Virginia service expansion

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jis

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Deal finalized to bring passenger rail to NRV

The state has finalized the agreement with Norfolk Southern Corporation to expand passenger rail service to the New River Valley for the first time since 1979, Gov. Ralph Northam’s office announced Thursday.

The Western Rail Initiative expands passenger rail service to the New River Valley and complements the $3.7 billion Transforming Rail in Virginia program, the Commonwealth’s roadmap for building a 21st-century rail network.

The agreement was executed following authorization from the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority Board of Directors, according to a news release.

...

 
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"The state has finalized the agreement with Norfolk Southern Corporation to expand passenger rail service to the New River Valley for the first time since 1979, Gov. Ralph Northam’s office announced Thursday. "
What passenger train service was running in the New River Valley in 1979?
 

RebelRider

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Any word on if this will be a midday turn in Roanoke, or will they be storing a second trainset there overnight?

No room at the inn for a second overnight train. It will be a mid-day turn. Look for an extension of 151 WAS-RNK. 67 will continue to NPN, but 66 will be flipped to originate from RNK. In its place, 186/124 will be extended to originate from NPN in the afternoons.
 
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What passenger train service was running in the New River Valley in 1979?

Wiki confirms Hilltopper. (link) Before that it was the Mountaineer.

It's a shame Blacksburg doesn't have any rail. Christiansburg is pretty close and just off of US460 and I-81, but a train to the heart of Blacksburg would be nice.
 
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btw the article in the original post is behind a paywall. If you can't read it, there is more information at Railway Age. Highlights -

To expand service, Gov. Ralph Northam announced May 5, 2021 that the agreement includes:

$38.2 million for the acquisition of approximately 28 miles of NS-owned right-of-way and existing tracks from Christiansburg to the Salem Crossovers west of Roanoke, and a passenger rail easement between the Salem Crossovers and the Amtrak Roanoke station platform. NS will continue to provide freight service on the line. (Note: easement details provided in the Jan. 13 announcement.)
$219 million for Roanoke Yard improvements; a 7-mile siding from Nokesville to Calverton; the creation of a 22-mile continuous double-track corridor from Manassas to Remington; and improvements from Salem to Christiansburg, including signaling and track upgrades, a maintenance facility, a passenger platform, and other infrastructure work along the Route 29/Interstate 81 corridor.


The double track on the old Southern is sweet. This might open the door to more Charlottesville service.
 

jis

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Ryan

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It's a shame Blacksburg doesn't have any rail. Christiansburg is pretty close and just off of US460 and I-81, but a train to the heart of Blacksburg would be nice.
The Christiansburg extension will be sufficient, there is already frequent mass transit service between the campus and the proposed areas for a station (which technically sits in a suburban strip mall hellscape between downtown C-burg and B-burg). My only dissapointement that my son will miss out on the extension if he graduates on time. He's a frequent patron of the current service and the second frequency starting this year is going to massively make the trip home better. I wish that all of this was in place when I was there 20 years ago.
 

Ziv

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$1.4Mn per mile of right of way and existing tracks. Not cheap but definitely worth it.
I wish more states would step up to the plate.

btw the article in the original post is behind a paywall. If you can't read it, there is more information at Railway Age. Highlights -

To expand service, Gov. Ralph Northam announced May 5, 2021 that the agreement includes:

$38.2 million for the acquisition of approximately 28 miles of NS-owned right-of-way and existing tracks from Christiansburg to the Salem Crossovers west of Roanoke, and a passenger rail easement between the Salem Crossovers and the Amtrak Roanoke station platform. NS will continue to provide freight service on the line. (Note: easement details provided in the Jan. 13 announcement.)
$219 million for Roanoke Yard improvements; a 7-mile siding from Nokesville to Calverton; the creation of a 22-mile continuous double-track corridor from Manassas to Remington; and improvements from Salem to Christiansburg, including signaling and track upgrades, a maintenance facility, a passenger platform, and other infrastructure work along the Route 29/Interstate 81 corridor.


The double track on the old Southern is sweet. This might open the door to more Charlottesville service.
 

SwedeC

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Help me understand the need for a seven-mile siding Nokesville-Calverton that is totally inside the double-track plan Manassas-Remington. TIA.
 

RebelRider

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Help me understand the need for a seven-mile siding Nokesville-Calverton that is totally inside the double-track plan Manassas-Remington. TIA.

You are correct - the press release is a bit misleading. The railroad is already double track from the connection with CSX at Alexandria to Nokesville. They're not constructing a 7 mile siding, just adding back the second main track between Nokesville and Calverton. This will result in just over 45 miles of double track, though IMHO it should be double tracked from Remington to Mountain Run in Culpeper, as well. I do hope they put in universal crossovers at Nokesville and Calverton. NS loves their long chunks of double main line, but without crossovers in the middle they really are just passing sidings. No flexibility to both meet and overtake trains in the same area.
 
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I hope Bristol comes soon! Much closer to us and a beautiful station. With Bristol, Va, Bristol, TN abutting and Abingdon, VA as well as Johnson City and Kingsport, TN not that far away, there is a lot of potential in the Tri-Cities area. And for us down in western NC, it's an easy ride on scenic, low volume I-26 then a short ways on ugly I-81.
 
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I hope Bristol comes soon! Much closer to us and a beautiful station. With Bristol, Va, Bristol, TN abutting and Abingdon, VA as well as Johnson City and Kingsport, TN not that far away, there is a lot of potential in the Tri-Cities area. And for us down in western NC, it's an easy ride on scenic, low volume I-26 then a short ways on ugly I-81.
Hey, if they could get Tennesse to chip in some $$$, they could extend the train to Chattanooga, and then we'd have the Chattanooga Cho-Choo back!
 
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Seaboard92

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It's been a while since either Chattanooga or Knoxville have had any rail service, isn't it?

Knoxville's last passenger train was the Southern Railway's Birmingham Special which was a Washington-Birmingham train via Roanoke and Bristol. Now this train ran up until 1975 in some form. The Southern abandoned this train in a crafty piecemeal style that killed the service. At first they didn't list them as thru trains across state lines, even though it kept the same number the train was split into Tennessee and Alabama sections. Then they would apply to the state to abandon the service and it was granted. So while some remnant of the Birmingham Special ran up until 1975 the part from Bristol to Birmingham was long gone by the April 1971 Official Guide. Remember the Norfolk & Western joined Amtrak in 1971 and Amtrak didn't chose to continue the truncated version down to Bristol so that was cut. But because of a clause with the Amtrak law any service you opted to keep after A Day had to stick around till 1975 before it could be discontinued. So the last remnant lasted till 1975 on a Washington-Lynchburg route oftentimes with just one coach on the head end of a piggyback train.

As far as Chattanooga it lost service on A Day when the Louisville & Nashville's unnamed local was dropped. This train had previously been known as the Georgian and operated St. Louis, MO to Atlanta, GA.

It's amazing how much random rail knowledge I know.
 
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And with it, they lost the Union Station. The remaining station, now a hotel, served the Southern.
Some years ago TVRM had a regular excursion train from their museum station on a convoluted routing to the The Chattanooga Choo Choo - Downtown Chattanooga. I had great hopes the station would one day be used again for Amtrak. But, as Google maps will show you, rail access has now been obliterated by apartments.

Perhaps a new station could be built in east Chattanooga on the NS near TVRM and the airport.
 
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