• 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

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  by dgvrengineer
I'm confused when Gov. Northam mentions continuing on to Bristol in the future, but they purchase a line that doesn't connect anywhere with the N & W Bristol line. The state would have to purchase some property to connect it up and that won't be easy or cheap. I'm sure(I hope) they have a plan but I'm at a total loss as to what it might be.
  by Gilbert B Norman
Might anyone know, wonder, or find out just how much traffic is left on the VGN West of Roanoke?

I fear the coal is gone.

That Topper is willing to sell some of the VGN to the Commonwealth to access a source of passengers is one thing, but along with the Norfolk port authorities, I'm sure he envisions Containers rolling through Bristol to and from the sea. East of Roanoke, sixty five years ago, the N&W envisioned one way roads when gobbling up the VGN in a "bloodless coup".

Now before we hear cries of "Bring back The Tennessean", let's ask how much passenger traffic is there Christiansburg-Bristol?
  by kitchin
dgvrengineer wrote: Fri May 07, 2021 6:20 pm I'm confused when Gov. Northam mentions continuing on to Bristol in the future, but they purchase a line that doesn't connect anywhere with the N & W Bristol line. The state would have to purchase some property to connect it up and that won't be easy or cheap. I'm sure(I hope) they have a plan but I'm at a total loss as to what it might be.
I suspect they're just saying "Bristol" but it's not too serious. Southside and Southwest get a good share of transportation projects, much to chagrin of high-growth Northern Virginia, but Amtrak at Bristol won't be one of them. The state government is funded by the "urban crescent" and other wealthy areas (with their own internal income disparities). Lynchburg losing I-64 was a blow, but decades later they've built a superhighway to North Carolina, without the "I-" designation. I-81 is a more harrowing drive than I-95 now, with almost daily news reports of trucks gone sidewise during commute hours. Truckers don't like the diligent smoky bears on the long I-81 route through Virginia. The "inland port" in Northwest apparently hasn't done much to move that to rail. Other areas Southside sport lightly traveled highways that haven't changed in fifty years. Anyway, Blacksburg is a place that needs passenger rail for real, and Va. Tech is Amazon HQ2's designated research university.

Long-term, the far flung sleepy towns would benefit from service, and the coal trains won't be running forever on NS and CSX (at least at the density they do now). There are two counties that share valleys up in a crook against West Virginia, Allegheny and Highland. One got rail and became a manufacturing and resort destination, the other is a beautiful piece of forestry, sheep and maple syrup. The odd shape of the state was itself determined by where rail went before the Civil War, when West Virginia cleaved off.

Two sizable plants touted for Southside in the last fifteen years were built and operated but have now closed: Ikea was the most politically visible, but also Rolls Royce making jet engine components. So that's some context for words out of Richmond about Bristol. I could be wrong. But NS is putting its foot down by all accounts. Heck, it decamped its HQ from Norfolk to Atlanta. Probably for the airport! ;)
  by Arlington
So I made a rough map, not knowing exactly where the Salem Crossovers might be (the VGN and NW are parallel for more than 3 miles and connect at several points, offering many points you might call a crossover)

But I think we can conclude that, as far as rail goes, a new VGN stop is the end of the line.
1) VA is only buying as much of the VGN as is needed to get to Bburg/Cburg, and not to "connect westward"
2) Going onward to Bristol BY RAIL would probably require a new stretch of rail between "Slate Branch" (along which the VGN runs) and "Crab Creek" (along which NW runs)
3) I cant find any "old leg on a wye" or any other indicators that the VGN ever aspired to go southwest from Merrimac.

NRV has always been where "rail stops making sense" for passenger service:
- Crescent Corridor capacity is better devoted to freight
- I-81 is a fast and free flowing right of way for bus
- Demand should be proven by bus
- Either Blacksburg or Roanoke would make a fine bus hub
  by Arlington
My Guess is that the governors political staff told him he should say “Bristol” even after the VADRPT staff would have said “we just made Bristol less likely”

Once we get to 3 daily Blacksburg trips, the next expansion that is “worth it” for paying NS next $200m in demands is probably creating a Day Crescent as far as Charlotte (as previously discussed here, such a train would have strong demand from both ends)
  by Matt Johnson
So I departed from and arrived at new stations this week! There is a connecting bus in Roanoke for the New River Valley, and I'm sure VT students will appreciate a more direct rail connection in a few years.
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  by Arlington
THis map is shamefully inaccurate considering it is from the VADRPT "official" map.

1) the VGN is depicted inaccurately where it crosses "the 460s" (Business and Regular) at Blacksburg
2) the VGN does not intersect anything at the Radford Army Depot ( the depot is east of "Belspring" on the map, which shows some of the Depot's track intersecting, but neither does).

Basically there's no direct rail way "onward" from a VGN Amtrak Station in Blacksburg.

Not that I think that's bad: Bristol is an easy 2 hours by I-81 from Blacksburg. Recall that when Lynchburg opened, it was about a 1.5 ~ 2hr bus ride from Blacksburg...and people made that trip.

Now imagine the Blacksburg bus hub:
THe Greenbrier: 1h47
Beckley WV: 1h33
Bluefield WV: 1h22
Woodlawn VA: 1h
Bristol 2h
Danville VA (!) 2hrs (only 1h 30 to RNK and only 1h20 to LYH)
Winston Salem NC: 2h
UVA College at Wise: 2h40
Charlotte NC via I-77 2h40
  by twropr
Back when Amtrak was running west of Roanoke in the early 1970s the N&W allowed only 45 MPH WB to MP 266, 50 MPH MP 266-279 and 30 MPH MP 279-Christiansburg, and speeds are similar today. No differentiation between passenger, intermodal and freight. Max on the Whitehorn Dist (former VGN) was and is 40. Could NS and VA have figured that it would be cheaper to upgrade the VGN than the N&W? When I rode Amtrak's MOUNTAINEER in early '76 (it had a dome) I remember that the Radford Dist. had a manicured r-o-w with sweeping curves and wondered why speed was so slow.
  by Arlington
I’d hope that in passenger centric operations we’d see plenty of 60/79 mph on a State owned stretch. Yes the big part of it is a one seat ride for Virginia Tech, but for others who’ll be boarding a bus, we don’t want the VGN making their trip worse than I-81 could have afforded
  by Arlington
This story on Danville (and its transit), made me wish afresh that at least 1 new “Lynchburg” train had been created as a Charlmetto (day train to Charlotte)
https://ggwash.org/view/81233/danville- ... sit-system
  by lirrelectrician
Hello all,
Now I am confused. I heard that the Christianburg station is going to be built near the aquatic center? After doing a google earth search of it, it looks to me the aquatic center is on the N&W line and not the VGN line. It doesnt make sense to me why the state would buy the VGN line or their plans are to build some sort of a connection to the east. Just my 2 cents.
Mike Scholz
  by Arlington
Read back the last 2 ~ 3 pages.

Christiansburg had assembled as site on the NW line that would have had an obvious onward path to Bristol

The State bought the VGN and has detailed a budget of specific upgrades. A site (closer to Blacksburg ) will have to be identified and it seems a considerable bit of new track would be required to go from the VGN onto the NW if they ever want (as the Governor mentioned) to go to Bristol.

But that’s where we are
  by Gilbert B Norman
Messrs. Arlington and Scholz, the VGN West of Roanoke appears "expendable" to Topper; the N&W clearly is not.

The Commonwealth apparently evaluated the potential passenger traffic sources to the West of the VPI campus and came up "dry". Tennessee has shown zilch interest in any kind of state level passenger train system, so Virginia decided VPI was to be "the end of the line".
  by lirrelectrician
After looking on Google earth again, following the VGN line, there is an open field right before the line goes into the tunnel under Rt 460. They probably could put the station there. Now here is a very crazy idea. Too bad they couldn't extend the service up to Bluefield and beyond to Ashland and Cincinnati. Kind of like a resurrected Mountaineer / Hilltopper. Can always dream.
Mike Scholz
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