Charlottesville, Virginia is one of those few Amtrak stations located on the junction of two railway lines that requires two platforms to serve the 3 trains that stop there. The Cardinal comes in from the west from West Virginia along the Buckingham Branch, a shortline railroad, and crosses the Norfolk Southern Line used by the Crescent and the Lynchburg Northeast Regional Train at a grade just before both trains have their separate platforms. These are on each side of the Amtrak station housed in the Historic Railway Express Agency. Union Station beyond it has been turned into a restaurant. The Cardinal, which uses Charlottesville to change crew, (the Crescent waits until Lynchburg) then follows separate trackage via Gordinsville to Orange where it finally joins its other two counterpart Amtrak trains on the Norfolk Southern Line. According to published timetables (the one effective November 2011) mileage wise the routes are almost the same, the Cardinal to Culpepper is 47 miles while the Crescent route is 44 miles. Time wise though the trackage used by the Cardinal is partially in bad condition and a slower trip taking an hour and 13 or 16 minutes while the Northeast Regional Lynchburger and Crescent can do it in only 52 minutes.
All photos taken on 6 November, 2011
Last Updated: 10 November, 2011