• Lynchburg VA NE Regional (ext. to Roanoke and Bristol)

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

  • 1233 posts
  • 1
  • 78
  • 79
  • 80
  • 81
  • 82
  • 83
  by Arlington
 
NS did well for itself in exchange for 2 daily NEC trips “as early as” 2025:

1) VA will buy the Virginian line from west of Roanoke to Christiansburg 28 .5 miles for $38.2M
2) VA will jointly spend $219m to make sure the Southern mainline is double tracked between Manassas and Remington (near Culpeper) (how is there any single track on the Southern mainline on the vaunted Crescent Corridor???)

3) Governor cites desire to press onward to Bristol. (Which I think would be clearly better by bus on interstate but maybe the state considers buying rail capacity parallel to 81 to be a good way to postpone having to add lanes on 81

https://www.washingtonpost.com/transpor ... er-valley/
  by Anthony
 
Arlington wrote: Wed May 05, 2021 4:00 pm NS did well for itself in exchange for 2 daily NEC trips “as early as” 2025:

1) VA will buy the Virginian line from west of Roanoke to Christiansburg 28 .5 miles for $38.2M
2) VA will jointly spend $219m to make sure the Southern mainline is double tracked between Manassas and Remington (near Culpeper) (how is there any single track on the Southern mainline on the vaunted Crescent Corridor???)

3) Governor cites desire to press onward to Bristol. (Which I think would be clearly better by bus on interstate but maybe the state considers buying rail capacity parallel to 81 to be a good way to postpone having to add lanes on 81

https://www.washingtonpost.com/transpor ... er-valley/
This is great news, but I have a few questions about the project.

When did NS come back to the table for negotiations for this passenger rail expansion project? I know they had pulled out of talks in late 2018, but I never heard anything about them coming back to the negotiating table after that news.

Also, how will they get two round trips to Christiansburg by 2025? I can see them extending the existing Roanoke train to the NRV, but given the fact that there is no more capacity on the Long Bridge for expansion right now and won't be until 2030 at the earliest, when expansion of the bridge's capacity could be completed, where will they find the capacity on the existing Long Bridge to run a second train to Southwest Virginia?
  by Arlington
 
Short answer: Virginia paid the required price

CSX started making Extra/New slots on their Long Bridge available through the combined magic of (1) Having completed their own double stack project in the Virginia Avenue tunnel (2) Virginia having committed to for real build an additional Long Bridge (3) Virginia buying billions of CSX assets
Last edited by Arlington on Wed May 05, 2021 8:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by Arlington
 
NS came back around the time that Virginia started doing big deals with CSX, and VDRPT let it be known that favorable deals were going to be had—And thanks to already securing the long bridge slots the missing element was simply what would NS require to get their side of the deal done

And what Norfolk southern got was a mini version the same opportunity to offload duplicate assets at prime prices.

Per this article's headline from WSET,Christiansburg will have an Amtrak station by 2025
Also, sometime in 2022, a second train will be departing Roanoke
it is the VGN line ("the V line") that Roanoke and Radford has now been offloaded to the State for $38m.

Image
Last edited by Arlington on Thu May 06, 2021 11:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
So apparently the VA DRPT has agreed to acquire the VGN to Christiansburg. First I was surprised to learn it was still an active line, and, secondly, after "taking a ride " in the Googlemobile by places it has gone along the line, it would appear the line could be at present FRA Class 3 (60 mph Passenger).

Of interest, if the "target" is to serve the Hokies at VPI (can't recall, who around here went there?), the VGN is closer to Campus than the N&W.

Yes Virginia, you are train lovers.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
That's great to hear about the service expansion in Southwest Virginia to Christiansburg. Before that happens, improvements like the second track between Manassas and Remington must happen. I wonder if an opposite side platform at Roanoke Station should be built? The fact that there is a single side platform at Roanoke is like there is a single sided platform at Altoona which is also along a busy NS line.
  by KTHW
 
I’m surprised NS hasn’t sold their line between Alexandria and Manassas. I don’t think there’s much traffic on it outside of a few local customers. I imagine there’s far more passenger trains than freight trains over it at this point.
  by kitchin
 
Arlington wrote: Wed May 05, 2021 5:19 pm Image
That map is not accurate. Mr. Google's map lines up with the VDOT city maps for Christiansburg and Blacksburg. Here is Christiansburg:

Image

On Google satellite, the northern VGN rail seems to be in a tunnel under US-460 Business and US-460 ?? The DRPT press release calls this area Merrimack, the western end of the rail purchase.

East of where the southern N&W line crosses US-460 Business is a "1.8" distance indicator under a blue dot on the city map. That is the site of a proposed new Amtrak station, on land purchased by the town for it, across from the Christiansburg Aquatic Center.

If the new service is to be on the VGN, then the town has some extra land now! The other possibility is that the state is railbanking the VGN line and Amtrak will run on the N&W, but that would probably not be what NS wants.

The curvy VGN line reminds me of one of the state's other recent purchases, the so-called Buckingham Branch (really a CSX rebranding to soak up a shortline subsidy), in particular the part between Gordonsville and Doswell. That segment is being railbanked and is not planned for passenger service any time soon. (The old James Whitcomb Riley route between Charlottesville and Richmond, which took 1:50 even before Amtrak.)

As for what else NS got as incentive, I recall the state paid twice for track improvements on the low pass over the Blue Ridge Mountains west of Bedford, once before Roanoke service started, and once afterwards. But I may have that wrong. The second pay-out may be tied to the extension to Christiansburg.
  by Arlington
 
What sense does it make for the state to buy the VGN line if the station will be on the NW line?
  by Arlington
 
cle wrote: Thu May 06, 2021 12:34 pm Will this be an extension of a current Regional service which terminates at DC?
I think (1) This train will make enough $$$ that it would be worth scheduling in its own right and (2) COVID has scrambled all our speculation from the 2015 era.

We had liked getting that whole branch an early train south out of new york. Train 185 had been an 8:10a train. Here's what I'd propose still:
NYP 07:10
WAS 10:50
ALX 10:55
CVS 12:00
LYH 13:10
RNK 14:30

RNK 16:30
LYH 17:50
CVS 18:00
ALX 20:20
WAS 20:35
NYP Before Midnight
  by kitchin
 
cle wrote: Thu May 06, 2021 12:34 pm
Arlington wrote: Thu May 06, 2021 11:10 am Daily Roanoke trip #2 will start in 2022 (it won't wait for Christiansburg in 2025)
https://www.wsls.com/news/local/2021/05 ... ouncement/
Will this be an extension of a current Regional service which terminates at DC?
Same route. I don't know if they terminate at WAS or north.
Arlington wrote: Thu May 06, 2021 11:32 am What sense does it make for the state to buy the VGN line if the station will be on the NW line?
A few comments on Facebook confirm what was obvious to everyone but me - Amtrak will run on the VGN and a station site has not been pinned down. I was on a wild goose chase thinking maybe the purchase of the VGN line was just a way to compensate NS for use of N&W, but of course it's not. Facebooker says NS nixed the idea of using the main line N&W two years ago.

That makes Bristol seem unlikely, since it's there's only one, mainly single track line to there, NS. But state pride and regional politics play some role in these public statements, I'd venture. The "lower" (northern) Shenandoah Valley would be a better pax rail market. Or Charlottesville to Richmond, even it takes 1:50. The other east-west route, Petersburg to Lynchburg, was a pipe dream. Even the website doesn't get updates.

If it's of any interest, CSX runs empty coal cars on the northern route, east to west on the Buckingham Branch through Doswell to Afton Mountain and the Crozet Tunnel. It runs full coal cars along the James River, west to east, Lynchburg to Petersburg. That's one reason why Petersburg to Lynchburg was unlikely to get passenger service again.
  by Arlington
 
The Christiansburgs passenger station authority has already made 2 acquisitions totaling 8+ ac and $350k along the NW line (see comments above about a station at the 1.8 mile mark on the uS 460 highway map)

Aka the Aquatic Center site

It is not accurate to say that the locals have not chosen a station site —they have, and they have actually purchased it whether someone can persuade them to change site is a separate question but I have not seen any evidence that they’ve been persuaded to change sites other than that the state is buying VGN

The VGN line is slightly closer to Blacksburg—but I worry that it has a tunnel under 460 right where the station should go
  by Arlington
 
This persuades me That Christiansburg will have to give up its NW site, since in addition to buying the VGN the state will be investing $50m in it.

From multiple sources, here is my breakdown of the Western Rail Initiative

$38.2m purchase of VGN line
- 29 miles
- East from "Salem Crossovers"
- West to "Merrimac" (a hamlet on the Cburg/Bburg border where the VGN is in a tunnel under US 460
$51.0m improvements on the VGN line
- signaling and track upgrades
- maintenance facility,
- passenger platform and station.
$36.5m Roanoke Yard Improvements (presumably to ease exit/return on the west end of today's RNK platform)
$131.5m for NS upgrades to US29/I81 Corridor
- 7-mile siding from Nokesville to Calverton, creating a continuous two-track corridor for 22 miles from Manassas to Remington


38.2m in purchase
219.0m in upgrades
257.2m total costs
Last edited by Arlington on Sat May 08, 2021 9:15 am, edited 3 times in total.
  • 1
  • 78
  • 79
  • 80
  • 81
  • 82
  • 83