ROANOKE, Va. – Amtrak and Norfolk Southern are inching closer to a final deal to bring a second Amtrak train to Roanoke.
You can expect a second Amtrak train to chug through Roanoke by spring of 2022.
Michael McLaughlin with Virginia Passenger Rail Authority said the Roanoke route saw 220,000 rides just two years ago.
“My point is that it shows that if you build it they will come. If you add a train they will come,” said McLaughlin.
Schedule times are still up in the air, but McLaughlin said they are working with Norfolk Southern to offer afternoon times.
“That allows people to get up to the Washington D.C area or other parts north to meet someone that evening or be fresh and ready for a morning meeting,” he said. “And that will give the ability to get to their hotel room and get some rest.”
He said the second train will add 80,000 net new rides, including the extension to Christiansburg coming in about five years.
To ease operations in Roanoke, the plan is to work with Norfolk Southern and build a bypass to divert freight traffic; however, the second train could arrive before the infrastructure changes are completed.
Still looking ahead, McLaughlin said there are discussions about potentially adding a stop in Bedford too.
McLaughlin said nothing is set in stone yet but expects an agreement to be finalized by the end of the year.