No spikes: NYC rail service clears last hurdle

The CTB funded trains on these blue lines February 13 and then inked enabling agreements March 19.

By securing deals with Amtrak and the freight railroads that carry Amtrak's trains, the Commonwealth Transportation Board has removed the last major barrier the highly-anticipated three-year pilot program that would give Charlottesville a new, twice-daily link to Washington and New York.

"There is much work to be done to start the new service, but I'm confident that we'll be able to be riding the train on October first," said Meredith Richards, the person who spearheaded the service.

The move, part of the Board's six-year spending plan, was funded February 13 in a special meeting during which the rail service somehow survived a massive cost-cutting effort in the wake of an estimated $2.6 billion in state and federal funding shortfall over the next six years.

The Piedmont service has created some controversy for its alleged threat to the popular Starlight Express bus service. But just like President Barack Obama, who recently made rail a centerpiece of his economic recovery plan, Virginia is willing to spend cash on trains.

The proposed Amtrak service to the Piedmont–- which will terminate in Lynchburg–- will cost the state $1.9 million annually during the next three years. The state is paying another $11 million to subsidize three years of a new daily train to Richmond.

"The State's rail plan recognized that the Piedmont corridor was underserved by passenger rail and that there are significant unmet public transportation needs," Richards noted.


One has to applaud the efforts of Ms. Richards. I only hope that she will now turn equal attention to intermodal rail.

from the Hook:

After all, Governor Tim Kaine has signed a bill demanding a comprehensive study of what intermodal rail could do to long-haul, through-truck freight traffic on I-81. Rail advocates say that the Virginia Department of Transportation needs to look more seriously at options for improving rail lines along the I-81 corridor as it considers what to do to improve traffic flows on the highway.

Kind author:
Please correct President Obama's first name from "Barrack" to "Barack." Barrack is the name of a substandard local shopping center featuring poor parking, carelessly driving soccer moms and seniors, overpriced stores, and vacant shells.

In correctly spelling Mr. Obama's name, you can use a handy mnemonic trick to remember his first name: Barack A Ripoff As Coronated King.

Now, against the wall poor disseminator for your AP Stylebook public flogging!

re:"The Piedmont service has created some controversy for its alleged threat to the popular Starlight Express bus service."

This is funny. The hook does a superfluous article about this boutique bus service being "threatened" by a reliable mass transit alternative. Later on, the hook claims that "The Piedmont service" created the controversy? No. The hook created the mini-noncontroversy (which only existed in the pages of the hook and on this website) and is now touting its supposed existence.

Sorry, I misspelled the Commander-in-Chief's first name. Corrected now.--hawes spencer

I take issue with the graphic of beautiful rolling meadows labelled "appalachian coalfields"!

University folks are excited about the possibility of a speedy train trip to D.C. --but wait will it be speedy? The schedule they've received shows the same 6:38 am train and no faster than the current schedule.