Gov. Northam to Make Rail Expansion Announcement

May 5, 2021

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, right, accompanied by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, left, speaks at a news conference to announce the expansion of commuter rail in Virginia at the Amtrak and Virginia Railway Express (VRE) Alexandria Station, Tuesday, March 30, 2021, in Alexandria
Credit AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Passenger rail service is expanding into the New River Valley.  Gov. Northam will be in Christianburg Wednesday to announce a deal with Norfolk Southern.

The deal is expected to bring passenger rail into the New River Valley, completing a dream that’s been years in the making. Virginia Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine says the pieces started falling into place when state officials struck a deal with CSX that included a new bridge for trains over the Potomac River. 

“All things are beginning to converge," she said. "We now have the commitment to build and construct this two-track bridge dedicated to passenger and commuter rail, and that has opened the door to move forward with Norfolk Southern.”

The rail and right of way and assets that belong to Norfolk Southern are expected to be part of that deal the governor is announcing. 

“If all of this gets completed, we’re going to add about 80,000 riders just in the first year," Valentine said. "So it is a remarkable route that we have along this corridor and really opening up economic opportunities as well.”

The next step after the New River Valley is Bristol, and potentially even expanding passenger rail into Tennessee.