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Virginians for High Speed Rail hosts town hall on updates to train system

Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 3:46 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 16, 2021 at 8:14 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Virginians for High Speed Rail is working to boost Virginia’s train system. The organization hosted an event that provided some updates on improvements Thursday, September 16, and what’s ahead for travelers and commuters.

Improving capacity, quality, and choice is what Transforming Rail Virginia will focus on, especially with the increase in traffic as people return to work.

The $2 billion Long Bridge project is working to expand passenger rail in the commonwealth. This projects adds a new two track bridge over the Potomac River and a fourth track in Washington, D.C. into Union Station.

“All of our passenger trains go over that today. We’re not able to expand the passenger rail, or really even be able to resurface further, until that bridge is expanded. So that is a key component of our Transforming Rail in Virginia program,” Virginia Department of Rail & Public Transportation Director Jennifer Mitchell said.

On the western side of Virginia, there is a partnership with Norfolk Southern.

“This is a deal that we’re working on with them, it was announced earlier this year, extending the current Lynchburg train to the New River Valley. We’re working on an assessment now to see where that station will go, but these projects will allow us to have more capacity heading out to the New River Valley to Roanoke and beyond,” Virginia Passenger Rail Authority Executive Director DJ Stadtler said.

With all the projects, improving service and accessibility is emphasized.

“Transforming Rail in Virginia is about increasing capacity, improving the quality of service, and also providing additional sources, particularly in the I-95 corridor, whether it’s coming from Hampton Roads, Richmond itself or Fredericksburg North into D.C.,” Mitchell said.

The dedicated passenger tracks may cause delays while under construction, but at the end of the day will work to improve that reliability.

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