New Commonwealth Railway line set to open

RELATED TOPICS: SHORT LINES AND REGIONALS
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PORTSMOUTH, Va. – Double-stack trains will begin rolling next week on the Commonwealth Railway. The railroad, owned and operated by Genesee & Wyoming, had operated a line through urban neighborhoods in Portsmouth and Chesapeake, Va., which has 14 grade crossings.

To replace the crossing-riddled line, a new route has been constructed that will enable double-stack trains to move from container terminals in the port of Virginia directly to the Norfolk Southern’s Heartland Corridor, which opened in September 2010. An operating agreement with Commonwealth Railway was signed on Dec. 15, and the Surface Transportation Board has approved the switch of rail service from the existing tracks to the new line. Service is scheduled to begin the week of Dec. 20.

In the early 1980s, both Virginia Route 164 and Interstate 664 were built to accommodate a dual set of tracks in their medians. The Commonwealth Railway Mainline Safety Relocation project was established to locate the line into the median through Portsmouth, Chesapeake, and Suffolk, Va. Construction on the $60 million project began on July 9, 2007, and ended Dec. 31, 2009. The lead agency for the project was the Virginia Port Authority working in coordination with the Virginia Department of Transportation and the state Department of Rail and Public Transportation.

The new line will move cargo more efficiently to and from APM Virginia, the port authority’s terminal in Portsmouth, and the planned $2.1 billion Craney Island Marine Terminal, scheduled to open in 2017.

In mid-September 2010, $9 million in stimulus funding was approved for Phase II of the project, which involves construction of a second track, and a new line to provide more direct access to APM Virginia in Portsmouth. A construction agreement has been finalized between the Commonwealth Railway and the Virginia Port Authority and is awaiting approval from the Virginia Department of Transportation. Construction will take approximately nine months and should be complete by September 2011.
PORTSMOUTH, Va. – Double-stack trains will begin rolling next week on the Commonwealth Railway. The railroad, owned and operated by Genesee & Wyoming, had operated a line through urban neighborhoods in Portsmouth and Chesapeake, Va., which has 14 grade crossings.

To replace the crossing-riddled line, a new route has been constructed that will enable double-stack trains to move from container terminals in the port of Virginia directly to the Norfolk Southern’s Heartland Corridor, which opened in September 2010. An operating agreement with Commonwealth Railway was signed on Dec. 15, and the Surface Transportation Board has approved the switch of rail service from the existing tracks to the new line. Service is scheduled to begin the week of Dec. 20.

In the early 1980s, both Virginia Route 164 and Interstate 664 were built to accommodate a dual set of tracks in their medians. The Commonwealth Railway Mainline Safety Relocation project was established to locate the line into the median through Portsmouth, Chesapeake, and Suffolk, Va. Construction on the $60 million project began on July 9, 2007, and ended Dec. 31, 2009. The lead agency for the project was the Virginia Port Authority working in coordination with the Virginia Department of Transportation and the state Department of Rail and Public Transportation.

The new line will move cargo more efficiently to and from APM Virginia, the port authority’s terminal in Portsmouth, and the planned $2.1 billion Craney Island Marine Terminal, scheduled to open in 2017.

In mid-September 2010, $9 million in stimulus funding was approved for Phase II of the project, which involves construction of a second track, and a new line to provide more direct access to APM Virginia in Portsmouth. A construction agreement has been finalized between the Commonwealth Railway and the Virginia Port Authority and is awaiting approval from the Virginia Department of Transportation. Construction will take approximately nine months and should be complete by September 2011.
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