June 06, 2023

Manchin Applauds Application for Federal Grants to Improve Long Distance Network, Increase Cardinal Line Service

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) applauded Amtrak for submitting applications for Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) funding for 16 proposed projects across the country that would improve long-distance rail reliability, reduce travel times and expand service. One of the proposed projects is upgrading the Cardinal line, which passes through West Virginia, to daily service.

“I applaud Amtrak for seeking infrastructure funding to restore daily service on the Cardinal line that travels through the Mountain State. This is a great step in connecting West Virginia communities, bringing more visitors to our great state and creating new economic opportunities,” said Senator Manchin. “Thanks to my work in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are now one step closer to implementing daily service on the Cardinal line. I am committed to seeing daily rail service in Charleston, Huntington, the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve and the many communities along the Cardinal line and I will continue working to see West Virginia get the daily passenger rail service it deserves.”

Amtrak was established by the Rail Passenger Act of 1970 to provide intercity passenger rail service and several long-distance routes were added in the decade following its creation. However, long-distance network service reductions over the past 50 years have resulted in many communities losing common carrier transportation options, as well as the economic and social benefits of those connections. The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) directed the FRA to conduct the Amtrak Daily Long-Distance Service Study to assess the potential for daily intercity passenger rail service on Amtrak’s few routes that only offer three-day-a-week service. This includes the Amtrak Cardinal, which passes through West Virginia, connecting key communities and landmarks like the Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve, the State Capitol in Charleston and Marshall University in Huntington. The Cardinal line is the only train with an Amtrak stop within a National Park – the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve – in the entire United States.

Senator Manchin’s recent efforts to strengthen rail service:

  • On May 31, 2023, Senator Manchin announced $576K from the DOT Railroad Crossing Elimination Program to improve rail safety across West Virginia.
  • On February 24, 2023, Senator Manchin called on DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg to provide greater clarity on the Norfolk Southern train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio which is 20 miles from the West Virginia border. Senator Manchin also urged DOT to review and improve their inspections practices with a specific focus on maintenance and safety of railroads.
  • On November 2, 2022, Senator Manchin applauded the launch of the Amtrak Daily Long-Distance Service Study through the FRA. The study was made possible by the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and will evaluate the potential for daily long-distance intercity rail passenger service and new Amtrak long-distance routes, including the Cardinal route.
  • On June 6, 2022, Senator Manchin announced $1.6 million from DOT for safety improvements along the Appalachian and Ohio Railroad (A&O) from Grafton to Buckhannon.
  • On May 24, 2022, Senator Manchin led a group of 21 bipartisan Senators in urging U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB) Chairman Martin Oberman to address the delays and service disruptions currently affecting the U.S. freight rail network.
  • On November 15, 2021, Senator Manchin applauded the signing into law of his Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which included historic investments in rail and transit systems, as well as language permanently restoring ticket agents that were de-staffed across the country, including in Charleston.
  • On October 18, 2021, Senator Manchin secured a $4 million Congressionally Directed Spending Request, or earmark, for rail infrastructure upgrades at the Port of West Virginia in Brooke County.
  • On July 9, 2021, Senator Manchin visited the Charleston Amtrak Station and reviewed the progress on the platform project.
  • On June 16, 2021, Senator Manchin secured language in the Surface Transportation Investment Act to authorize a study to evaluate ways Amtrak could restore the Cardinal daily service, which passes through West Virginia.
  • On October 20, 2020, Senator Manchin rode the Cardinal Train to attend the Montgomery Amtrak Station ribbon cutting ceremony following a $1.8 million remodel of the platform.
  • On June 26, 2020, Senator Manchin called on Amtrak to commit to resuming daily service for its long-distance routes across the country and provide a detailed timeline on the plan to resume those services.
  • On May 26, 2020, Senator Manchin applauded Amtrak’s announcement of their intent to re-staff the Charleston Amtrak station with ticket agents, following through on a provision Senator Manchin authored in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 federal appropriations bill.

For more information on the Amtrak Daily Long-Distance Service Study, please click here.