Thank You for Sharing Your Amtrak Stories

March 1, 2016

For the past several months, we asked you to share your stories of your travel on Amtrak.  The purpose of the DC2RVA project is to improve intercity passenger rail in Virginia and provide better connections to the larger Southeast High Speed Rail system. And while we have heard from the public consistently throughout the project about the need for the project and purpose of proposed improvements, we wanted to provide a forum for the public to share personal accounts of using the system.  Hearing your stories confirmed some things we already knew to be true – that the reliability and frequency of passenger rail service needs to be improved to help reduce travel times to secure rail as an attractive travel option.

A common theme heard from participants was on-time performance or delays. At the same time, many people commented on the comfort of traveling Amtrak. We also heard about the vision many of you have for high speed rail in the area. These stories are both inspiring and motivating to the work that we are currently doing with the DC2RVA project. We received several detailed stories. Here are just a sampling:

Paul J. wrote: “As a father of four boys, I always tried to expose my boys to new things…one of my favorite things to do was to get up early on Saturday morning and take [one of my boys] to the Staples Mill Amtrak station to watch the Amtrak trains and the other freight trains that passed through the station…We would sit on the little wall outside and just watch and talk for an hour or more.

This exposure to train travel has led to my boys (all now in their 20s) to prefer Amtrak travel to any form of travel when they have choices.

Charles B. wrote: “My wife and I recently completed a round trip from Washington to Boston…It seems every time we use a NE Regional train north out of Quantico it is always 15 to 20 minutes behind schedule, and this time was no exception (Train 86). I am not sure how the train can lose that much time in the 75 or so miles from Richmond to Quantico.”

Jacob J. wrote: “My wife and I like to take Amtrak from Alexandria down to visit my dad and stepmom in Newport News. We leave on a Friday night, and return on Sunday morning…delays on that trip are pretty typical. I never give my dad a time to pick us up on Friday night because we are never really sure when we will arrive. We could catch a later train on Sunday, but I can't be sure we'll get home at a decent time to relax before work on Monday.” 

Winners of the Amtrak Story contest were awarded a DC2RVA project coffee mug for their participation. DRPT would like to thank all participants for taking the time to submit their stories.