Virginia and NS sign landmark agreement for passenger rail service
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Tue Dec 21 08:52:28 EST 2010
Virginia and Norfolk Southern sign landmark agreement for passenger
FIRST TRAIN TO BEGIN SERVICE WITHIN THREE YEARS
RICHMOND- Governor Bob McDonnell announced today that the
Commonwealth of Virginia and Norfolk Southern Railway Company have
signed a landmark agreement that is an important step toward bringing
daily intercity passenger rail service back to Norfolk for the first
time since 1977. The round-trip train will link Norfolk with a
single-seat ride to Richmond, Washington, D.C., and cities as far
north as Boston.
Speaking about the agreement, Governor McDonnell noted, "The new
service will bring direct intercity passenger rail service to one of
Virginia's largest population centers. The Hampton Roads region is
home to over a million Virginians, including thousands of Federal
employees and military personnel, who currently have limited
transportation choices for travel to Richmond, Washington, D.C., and
into the Northeast. This service will provide an alternative to the
heavily congested I-64 and I-95 corridors."
The agreement provides for the speedy upgrading of Norfolk Southern
tracks between Norfolk and Petersburg so that they are suitable for
use by passenger trains. Funded by an $87 million Rail Enhancement
Fund grant, the projects include upgraded signaling, track extensions
and connections, passenger train turning and servicing facilities, and
a track and platform near Norfolk's Harbor Park for the passenger
train. Also included is construction of a new connection between
Norfolk Southern and CSXT tracks near Petersburg. These improvements
will enable passenger trains to run on Norfolk Southern's busy
Heartland Corridor route.
"The partnership between the Commonwealth and Norfolk Southern is a
perfect example of business and government working creatively,
cooperatively, and quickly to meet a challenge," said Norfolk Southern
CEO Wick Moorman. "We are proud to be part of a timely and
forward-looking response to a pressing public issue."
"Connecting Norfolk to the Amtrak network and the Northeast is a
major step forward for the mobility of the region," said Thelma Drake,
Director of the Department of Rail and Public Transportation.
Norfolk Southern will work with the Virginia Department of Rail and
Public Transportation (DRPT) to complete the work outlined in the
agreement. The project is already being designed, and construction
will begin in 2011.
The Commonwealth continues to make progress on the necessary
agreements for improvements to CSX track and with Amtrak. These
agreements must be in place before new intercity passenger rail
service can begin.
ABOUT THE NORFOLK-RICHMOND-NORTHEAST CORRIDOR:
The Virginia-Norfolk Southern partnership is designed to restart rail
passenger service in the corridor between Norfolk, Richmond and the
Northeast. The trains will be part of Amtrak Virginia regional
service, and will operate at speeds up to 79 mph between Norfolk and
Petersburg. Additional departures will be introduced as funding
The route between Norfolk and Petersburg is part of Norfolk
Southern's Heartland Corridor, the primary rail route serving the Port
of Hampton Roads. The Heartland Corridor opened to handle
double-stacked container trains in August 2010, providing a more
direct route between Norfolk and the Midwest.
The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) is
the state agency for rail, transit and commuter services in Virginia.
DRPT's mission is to improve mobility and expand transportation
choices in Virginia.
ABOUT NORFOLK SOUTHERN:
Norfolk Southern Corporation  (NYSE: NSC) is one of the nation's
premier transportation companies. Its Norfolk Southern Railway
subsidiary operates approximately 21,000 route miles  in 22 states
and the District of Columbia, serves every major container port in the
eastern United States, and provides efficient connections to other
rail carriers. Norfolk Southern operates the most extensive intermodal
network in the East and is a major transporter of coal and industrial
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