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Amtrak, in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) and Norfolk Southern Railway, this week will begin operating non-scheduled trains on track between Lynchburg and Roanoke, Va.Amtrak is operating the trains to help locomotive engineers and conductors learn the track and territory between the two cities. The trains, which will carry no passengers, are expected to operate two times per day, five days a week, according to an Amtrak press release.Operating qualifying trains is a key step in the process to bring intercity passenger-rail service to Roanoke this fall, Amtrak officials said. The railroad's Northeast Regional service will extend from Lynchburg to Roanoke and operate one roundtrip seven days per week.Amtrak, the DRTP and Roanoke officials are working to return passenger-rail service to the city for the first time in 40 years. Northeast Regional service will provide a same-seat trip to and from Roanoke and to Washington, D.C.; Baltimore; Philadelphia; New York City; and other cities along the Northeast Corridor.
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