Digest: VRE to add additional round trip on Fredericksburg line

News Wire Digest for July 22: CN buys new hoppers; Georgia county to again vote on transit expansion
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VRE train and Washington Monument
VRE will add one round trip on its Fredricksburg line next week, reflecting increased ridership.
Virginia Railway Express

Wednesday rail news in brief:

VRE set to add one round trip as ridership improves

Virginia Railway Express will add a daily round trip to its Fredericksburg Line schedule as of July 27, supporting social distancing efforts as use of the commuter rail route increases. “"We are closely monitoring ridership on both the Fredericksburg and Manassas lines and will adjust service as the number of passengers grows," Rich Dalton, VRE's acting CEO, said in a news release. "We have seen enough of an increase on our Fredericksburg Line to warrant an additional round trip. These two new trains, along with other measures, will allow us to continue to protect the health and safety of our passengers and train crews." Added will be northbound train 300, which departs Spotsylvania at 4:54 a.m. and arrives in Washington at 6:32 a.m., and southbound train 307, which departs Washington Union Station at 4:10 p.m. and arrives in Spotsylvania at 6:06 p.m. They are the first trains added since VRE went to its reduced-frequency schedule on March 17.

CN to buy 1,500 grain hoppers
Canadian National announced it will purchase 1,500 new high-capacity grain hopper cars, with delivery expected to begin in January 2021. It is CN’s second major purchase of grain hoppers in two years; it bought 1,000 such cars in 2018 and has cited the higher-capacity cars as a factor in a string of recent record performances for Canadian grain movement [see “CN sets multiple Canadian grain-hauling records,” News Wire Digest, July 7, 2020]. “We are confident in the future of the grain business and its key role in CN’s long-term growth,” CN’s CEO, JJ Ruest, said in a press release announcing the purchase.

Georgia county to again vote on transit plan
Less than two years after voters in Georgia’s Gwinnett County turned down a transit measure that would have extended MARTA rail service into the county, they’ll once again be asked to approve funding for transit expansion. The Gwinnett Daily Post reports the vote this Nov. 3 will differ from the earlier effort in that it will specifically ask to fund improvements for the Gwinnett County Transit agency. The March 2019 referendum, turned down by 54% of voters, asked for the county to join Atlanta-based MARTA. The new proposal asks voters to approve a 1% sales tax to fund rail and bus service; over the 30-year life of the tax, it is projected to raise more than $12 billion. The Gwinnett County Commission approved sending the measure to voters by a 4-1 margin.


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