Posts Tagged ‘Bedford Virginia’

Bedford’s Efforts to Get Amtrak Station Derailed

April 25, 2019

Effort to create an Amtrak station in Bedford, Virginia, suffered a setback when a state transportation official recommended against funding the $10 million project.

Michael McLaughlin, the chief of rail for the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation opposed building a boarding platform in in Bedford because of projected low ridership.

McLaughlin said studies found a Bedford station would generate a net gain of 2,800 additional riders passengers on the Northeast Regional service that operates through the city.

Those trains also serve stations in Roanoke and Lynchburg, and creating a Bedford stop could potentially divert passengers from those stations, he said.

“Our data shows a lot of those riders would come from the Roanoke and Lynchburg areas,” McLaughlin said. “It would not be a wise return on the investment to have another station in Bedford.”

A final decision on Bedford’s bid for state funding for an Amtrak station will be made in June by the Commonwealth Transportation Board.

Members of the Bedford/Franklin Regional Rail Initiative committee are continuing to lobby for funding of a Bedford station.

“We are just trying to process this new development,” Bedford’s Economic Development Coordinator Mary Zirkle said of the recommendation that funding be denied. “We thought things were going in one direction and now it looks like it could be going in another.”

McLaughlin said the state is expected to spent $1.6 billion for rail projects and Bedford authorities want a share of that.

They contend that Bedford’s location between Lynchburg and Roanoke makes sense for a station.

The BFRRI said its feasibility studies showed more than 12,000 new passengers would be generated each year if there were a station in Bedford.

Bedford to Seek Grant for Amtrak Station

January 29, 2019

The Bedford, Virginia, town council is backing a bid by the Bedford/Franklin Regional Rail Initiative Committee to seek a $9.8 million grant from the state’s Department of Rail and Transportation to create an Amtrak station in Bedford.

The grant application also has received the support of the Bedford County Board of Supervisors.

Bedford interests are seeking a stop of an Amtrak Northeast Regional train that now terminates and originates in Roanoke, Virginia, to the west.

Bedford is located between Roanoke and Lynchburg, Virginia, both of which are served by Amtrak with Lynchburg also being served by the New York-New Orleans Crescent.

Amtrak began operating to Roanoke in October 2017.

“We have to apply for this grant in order to move forward on a feasibility study on a rail station,” Town Manager Bart Warner said. “This is not going to obligate us to anything, but is just part of the process.”

Officials estimate the station, expected to be located on Plunkett Street near Court Street, would be about $9 million, most of which would be paid for by the grant.

Bedford would have to pay for some site improvements with its own funds.

The BFRRI efforts began after the extension to Roanoke was announced but Bedford was not named as an intermediate stop.

Wende Gaylor, executive director for the Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce, said a meeting with Virginia Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine last November to discuss the station project went well.

Bedford previously was an Amtrak stop for the Hilltopper, which was discontinued in 1979.

Roanoke Set to Welcome Back Amtrak, Bedford Wants to be a Station on the New Route

October 27, 2017

A welcome ceremony to celebrate Amtrak’s return to Roanoke, Virginia, will be held on Monday on the new boarding platform.

The event will feature speeches by Sen. John Edwards, D-Roanoke, who championed the project, members of the Roanoke City Council and Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

The ceremony and a ribbon-cutting are scheduled at 12:20 p.m.

At 1:30 p.m., the platform and train will open for tours. Regular service will begin on Oct. 31.

In a related development, authorities in the Bedford, Virginia, area are making a push to get Amtrak service.

On Nov. 9 they plan to hold a rally to show Amtrak and state leaders their interest in reviving rail passenger service to the region.

“We just want to show, at the state level and Amtrak, that there is support for this stop,” said Susan Martin, president and CEO of the Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce.

The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation began surveying the town for a train station years ago.

Bedford is located on the route of the soon to be launched Amtrak Northeast Regional Service to Roanoke.

Like Roanoke, it was served by Amtrak until 1979 when the Hilltopper was discontinued.

The former Norfolk & Western station in Bedford has since been converted into a restaurant, but its owner, Harry Leist says the potential for more folks in his restaurant is a positive.

“When you increase activity, it’s a trickle-down effect, if I may use that term, and everyone benefits from it,” Leist said.

The New York-bound train is scheduled to pass through Bedford at 6:55 a.m. The Next Stop Bedford rally is set to begin at 6:30 a.m. at the proposed site of the Bedford stop.