Posts Tagged ‘Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation’

Virginia to Study Amtrak Expansion West of Roanoke

June 1, 2018

Virginia is studying expansion of Amtrak service west of Roanoke.

The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation is expected to begin the study during fiscal year 2018-2019, which also will focus on service to the New River Valley.

The agency has budgeted $350,000 for the study, which will be undertaken in cooperation with Amtrak and Norfolk Southern

DRPT Director Jennifer Mitchell said the New River Valley/Bristol intercity passenger rail and operating capital funding application will conduct modeling analysis of passenger rail between Roanoke and Bristol, Virginia.

DRPT wants to incorporate two years of ridership data from Amtrak’s Roanoke extension, which began in October 2017, before further expansion is considered.

New River Valley residents and visitors currently travel can connect by bus to the Amtrak station in Roanoke.

Mitchell said NS has made improvements on parallel routes to add capacity as part of the Roanoke passenger extension.

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Virginia Wants More Service to Richmond

May 22, 2018

The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation wants to see additional Amtrak service between Washington and Richmond, Virginia.

To provide that service, the agency said that two new tracks need to be constructed between Washington and Arlington, Virginia, after separate plans for an expanded Long Bridge are completed.

The Federal Railroad Administration and the District of Columbia Department of Transportation are expected to recommended a design and layout for the project later this year.

The recommendation for increased service to Richmond, which would also include an increase in service provided by Virginia Railway Express, was presented to  a Commonwealth Transportation Board subcommittee.

Parking Increases at Staple Mill Station

January 17, 2018

Expansion of parking at an Amtrak station in Richmond, Virginia, has added 115 spaces to the facility at Staples Mill Road is now complete.

The project began last August and increase capacity of the parking lot to 403 spaces. Work is underway to add another 200 parking spaces at the station.

“The completion of this phase is indicative of the Commonwealth’s commitment to giving our citizens travel options, and that includes our Staples Mill passengers as we continue construction on our parking lot expansion project. These additional parking spaces will enhance the Amtrak customer experience while we continue to work towards completion,” said Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation Director Jennifer Mitchell.

Hearings Begin on Washington-Richmond Corridor

October 12, 2017

Hearings are underway regarding the draft environmental report for a proposed higher-speed rail line between Washington and Richmond, Virginia.

Conducting the hearings are the Federal Railroad Administration and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation.

The first hearings were held this week with additional hearings set for Oct. 17, 18 and 19.
The report, issued, last month, calls for increasing maximum train speeds from 69 mph to 79 mph between Washington and Fredericksburg, Virginia, and to 90 mph between Fredericksburg and Richmond.

The 123-mile D.C.-to-Richmond corridor is part of the 500-mile Southeast High-Speed Rail Corridor between Washington and Atlanta.

The report also recommends infrastructure improvements that would allow for nine additional daily passenger-rail trips between the two cities.

FRA Favors DC-Richmond Higher Speeds

September 12, 2017

The Federal Railroad Administration is calling for a higher-speed rail approach to upgrading the Washington- Richmond, Virginia, corridor.

In a draft environmental impact statement issued last week, the FRA said the preferred alternative is increasing maximum train speeds from 69 mph to 79 mph between Washington and Fredericksburg, Virginia, and to 90 mph between Fredericksburg and Richmond.

The report estimated this would cost $5 billion in 2025 dollars.

The FRA and Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation are accepting public comments on the report for the next 60 days.

Those comments will be incorporated into the final environmental impact statement.

The 123-mile Washington-Richmond is part of the larger 500-mile Southeast High-Speed Rail Corridor that ends in Atlanta.

Tickets on Sale for Roanoke Amtrak Service

September 7, 2017

Tickets are now on sale on the Amtrak website for service to Roanoke, Virginia, that is slated to begin on Oct. 31.

A coach ticket from Roanoke was selling for $72 to Washington, $148 to New York and $168 to Boston when traveling in mid November.

Amtrak is extending a Northeast Regional route to Roanoke, which last had Amtrak service in 1979.

The train will depart Roanoke at 6:19 a.m. Monday through Friday and at 8:40 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The train will return to Roanoke at 10 p.m.

The Northeast Regional train that will serve Roanoke currently terminates in Lynchburg.

West of Lynchburg the train will use Norfolk Southern tracks that are now freight only.

Since 2011, Valley Metro has operated a bus from Roanoke to the Lynchburg Amtrak station. In 2013, Amtrak began selling Thruway tickets to Roanoke.

To bring rail service to Roanoke, the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation is paying about $103 million for capital improvements to the route, including construction of a boarding platform in downtown Roanoke.

Amtrak and local officials plan to conduct a welcoming ceremony in Roanoke on Oct. 30.

Amtrak Crews Qualifying for Roanoke Service

June 6, 2017

Amtrak crews are making non-revenue runs over Norfolk Southern tracks between Lynchburg and Roanoke, Virginia, to become qualified on the line.

Service is expected to begin this fall by extending an existing Northeast Regional service roundtrip to Roanoke.

The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation will fund the service. Efforts to restore Amtrak service to Roanoke have been ongoing for four years.

Roanoke was last served by the Hilltopper, which was discontinued on Oct. 1, 1979. That train operated between New York and Catlettsburg, Kentucky.

The route of the planned service to Roanoke will use a different route than the Hilltopper.

The latter train operated via Peterburg and Richmond, Virginia, whereas the Northeast Regional service will use the route of the New York-New Orleans Crescent north of Lynchburg via Charlottesville.

The service to Roanoke will be the fourth expansion of intercity passenger rail in the Commonwealth of Virginia since 2009 following new or additional trains to Lynchburg, Richmond, and Norfolk.

“The effort to expand rail options in Virginia has been made possible by the Commonwealth’s more than $100 million strategic investment in Norfolk Southern’s rail infrastructure, which makes this intercity passenger service extension possible,” Amtrak said in a statement. “Amtrak and DRPT continue a partnership to provide more intercity passenger rail travel in Virginia. Instead of driving on congested highway corridors like I-81, Route 29, I-95, and Route 460, travelers can use rail as a way to expand mobility and increase connectivity for travel throughout the regions served along the Northeast Corridor.”