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Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

Virginia and Charlotte, North Carolina, officially take over Norfolk Southern’s routes

By meerna Jun12,2024

NS will retain the rights to transport goods on lines serving passengers and commuters

Two suburban trains side by side
Virginia Railway Express meeting in Alexandria, Virginia in December 2011. George W. Hamlin

WASHINGTON – Virginia and Charlotte, North Carolina, have notified federal regulators that they intend to acquire portions of Norfolk Southern’s mainline lines to expand passenger and commuter service.

In a filing this week with the Surface Transportation Board, the Virginia Passenger Railroad Authority said its acquisition of the NS Manassas Line, as well as operating agreements covering tracks in southwest Virginia, should be exempt from board control.

Virginia will acquire the Manassas Line between mileposts 10.76 and 32.75, as well as the adjacent Seminary Passage from milepost 9.25 to milepost 10.76. VPRA will also acquire an easement to operate passenger rail on the lines between milepost 32.75 and milepost 33.6. The agreement will enable more frequent Virginia Railway Express commuter service to and from Washington Union Station.

VPRA will also gain the rights to add more Amtrak service between Alexandria, Virginia, and Roanoke, Virginia, which will later expand to a new station at Radford in the New River Valley.

In southwest Virginia, a landholding community will obtain NS service rights between the Roanoke Station at milepost N257.5 and milepost N289.86 in Christiansburg or milepost NB300.0 in Radford to provide staging facilities.

In the meantime, NS will buy V-Line again from VPRA. The passenger authority acquired the route in 2022 as part of a plan to expand Amtrak service to Christiansburg. VPRA will now focus on developing passenger services on the parallel N line, which can be launched faster and require less investment.

The map details the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority’s takeover of Norfolk Southern’s Manassas Line. VPRA via STB
The Virginia Passenger Railroad Authority plans to expand Amtrak service beyond Roanoke into the New River Valley under a new agreement with Norfolk Southern. VPRA via STB

Meanwhile, in Charlotte, the city will acquire 47.04 kilometers of NS O-Line connecting Charlotte with Mooresville, North Carolina, according to documents filed this week. The line will host an expansion of the Charlotte Area transit system to connect the northern suburbs with Charlotte.

NS will retain the right to operate freight trains on routes in Virginia and North Carolina.

The city of Charlotte, North Carolina, will acquire 47 km of Norfolk Southern’s O-Line for possible commuter service. Charlotte via STB

By meerna

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