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Eric S

Franconia-Springfield, VA

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I was perusing the Amtrak timetable this evening, and I noticed that Franconia-Springfield, VA, is no longer listed as an Amtrak station, and doesn't appear in the Northeast Corridor schedules. When did it get dropped as a stop?

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IIRC the only train to stop at Franconia-Springfield recently is/was 66/67. It's unfortunate, since that leaves Alexandria (King Street) as the one stop in Northern VA with frequent Amtrak service, and that stop has no parking at all.

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It's only 2 stops from ALX on the the blue line, and it had very low ridership (only 2,598 in FY2008). Very few trains stopped there, anyway. Plus we have have the Lynchburg train stopping at Burke Centre now, which is more convenient for the majority of Fairfax County than Franconia ever was.

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It's only 2 stops from ALX on the the blue line, and it had very low ridership (only 2,598 in FY2008). Very few trains stopped there, anyway. Plus we have have the Lynchburg train stopping at Burke Centre now, which is more convenient for the majority of Fairfax County than Franconia ever was.

Frankly I never understood why Amtrak stopped at Franconia in the first place. Amtrak is intercity service, not local milk run. Alexandria (King Street) is a short Metro ride from Franconia.

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It's only 2 stops from ALX on the the blue line, and it had very low ridership (only 2,598 in FY2008). Very few trains stopped there, anyway. Plus we have have the Lynchburg train stopping at Burke Centre now, which is more convenient for the majority of Fairfax County than Franconia ever was.

Frankly I never understood why Amtrak stopped at Franconia in the first place. Amtrak is intercity service, not local milk run. Alexandria (King Street) is a short Metro ride from Franconia.

 

I just found it interesting that around the same time that Amtrak added service to what had been a VRE-only station (Burke Center) on the Lynchburg Northeast Regional run, they dropped service to another VRE/WMATA station (Franconia-Springfield) while adding an additional Richmond Northeast Regional run.

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I just found it interesting that around the same time that Amtrak added service to what had been a VRE-only station (Burke Center) on the Lynchburg Northeast Regional run, they dropped service to another VRE/WMATA station (Franconia-Springfield) while adding an additional Richmond Northeast Regional run.

Both the Regional service to Lynchburg which started last October and the additional Regional to Richmond which started in July were funded by Virginia. There may have been a trade-off agreement between Virginia & Amtrak to add the Amtrak stop at Burke while dropping the lightly used (for Amtrak) Franconia stop. With the additional daily Regional service on the busy RF&P line, they may have also dropped Amtrak stops at Franconia to reduce traffic blockages at the station. Besides, as pointed out, the station is only 2 DC Metro stops south from the Alexandria station on the Blue line. Not hard to get to if you are taking Amtrak to or from Alexandria.

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IIRC the only train to stop at Franconia-Springfield recently is/was 66/67. It's unfortunate, since that leaves Alexandria (King Street) as the one stop in Northern VA with frequent Amtrak service, and that stop has no parking at all.

There is some limited parking at the Amtrak and Metro stations. But if it longer term parking you are looking for, the King Street metro station is only 2 stops away from Reagan National Airport on the Blue & Yellow line trains. Wouldn't be too difficult to park at the airport and take Metro to the King Street / Alexandria station. Parking at Reagan National is not cheap, but it is an option.

 

BTW, there are plans to improve the access between the separate Amtrak Union and King St Metro stations by building a pedestrian tunnel under tracks between the two with elevators going up to the Alexandria Union station platforms. Application with diagram on the VA DRPT website: http://www.drpt.virginia.gov/projects/files/6_VRE_Union-Station-Tunnel.pdf

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Guest CREW DORM #2524

FRS was dropped because 67&66 were the only thing stopping there. 67/66 is no longer a VRE cross-honor train(as well as 79/80. Also 19/20 and 51/50 on the Manassas side.), and the Amtrak ridership was very small at the stop. Maybe 1-2 Amtrak riders, maybe 1-2 VRE riders a trip. Plus remember 67/66 is running the wrong direction, outbound at 8am, inbound at 8pm. Burke Center is actually becoming a popular stop for those who live between Springfield and Manassas, and has gotten quite a few regular riders.

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It sounds like there are lots of legitimate reasons for no longer serving FRS--and yes, it is only two Metro stops from King Street. (The reliability of Metro is another open question.)

 

However, the parking issue really comes into play on the weekends, because the DC Metro doesn't start running early enough to catch 67 southbound (or, BTW, the weekend Vermonter northbound!). I've wanted to take a day trip from the DC area to Williamsburg (which 66/67 could do fairly well) and thought it would be a way to get friends interested in Amtrak, but if you can't actually get to the station that early... you're out of luck.

 

And maybe I'm just not enough of a railfan, but if I have to park at the airport to take a train, why am I taking the train again?

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