Curtis Tate Published

Federal Funding Could Help Expand Amtrak’s Cardinal To Daily Service

An Amtrak train stops in Alexandria, Virginia in 2017. The train has a single locomotive and the train is bracketed by the station platform and the city skyline.
An Amtrak train stops in Alexandria, Virginia in 2017.
Curtis Tate/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

For years, Amtrak’s Cardinal has operated just three days a week. That could change.

Amtrak has submitted a request for Federal Railroad Administration funding that could expand existing long-distance trains or add new routes.

One of those included in the request: the Cardinal, which now stops in West Virginia on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The funding could help the train operate daily from New York to Chicago via Huntington, Charleston, Montgomery, Prince, Thurmond and White Sulphur Springs.

The Cardinal carried 80,000 passengers in fiscal year 2022, up 16 percent from 2021.

“Amtrak’s long distance routes are vital mobility and economic links for communities around the country and we’re continually working to enhance them,” Amtrak Board Chair Tony Coscia said in a statement. “These grant applications reiterate our commitment to improving service for all Amtrak customers, from small, rural towns to major metropolitan areas.”

The Cardinal’s stops in Thurmond, Prince and Montgomery serve the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, which gained national park status in 2020.

In the Eastern Panhandle, Amtrak’s Capitol Limited stops daily in Harpers Ferry and Martinsburg.