New Charlottesville Train Service Late on Day One

At least we now have Amtrak service from Lynchburg to DC. From the Daily Progress:

The new train was due to arrive at the station at 2:15 p.m., and it pulled in at roughly 2:24 p.m.
Beginning in Lynchburg, the train officially starts its service today and will add 14 more trips per week in Charlottesville. It came to Charlottesville on Wednesday from Culpeper and then headed to Lynchburg after Kaine — who received a rail hat that said “Chief Engineer,” a train whistle and bandana — hopped on.


The train was originally scheduled to leave on weekdays from Lynchburg at 5:05 a.m. and arrive at Washington’s Union Station at 8:40 a.m., but that has since been revised to a 7:43 a.m. departure from Lynchburg and an 11:20 a.m. arrival in Washington.
“What I think will be emphasized is leisure travel and student travel. Because in both cases, people aren’t so tied to when they need to arrive,” Richards said.

I didn’t intend to write such a negative headline, as I really want to emphasize that getting even this route is a major success. But I’m colored by working with a fair number of international clients this year; in the words of one of my clients who lived in Germany for a couple years – “if a train is five minutes late, people get fired.”

Just so you know, the Amtrak code for Charlottesville is CVS. Washington DC is WAS.

If I were to buy a ticket to ride tomorrow on the Northeast Regional, I’d leave Charlottesville at 8:49am and arrive in DC at 11:20am. $45 up. Coming home, I’d leave DC at 4pm and arrive in Charlottesville at 6:26pm. $29.

Slideshow at the HooK.

Update 02 October 2009: Rick Sincere has a critical analysis of the new train service.

Related:

Charlottesville rail service for tourists
Inter-City rail in Virginia!

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4 Comments

  1. downtownenvy October 1, 2009 at 07:32

    Jim- you aren’t being negative. With this absurd schedule and the pricing, this is almost doomed to fail. Commuters can’t use it, and if they are relying on leisure travel, I think that most people will save the money and drive from here as well. I was hoping to use it to take my children to D.C. now and then, but at this rate and time I will continue driving. Sad. We do mass transportation to badly here, when Europe has managed it wonderfully for years.

    Reply
  2. downtownenvy October 1, 2009 at 07:33

    Jim- you aren’t being negative. With this absurd schedule and the pricing, this is almost doomed to fail. Commuters can’t use it, and if they are relying on leisure travel, I think that most people will save the money and drive from here as well. I was hoping to use it to take my children to D.C. now and then, but at this rate and time I will continue driving. Sad. We do mass transportation so badly here, when Europe has managed it wonderfully for years.

    Reply
  3. Jim Duncan October 1, 2009 at 17:02

    Absurd. That’s the word I was looking for. It’s almost as if those advocating for this schedule want it to fail … hmmmmm ….

    Reply
  4. Daniel Nairn October 1, 2009 at 18:55

    The schedule may not be ideal, but it’s still useful. I took the train this morning to a conference in D.C. It arrived almost right on time, and got me into Alexandria before 11. From Alexandria, I could easily hop on the metro. I was door to door in three hours, which is probably faster than I could have made it by car, if you consider parking and likely congestion on I-66. Much faster than flying.

    I guess I’m at the point where I’ve acknowledged that the schedule is what it is. I hope DRPT takes all of this into account when they assess the demonstration in three years, but it would be pretty cool if we got the 55,000 per year, handicap and all. That would send a clear message.

    Reply

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