Welcome to CvilleRail ...dedicated to the extension and enhancement of intercity passenger rail for the Virginia US29 (and now also I-81) Corridor.
Founded by a group of Charlottesville area citizens and local leaders, CvilleRail launched a local campaign in 2005 to bring regional passenger rail service to the US29 Corridor. For almost 40 years, the corridor was served by only one daily train, the Amtrak Crescent. One of Amtrak's long-distance trains, the Crescent connects New Orleans to New York, with daily stops in Charlottesville. The Amtrak Cardinal between Chicago and New York stops in Charlottesville three days a week.
Both of these services were severely lacking in accessibility (too few seats were reserved for Charlottesville patrons), comfort and reliable on-time performance. Passenger demand for these trains far exceeded the supply of seats. Furthermore, surveys of Charlottesville's business community established that over 60% of the businesses regularly send their employees or associates to Washington, DC for business purposes, yet they rarely travel there by train. Clearly, there was a need for enhanced passenger rail to Washington for Charlottesville and other communities in the US29 corridor, and CvilleRail set out to make it happen!
After two years spent raising public awareness through events, media releases and public presentations,te Piedmont Rail Coalition was founded by CvilleRail in 2007 to extend the reach of advocacy to political jurisdictions throughout the US29 corridor. The coalition engaged twenty-two local governments and government institutions plus dozens of organizations to work together to bring enhanced passenger rail to the corridor.
Our efforts succeeded in bringing a new daily regional rail service, an extension of Amtrak's Northeast Regional route, to the corridor. The new service began on October 1, 2009 and became an immediate success, achieving ridership and revenue numbers that greatly outperformed the predictions. In 2017, the train served 190,000 passengers between Virginia stations and Washington, DC, with the most active station on the route being Charlottesville with over 84,000 passengers.
In November, 2017, the Lynchburg-Washington route was extended Southwest to serve the city of Roanoke, the culmination of years of advocacy and public engagement by Roanoke citizens and public officials who advocated for the service. Prior to the extension, Roanoke had not had passenger rail for over 38 years. The city of Roanoke partnered with the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Tranportation to build a new level-boarding platform in downtown Roanoke, and Amtrak continues to shuttle passengers by Thruway to and from Blacksburg to meet the daily departing and returning train.