USRJ S3 Ep 08 Through Virginia to Alexandria

Through Virginia to Alexandria – US Rail Journeys Series 3 Episode 8

In ‘Through Virginia to Alexandria’ the Silver Star travels through 220 miles of Virginia.

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Into Virginia:

Soon after leaving Rocky Mount we enter Virginia. The first town that we pass through is Emporia which has been a transport crossroads for many years.

The town became a city in 1967. A major north-south CSX railway line crosses a Norfolk Southern east-west line in Emporia and for those who prefer traffic jams U.S. Route 58 crosses Emporia east-west and Interstate 95 and U.S. Route 301 cross north-south.


Just under 100 miles from Rocky Mount we reach our first stop at Petersburgh. We’re running late!

The station is also known as Ettrick station because it is outside Petersburgh and dates from 1955. Passenger numbers in 2021 were 21,476.

Richmond, Virginia:

Another 30 miles we reach Richmond in Virginia. The station is about 5 miles north of downtown as it replaces the old downtown station in 1975.

As I travel through, in July 2022, the station serves nine routes with 18 daily trains. All of these travel north to Washington Union Station and New York Pennsylvania Station with some continuing to Boston’s South Station.

Staples Mill Road is the busiest Amtrak station in 2018 in Virginia with 373,800 passengers.

Alexandria Union Station:

We continue on our northward jouney, past the US Marine Corps base and FBI Academy in Quantico as we travel along the Potomac River.

In Alexandria the original station, a one-story brick building completed in 1905, is still in use. Unlike most stations from the era, it is in the Federal Revival style.  The stone and concrete Veterans of Foreign Wars memorial dates from 1940.

Next up:

If you enjoy these podcasts please join me in a couple of weeks for the next part of my journey on the Silver Star to New York.


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Author: Tim D

In the early 1970s Mr Timothy & his Phonograph was a popular mobile disco around Leeds University and Tim was known as MrT. Tim also spent 9 years broadcasting a weekly programme on Hospital Radio in Wakefield. He worked for more than 40 years for large industrial organisations and spent his last 15 years in global commercial management roles. Following retirement he started making podcasts in 2017.