Hampton Roads is served by three inter-city passenger rail stations—Newport News, Williamsburg, and Norfolk—via Amtrak’s Northeast Regional line. The service offers one-seat connections to Richmond; Washington, D.C.; and as far north as Boston. In Washington, passengers can connect to a spur that provides service to Lynchburg. State grants support daily service from Washington to Lynchburg and Hampton Roads.
From Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2013 to 2014, annual ridership levels remained nearly the same at the Williamsburg station, with Newport News experiencing a slight decline. That station saw 112,661 passenger boardings and alightings in FFY 2014, a 12% drop from the previous year’s 128,317 passengers. During the same time, very little change occurred at the Williamsburg station, with 62,026 passengers in FFY 2013 and 61,074 passengers in FFY 2014 (a 2% drop).
Amtrak welcomed passengers to Norfolk on December 12, 2012, where rail service was restarted after a 35-year absence. On December 2, 2013, a temporary waiting platform adjacent to Harbor Park was replaced by a 3,500 square-feet, $3.75 million train depot at the same location. Norfolk saw 39,181 passengers in FFY 2013 (approximately 10½ months)**; in FFY 2014 (12 months), 41,843 passengers. Since these figures are based on the federal fiscal year, which begins October 1 of the preceding year, the FFY 2013 data for Norfolk does not include ridership from October 1, 2012 to December 12, 2012.
In his 2015 State of the City Address, Norfolk mayor Paul Fraim announced plans for the city’s new depot: “To improve ridership and passenger convenience–we have been in discussions with the State to secure a later weekday departure time from 5 AM to 6 AM–and we hope to have a favorable response in the near future. Two additional train slots are also planned.”