Virginia earmarks $758 million for passenger rail projects

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An Amtrak Northeast Regional departs from Richmond's Main Street Station for points north in August 2011.
Chase Gunnoe
RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia’s Commonwealth Transportation Board has set aside more than $758 million for passenger rail projects under its recently approved six-year improvement program. The funds will allow service expansions and infrastructure improvements that benefit Amtrak’s five Virginia-based regional trains, which operate from Norfolk, Newport News, and Richmond.

The money will also be used to triple or quadruple sections of track between Richmond and northern Virginia on tracks owned by CSX Transportation. Currently, Amtrak regional and long distance trains used the Class I railroad’s Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac Subdivision between Richmond and northern Virginia.

While the majority of the funding will translate to more trains and added service levels in Hampton Roads, the most significant improvements along the corridor will address rail congestion in Northern Virginia on CSX-owned tracks, the article says.

“A lot of the issues with expanding service or adding even more trains to Hampton Roads in both Newport News and Norfolk is this congestion up in Northern Virginia crossing the Potomac,” says Danny Plaugher, executive director of Virginians for High Speed Rail.

As a result, plans call for the expansion of CSX’s Long Bridge connecting Arlington, Va., and Washington. The double-track bridge serves freight, Amtrak, and Virginia Railway Express commuter trains.

Some of the remaining funding has also been allocated for the construction of a new multimodal transportation center in Newport News.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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