Amtrak routes in Virginia. Image by DRPT.

Virginia's Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) created this handy subway-style map of all 11 Amtrak lines in the state. It's simple, but it usefully illustrates where you can get on intercity trains in Virginia.

The maps divides Virginia's 11 lines into three categories: Orange for national long-haul trains that happen to pass through Virginia, blue for spurs of the Northeast Corridor that Virginia specifically pays to operate, and teal for a train that North Carolina pays to pass through. VRE trains aren't shown.

The route numbers on the Northeast Corridor spur trains are Amtrak designations. Every Amtrak route has a number, just like a bus route, but usually they're not shown to the public. DRPT must have included them here rather than labeling all four lines as the “Northeast Corridor.”

What stands out?

A few things stand out as interesting on this map.

First, 10 of the 11 routes go through Alexandria. Of course this is because those trains continue on to Washington and New York. But on a map like this, Alexandria looks like a major hub.

Second, notice how Virginia's state-supported routes stop more often than the national long-haul routes, at places like Burke Centre and Woodbridge. That dual service pattern is almost like an express/local pair.

Third, this map clearly illustrates why it's so much easier to get a train to Richmond's suburban station at Staples Mill—served by seven routes—than to its downtown Main Street Station, served by only one.

What stands out to you? Have you seen any other state-level Amtrak maps like this? Tell us in the comments.

Dan Malouff is a transportation planner for Arlington and an adjunct professor at George Washington University. He has a degree in urban planning from the University of Colorado and lives in Trinidad, DC. He runs BeyondDC and contributes to the Washington Post. Dan blogs to express personal views, and does not take part in GGWash's political endorsement decisions.