ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Starting Monday, Amtrak is officially expanding service for the Star City by introducing an extra roundtrip that goes between Washington, D.C. and Roanoke.

The celebration of this new option for train customers kicked off at the Alexandria Amtrak Station at 7:20 a.m. on Monday, July 11 and will continue at the Roanoke Amtrak Platform at 1:15 p.m., shortly after the train is set to arrive.

The new service — launched by the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority and Amtrak — is expected to bring a number of state-funded trips to southwest Virginia.

Amtrak will now offer morning and afternoon trips between Roanoke and Washington, D.C., with stops in between on the Northeast Regional line. This marks the second train to make a stop in southwest Virginia.

The Northeast Regional has coach and business seating, as well as a café car with snacks and beverages.

Customers can already start buying tickets for the new daily service to and from Roanoke on the Amtrak website and mobile apps, or by calling 800-USA-Rail.

This news comes as more people resume taking trains following pandemic-related disruptions. The Virginia Passenger Rail Authority says ridership is going up, already passing the numbers from 2019.

The train service recently expanded into Richmond, but there are still many more plans to reach other parts of the Commonwealth. In fact, Amtrak wants to extend another train line all the way into the Roanoke Valley by 2025.