Washington (Virginia Railway Express Extension)

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Virginia Railway Express - Richmond to DC

Washington, D.C.

(November 1996)

Description The Virginia Railway Express (VRE) currently operates commuter rail service between Washington, D.C. and Fredericksburg, Virginia. Due to increased congestion throughout the region, VRE would like to expand commuter rail service to include the entire Washington, D.C. to Richmond, Virginia, corridor.

The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation commissioned the Washington, D.C.-to-Richmond Rail Corridor Study to identify specific improvements required to increase the maximum speed of passenger trains and reduce the running time between Washington, D.C. and Richmond, thus making it feasible for commuter rail service.

The Corridor Study, completed in April 1996, recommended a six-phase rail improvement program along the existing CSX right-of-way. The improvements include, but are not limited to, straightening certain track curves, adding new signals, rail-crossing safety measures, constructing new trackage in several areas, and incrementally adding a third track. The Commonwealth has not yet developed a funding plan for the phased program.

Status Through FY 1997, Congress has appropriated $2.9 million in Section 5309 New Start funds towards this program. VRE intends to use the appropriated funds to make improvements in the current service area. These improvements will allow an increase in frequency of VRE service between Fredericksburg and Washington, D.C. and are essential for the ultimate extension of service to Richmond.