Study shows rail system would have positive economic impact on Bristol,VA

A study conducted on an intercity passenger rail system in Bristol, Virginia reveals that there is enough interest and potential profit to bring an Amtrak stop to Bristol.

“Yes, there is going to be enough money at some point to make this something that is going to be interesting to Amtrak,” said Bert Poe, Community Development Director of Bristol, Virginia.

City officials say surveys indicated people would use the train for vacation, business trips or leisure and it would be an escape from driving on the interstate.

City officials also say making Bristol an Amtrak stop would in turn attract tourists, businesses and increase the number of Uber and Lyft Drivers in the area.

For people like Natasha Lee and her son, an Amtrak stop would be more than ideal. Lee lives in Roanoke, Virginia and drives to Bristol at least six times a year to visit family.

“I think it’s a really pleasant way to travel without having to drive on 81 and I have family here in the Bristol area and I love the idea of being able to get on the train,” Lee said.

The City of Bristol Virginia says their next step would be to convince the Virginia Development of Rail and Public Transportation to fund a study for track infrastructure.

“If you think about it, Bristol was built around the train,” Poe said. “It would be really nice to use our train station for a train.”

A big challenge also will be convincing Amtrak to bring passenger rail service to this part of the country.

Bristol officials say, if all goes well, they hope to see Amtrak coming to Bristol in the next four years.

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