, including Suffolk, had wanted a station — Suffolk even had a potential location chosen — but the plans did not pan out.

A special introductory fare, $19, for the Norfolk-to-Washington trip is being offered for the month of December, said Amanda Reidelbach, manager of policy, communications and administration for the rail department. Customers must book before Dec. 17 to get the lower rate, and there are blackout dates, including Dec. 22 and Dec. 31.

For more information or to get tickets, visit www.amtrak.com.

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