LETTER- Let's compete to use new train
Three cheers for Amtrak, the new train, and the rebirth of Virginia passenger rail! [May 20 news story: "Choo ching: New Amtrak service smashes ridership goal"
This train is the City's first train in 30 years and the first to go directly (no train change) from the city to points north of New York City in 159 years. According to the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, for March 2010, the fastest Virginia passenger growth has tracked the new train's route: Lynchburg (160%), Manassas (100%), Culpeper (90%), Charlottesville (68%), and Alexandria (38%).
In a friendly competition, Manassas rail advocates intend to take the #1 spot from Lynchburg later this year by 1) generating interest in the June 5 Manassas Rail Festival; encouraging hotels and B&Bs to tell potential visitors on their websites that Amtrak takes them straight into Downtown; encouraging day-tripping; and improving the rail station's webcam.
All cities along the train's route should encourage economic development by doing similar things. Let's see who can increase passenger growth the fastest.