- Virginia Service
numbers=66-67; 75-78; 81-88; 93-96; 99; 194-195
Washington, DC Richmond, VA Newport News, VA
distance=188.4 mi (303.2 km) outside the
start=June 14, 1976
Amtrak's "Virginia Service" is a southern extension of the Northeast Corridor, carrying "Regional" trains south from Washington, DCvia Richmond to Newport News, Virginia. Unlike the Northeast Corridor, it operates on tracks privately owned by CSX Transportation, and does not carry high-speed trains. The line north of Richmond is also served by four daily long-distance trains - the "Carolinian", "Palmetto", "Silver Meteor" and "Silver Star" - and the line north of Fredericksburg is served by Virginia Railway Express Fredericksburg Line commuter trains. At Newport News, Thruway Motorcoachbuses continue to Norfolk and Virginia Beach.
The trains are known only by the "Regional" label and their numbers, but were formerly assigned separate names (along with all other
Northeast Corridorroutes). The names were retired on October 28, 1995 with the new "NortheastDirect" brand, but returned with the November 10, 1996 timetable. On May 16, 1999, prior to the January 31, 2000 start of electrified "Acela Regional" service, most old names were permanently retired, and on March 17, 2003 the " Acela" name was dropped due to confusion.
North of Richmond, "Virginia Service" trains generally provide four round trips per day, with only three southbound on Saturday and northbound on Sunday. Two daily trains continue east from Richmond to Newport News, with an extra Friday trip.
Trains 66 and 67 (former "Twilight Shoreliner"/"Federal")
The nightly Boston-Richmond 66/67 round trip was once the
Twilight Shoreliner, with higher-class accommodations than other corridor trains. It is now simply another "Regional" train, but runs overnight.
The "Twilight Shoreliner" was the only name to survive the 1999 retirement of names due to its elevated level of service. The train first ran July 10, 1997 as a renaming and extension of the Boston-Washington "Night Owl" (trains 66 northbound and 67 southbound), which at one time also carried the New York-Washington "Executive Sleeper" (trains 866 and 867) to allow New York passengers to stay in their
sleeping cars longer. At that time train 66 was split into 66 (Sunday to Thursday evenings) and 76 (Friday and Saturday evenings); they were rejoined as the daily 66 on April 29, 2001. On April 28, 2003 the 66 and 67 were cut back to Boston-Washington to allow Washington passengers to remain in their sleeping cars and renamed the "Federal". The daily 76, weekend morning 75 and weekday morning 77 "Regional" trips provided connecting service beyond to Newport News. The November 1, 2004 schedule rejoined the separate trains into the northbound 66 and southbound 67, now "Regional" trains with no separate accommodations.
Trains 94/194 and 95/195 (former "Old Dominion", "Gotham Limited" and "Tidewater")
Trains 94, 95, 194 and 195 provide daily service between Boston and Virginia, leaving in the morning and arriving in the evening. 94 (weekdays) and 194 (weekends) run northbound from Newport News to Boston, and 95 (weekdays) runs southbound to Newport News. The weekend southbound 195 terminates at Richmond; Boston-Newport News service is provided by the 99, which runs two hours later than the 195.
Trains 94 and 95 were the first of the "Virginia Service", started June 14, 1976 as the Newport News-New York "Colonial" to replace the removed Newport News section of the "James Whitcomb Riley". By 1988 the train was extended to Boston; shuttle trains 494 and 495 connected at New Haven for travel to and from Springfield. On October 26, 1992, by which time it had been truncated back to New York, Amtrak renamed the "Colonial" to the "Old Dominion" to avoid "bad
connotations" due to two derailments that year in Newport News, on April 29 and August 12. In the April accident, the train hit a dump trucktrying to beat the train, killing the driver. The "Colonial" was also involved in a crash near Baltimore in January 1987, killing 16 and injuring 175. At the same time the former weekend-only "Old Dominion" (trains 93 and 96) was renamed the "Tidewater".
Between 1992 and 1996, the "Old Dominion" was again extended to Boston, but the Saturday northbound 94 and Sunday southbound 95 trips were dropped, replaced by the Saturday-only Newport News-New York "Gotham Limited" (train 194) and Sunday-only New York-Richmond "Tidewater" (train 195, matching the northbound Sunday-only Newport News-New York "Tidewater" train 96). The Saturday 95 trip was truncated into the Boston-Washington "Potomac" (train 191) on July 10, 1997 with the startup of the "Twilight Shoreliner" (the 99 Boston-Newport News "Virginian" also gained a Saturday trip at that time). Other than the April 28, 2003 conversion of the 191 back into a Saturday 195 (at the same time as the 87 New York-Richmond lost its Saturday trip), the only changes since then have been to the northern terminal, which was gradually extended to Boston on all days.
Trains 76/86/88 and 85/87 (former "Colonial")
Trains 85, 86, 87 and 88 run between Richmond and the northeast, leaving in the morning and arriving in the evening. Northbound trains are the Weekend 88, Saturday 82 and weekday 86, all running from Richmond to Boston. Southbound, the weekday 85 and Sunday 87 run only from New York to Richmond; there is no corresponding southbound Saturday service (the 99 runs on Saturday, two hours earlier than the 87 would run).
Train 88 is the weekend version of 86. For a while, 88 was split into Saturdays-88 and Sundays-76, but that was short-lived, and Train 88 runs both weekend days once more.
By 1988, the 85 and 86 were the daily "Virginian", running between Richmond and
New York City. The train was extended to Boston via the " Inland Route" between 1992 and 1996, but truncated to Springfield and then back to New York by 1998, at which time it got the new name of "Colonial". Except for more extensions and truncations at the north end, the only real change since then has been the dropping of Saturday southbound service (then part of the 87) on April 28, 2003 in favor of restoring the Saturday 195.
On August 12, 1992 the "Colonial", traveling at nearly 80 mph just outside
Newport News, Virginia, entered a switch that had just moments before been opened by a pair of teenaged saboteurs. Though there were no fatalities, dozens were injured. 60 of the passengers subsequently sued Amtrak and CSX (who owned the right-of-way) for negligence, but the case was decided in favor of the railroad companies as it was determined that there was no way for the train crew to prevent the incident. The two teens were sentenced to federal prison terms for the crime.
Trains 82/84 and 83/93/99 (former "Virginian")
Trains 82, 83, 84, 93 and 99 run between Virginia and the northeast, leaving in the morning and arriving in the evening. Southbound, the Monday-Thursday 93 runs from Boston to Richmond, while the Friday 83 and weekend 99 continue to Newport News. The 99 runs to Newport News in place of the 195, while the 83 provides an extra trip (paired with the 78). Northbound, the Saturday 82 runs from Richmond to Boston, while the weekday 84 terminates at New York. Sunday service is provided by the 76, one hour later than the 82 would run.
Trains 84, 93 and 99, the "Virginian", were operated by 1996. The 93 ran Monday to Thursday from Boston to Richmond, and the 99 from Boston to Newport News on Friday and Sunday; the 84 ran the other way from Richmond to Boston every day but Sunday. A Saturday trip for the 99 was added July 10, 1997 with the startup of the "Twilight Shoreliner" and the truncation of the Saturday 95. The only other changes since then have been to the northern terminal.
Train 78 (former "James River")
Train 78 runs late Friday evening only from Newport News to Richmond. It has no bus connections from Norfolk/Virginia Beach and no rail or bus connections at Richmond. The 78 is essentially a
deadhead tripopen to passengers, operated to bring the equipment from the 83 back to Richmond for the 82.
The 78 was once the "James River", paired with the Sunday Washington-Newport News 75 (also called the "James River"); the trains were added between 1992 and 1996. With the July 10, 1997 startup of the "Twilight Shoreliner", the 75 was eliminated, as was the Sunday-only Newport News-New York "Tidewater" (train 96). The southbound "Tidewater", train 195, was kept, as was the 78, which has stayed the same ever since, not even gaining a stop at
Richmond Main Street Stationwhen it opened on December 17, 2003.
The "Colonial" (trains 94 and 95) were the first of the "Virginia Service", started June 14, 1976 with the removal of the Newport News section of the "James Whitcomb Riley". Since then the service has expanded, including a short-lived Richmond-Atlantic City weekday round trip operated as part of the "Atlantic City Express".
As of November 2005, trains make the following station stops; odd-numbered trains run southbound and even-numbered trains run northbound. Bolded stops are made by all "Virginia Service" trains that run over the particular section.;
Boston South Station
*Boston Back Bay
*Westerly (no 82, 88 or 94);
*Mystic (66, 67, 83, 93 and 99 only)
*Old Saybrook (no 82, 88 or 99)
New Haven Union Station
*Bridgeport (no 66, 67, 94, 95 or 194)
*New Rochelle (no 66, 67, 94, 95 or 194)
84, 85 and 87 terminate at New York; all others (except 78) continue to Boston.
New York Penn Station; New Jersey
Newark Penn Station
*Newark International Airport (no 66, 67, 84, 85, 86, 95 or 195)
*Metropark (no 84 or 94)
Philadelphia 30th Street Station; Delaware
*Aberdeen (82, 85 and 93 only)
Baltimore Penn Station
District of Columbia
Washington Union Station; Virginia
*Alexandria Union Station
*Franconia-Springfield (66 and 67 only)
*Woodbridge (84, 85, 87, 88, 95 and 195 only)
*Richmond Staples Mill Road
Only 66, 67, 83, 94, 95, 99 and 194 continue south from Richmond to Newport News; the Friday-only 78 runs only from Newport News to Richmond.
Richmond Main Street Station(no 78)
*Mike Schafer, Amtrak's atlas, "Trains" June 1991
* [http://groups.google.com/group/rec.railroad/browse_frm/thread/f72627496b94ae09/9cf3a76d1fd99cd0?lnk=st&q=amtrak+colonial+%22newport+news%22&rnum=3&hl=en#9cf3a76d1fd99cd0 Va. Train Names Changed] ,
Washington PostOctober 29, 1992
* [http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=Amtrak/am2Route/Vertical_Route_Page&c=am2Route&cid=1080842092684&ssid=134 Amtrak - "Regional"]
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