Hampton Roads/Norfolk/Newport News NE Regional Service

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Hampton Roads/Norfolk/Newport News NE Regional Service

Postby Mike77E9 » Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:38 pm

From Norfolk Southern's Website: http://www.nscorp.com/nscportal/nscorp/ ... enger.html

Virginia and Norfolk Southern sign landmark agreement for passenger rail service

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.
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Re: Virginia and Norfolk Southern sign landmark agreement...

Postby HBLR » Mon Dec 20, 2010 6:57 pm

Wow, this is some good news. Means they might hire some new people to cover those additional trains.
No I'm not a railroad professional, but that doesn't mean I can't provide first hand observational comments.
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Re: Virginia and Norfolk Southern sign landmark agreement...

Postby JackRussell » Mon Dec 20, 2010 7:29 pm

HBLR wrote:Wow, this is some good news. Means they might hire some new people to cover those additional trains.


But will there actually be a new train? My guess is that they will just extend an existing train that currently terminates in Richmond.
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Re: Virginia and Norfolk Southern sign landmark agreement...

Postby Mike77E9 » Mon Dec 20, 2010 8:07 pm

JackRussell wrote:But will there actually be a new train? My guess is that they will just extend an existing train that currently terminates in Richmond.


I actually wonder if the Newport News train will continue to run, or if that train will get rerouted to Norfolk...
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Re: Virginia and Norfolk Southern sign landmark agreement...

Postby hi55us » Mon Dec 20, 2010 10:10 pm

Mike77E9 wrote:
JackRussell wrote:But will there actually be a new train? My guess is that they will just extend an existing train that currently terminates in Richmond.


I actually wonder if the Newport News train will continue to run, or if that train will get rerouted to Norfolk...

could it be routed south past newport news to norfolk?
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Re: Virginia and Norfolk Southern sign landmark agreement...

Postby mtuandrew » Mon Dec 20, 2010 10:29 pm

hi55us wrote:could it be routed south past newport news to norfolk?

Not unless Amtrak has a new swimming train. :wink:

For reference, here's a recent Norfolk Southern map, front (http://multimodalways.org/docs/railroad ... 1-2006.pdf) and back (http://multimodalways.org/docs/railroad ... 1-2006.pdf), though a very large file.
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Re: Virginia and Norfolk Southern sign landmark agreement...

Postby Arlington » Mon Dec 20, 2010 10:42 pm

hi55us wrote:could it be routed south past newport news to norfolk?

Not without a crazy underwater tunnel. Newport News is on the north/west/inland side of the Hampton Roads harbor. Norfolk is on the south/east/Virginia beach side. Train access would require an underwater tunnel. Today two vehicular tunnels span the harbor (motivated by a desire to permit unfettered Naval movements).
Mike77E9 wrote:I actually wonder if the Newport News train will continue to run, or if that train will get rerouted to Norfolk...

NN doesn't really have enough service to warrant (or "fund") a diversion, and is big enough to keep what it has. The Newport News peninsula (home to Jamestown, Yorktown, Williamsburg, etc. and PHF airport) has about 600k people (admittedly, just 1/3 of the Norfolk-Hampton Roads metro) and is served by PHF Airport (the smaller, less-served one). Amtrak currently terminates NEC trains on this side. Still, at 600k people, it would be the 4rd largest metro in Virginia (behind NoVa at 2.5m, Richmond at 1.1m and Norfolk at 1m), and far ahead of #5 and #6, Roanoke at 300k and Lynchburg 240k. Hampton trains pass through Richmond, and get to DC in 4h 20m
JackRussell wrote:But will there actually be a new train? My guess is that they will just extend an existing train that currently terminates in Richmond.

Yes, but its not like there's a whole lot of extra Richmond trains to extend. It might take a train that terminates in DC, but would be worth extending through Richmond to get to Norfolk.The south (Portsmouth-Norfolk-Virginia Beach) side is home to about 1m people (2/3 of the combined Norfolk-Hampton Roads metro population) and home the busier airport (ORF). As noted above, it is a close rival to Richmond as the #2 metro in the state (even with Newport News metro excluded). I think part of the reason to connect it to the system is to build ridership to support more Richmond trains. Travel time is projected to be 1h 38m from Norfolk to RVR (Richmond Staples Mill) and then 2h 08m to DC (3h 42m total...definitely faster if you live on the south side of the water, but not necessarily better than 4:20 if you happen to live on the north side.
Last edited by Arlington on Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:10 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Virginia and Norfolk Southern sign landmark agreement...

Postby Station Aficionado » Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:01 pm

This is good news (and shows that not all GOP governors are anti-rail). But this is a long way from fruition. Most importantly, someone has to come up with the operating $$$ and equipment.

My recollection is that this will not effect the Newport News trains (and most days there are only two trains). Both NNS and Williamsburg produce very good ridership. While some of the NNS ridership is from the feeder bus from Norfolk, I think the majority is not. I think Norfolk and Newport News trains would be complementary, not competitive. If there are feeder buses for both sets of trains, there would be a decent sized combined corridor.
Last edited by Station Aficionado on Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Virginia and Norfolk Southern sign landmark agreement...

Postby JackRussell » Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:04 pm

Arlington wrote:Yes, but its not like there's a whole lot of extra Richmond trains to extend. It might take a train that terminates in DC, but would be worth extending through Richmond to get to Norfolk. The south (Portsmouth-Norfolk-Virginia Beach) side is home to about 1m people (2/3 of the combined Norfolk-Hampton Roads metro population) and home the busier airport (ORF). As noted above, it is a close rival to Richmond as the #2 metro in the state (even with Newport News metro excluded). I think part of the reason to connect it to the system is to build ridership to support more Richmond trains.


Well, they only need one :-). How much room is there to get another train on the CSX tracks north of Richmond, anyways? My understanding is that it is fairly congested (which isn't to say that they couldn't add another, I guess).
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Re: Virginia and Norfolk Southern sign landmark agreement...

Postby Station Aficionado » Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:12 pm

JackRussell wrote:How much room is there to get another train on the CSX tracks north of Richmond, anyways? My understanding is that it is fairly congested (which isn't to say that they couldn't add another, I guess).
The ex RF&P is now triple-tracked from just south of the Long Bridge to Franconia, with plans to extend the triple tracking to Fredericksburg. The real bottleneck is Acca Yard on the north side of Richmond. They still need to figure how to insert a passenger bypass on the east side of the yard.

Another exciting aspect of Norfolk trains would be additional service to Main Street Station, which should eventually supplant Staples Mill as the primary Richmond station.
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Re: Virginia and Norfolk Southern sign landmark agreement...

Postby Arlington » Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:17 pm

JackRussell wrote: How much room is there to get another train on the CSX tracks north of Richmond, anyways? My understanding is that it is fairly congested (which isn't to say that they couldn't add another, I guess).
An earlier article from June http://hamptonroads.com/2010/06/train-l ... hree-years seems to cover this.
hamptonroads.com wrote: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 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.

If they are strictly doing this by extending a RVR train, then they may not technically also need the new 3rd track from Arkendale to Powell's creek (see the MARC and VRE board), but that's also a key issue in getting more and more reliable service to Richmond.
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Re: Virginia and Norfolk Southern sign landmark agreement...

Postby silver train » Tue Dec 21, 2010 12:09 am

[/quote]
Another exciting aspect of Norfolk trains would be additional service to Main Street Station, which should eventually supplant Staples Mill as the primary Richmond station.[/quote]

Main Street Station getting a new train to Norfolk would be wonderful, but it won't be this train. It'll split off at the Wye connection between RVR and RVM then cross the James a few miles upriver from RVM, like all the other southern trains do. There is southern connection from Main Street, but it's slow and freight-heavy, and hasn't seen passenger trains since the 1950s. (It's the middle level of the Triple Crossing a block south of Main Street Station.) If that line were restored for passenger trains, then ALL the trains south of RVR could stop there.

Main Street only gets two trains daily, the 66/67 and the 94/95 and their weekend counterparts the 194/95, and the Friday-only 83. Past Main Street, the line turns 90 degrees and heads to Williamsburg and Newport News.

Staples Mill has 2-3 Regional trains that terminate there. Presumably one of these could be extended to Norfolk.

Now... What if Newport News passengers switch to the Norfolk train? Would that spell the end of trains to Newport News and by extension Williamsburg and, sadly, Main Street Station?
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Re: Virginia and Norfolk Southern sign landmark agreement...

Postby afiggatt » Tue Dec 21, 2010 12:38 am

Arlington wrote:If they are strictly doing this by extending a RVR train, then they may not technically also need the new 3rd track from Arkendale to Powell's creek (see the MARC and VRE board), but that's also a key issue in getting more and more reliable service to Richmond.

The new service to Norfolk won't start until 2013 because of the track and station work to be done. The 3rd track from Arkendale to Powell's creek should be finished by 2012. The question is whether Virginia will be able to get additional funding to start on other improvement projects on the DC to Richmond Main Street station corridor by then so the train to Newport News won't have to skip the Main Street Station leg for more than several years.
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Re: Virginia and Norfolk Southern sign landmark agreement...

Postby silver train » Tue Dec 21, 2010 12:49 am

Of course, Virginia has to start paying for its Amtrak trains starting in 2013:

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia faces having to come up with millions of dollars to pay for some of Amtrak's passenger rail service in the state.

By 2013, federal law requires that states pay their share of Amtrak's costs to provide intercity passenger service on regional routes.

"It pushes back on the state a burden that has yet to be clearly identified," said Kevin B. Page, the state's chief of rail transportation.

http://www.ble-t.org/pr/news/headline.asp?id=30477
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Re: Virginia and Norfolk Southern sign landmark agreement...

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Tue Dec 21, 2010 8:00 am

When the Norfolk-Cincinnati The Mountaineer that ran roundly on the schedule of N&W's The Pocahontas was discontinued during 1977 and replaced with Wash-Cinci The Hilltopper that ran on roundly The Powhatan Arrow's schedule over the N&W, there was a physical interchange built at Petersburg between the SAL and the N&W. The SAL and ACL passed overhead of the N&W with no physical interchange. That interchange to support The Hilltopper operation obviously was built through the NW quadrant which of course is useless for service operating South on CSX then East on NS and v.v.

The NW quadrant was a waste in view of that The Hilltopper was gone with the Carter Cuts - likely before the time of any of our VPI alums (Mr. Johnson for one IIRC?) around here. I defer to others here who may have on the ground knowledge regarding how feasible would be the construction of an interchange through the NE quadrant at Petersburg.
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