WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Evan Jenkins, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin and others speak highly of a meeting held with Amtrak officials Tuesday.
The meeting stems from a recent Amtrak decision to stop charter and special service trains. This would negatively impact West Virginia traditions like the New River Train running from Huntington to Hinton.
Jenkins, who was not in attendance, said he felt the meeting put them closer to carrying on the New River Train.
“There are still some issues that remain to be resolved, but every single person in the room wants to keep the New River Train running. I will continue to work to ensure the New River Train runs for a 52nd year this fall and am encouraged by the results of today’s discussion.”
Included in the meeting were representatives from Hinton, Summers County and the Collis P. Huntington Railroad Society. Hinton City Manager Cris Meadows said he felt “optimistic” following the meeting.
“The New River Train and Hinton Railroad Days are a huge promotion for the train industry and Amtrak, and they encourage people to travel by rail who never would have otherwise. It’s in everyone’s interests to reach an agreement, and I’m encouraged by the discussion we had here in Washington.”
Manchin said losing the New River Train would take an estimated $5 million out of West Virginia’s economy. He first spoke with Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson on April 3.
“Richard Anderson and I both agree that we need to find a solution and I received a commitment from him that they are committed to continuing their partnership with Collis P. Huntington and finding a solution that both sides are happy with.”
The Collis P. Huntington Historical Society is a 59 year-old non-profit that operates private railroad cars through Amtrak, like the New River Train.
Both Jenkins and Manchin have taken credit for organizing Tuesday’s meeting.