Mar 1, 2024 - News

Richmond's Staples Mill is the busiest train station in the Southeast

a squat, bland building

Ladies and gentlemen, the busiest train station in the Southeast. Image: Courtesy of Virginia Passenger Rail Authority

Amtrak's Staples Mill station is once again the busiest train station in the Southeast — by far.

State of play: Just over 424,000 riders passed through Richmond's squat, circa-1970s train station last year, according to the latest numbers from Amtrak.

  • That's nearly 100,000 more riders than the 348,079 that passed through in 2022, Amtrak tells Axios.
  • And those riders were traveling during the station's two-month refresh last year.

Why it matters: Of the Southeast's five busiest stations, Richmond has the smallest population, per data from National Association of Railroad Passengers — and Richmond has two major rail stations.

  • An additional 128,730 riders passed through Main Street Station last year, Karina Romero with Virginia Passenger Rail Authority tells Axios.
  • The region stretches from Virginia to Florida and to the west to include Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi and Louisiana.

Where they're headed or coming from: North, mainly, and on trips between 100-199 miles, which accounted for 54% of travel in 2022, the most recent year available, per rail passenger association.

  • D.C., New York, Alexandria, Philly and Baltimore were the top five destinations in 2022, in that order.

Fun Fact: Richmond has held the busiest Southeast station rank since at least 2018.

Zoom in: The top five stations in the Southeast last year, according to Amtrak:

  • Staples Mill — 424,617 passengers.
  • Alexandria — 327,285.
  • Charlotte, North Carolina — 281,220.
  • Norfolk — 232,530.
  • Raleigh — 231,229.

What they're saying: "Richmond is not just the capital of Virginia, it's the epicenter of the East, connecting the Southeast and the Northeast by rail," DJ Stadtler, executive director of the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority, said in a statement.

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