• Amtrak in Virginia updates (and other transportation)

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

  by WhartonAndNorthern
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Mon Jan 31, 2022 8:54 am Finally, could we clarify that the Commonwealth only bought the VGN West of Roanoke to Christiansburg (closer to VPI than where the N&W runs)? To the East of Roanoke, NS uses both the VGN and N&W as "one-way roads" to the Tidewater.
Not as much these days. Both are bidirectional CTC with sidings. Both are cleared for intermodal. Intermodal and manifest can run on either. Traffic coming on/off the Southern to the South tends to run on the Virginian. Coal still tends to follow loads->VGN, empties->N&W
kitchin wrote:
CSX does the same thing in Virginia for Newport News. Full cars along the James River line, empties along the so-called Buckingham Branch through Doswell.
CSX is limited by its lease agreement in how many trains per month it can send back via the BBRR. It can send empties back via James River.
orulz wrote:
Looking at those maps, here's my takeaways.

Some of them are duplicates, or near-duplicates of your observations.
  1. It does not mention anything about a speed limit for DRPT's tracks. It even specifically calls out "High or Higher Speed Passenger Rail" as possibilities. It does mention that DRPT tracks in the RF&P right-of-way would be subject to CSX Operating Rules (link: http://www.chartertoconductor.com/wp-co ... e-Book.pdf) but as far as I can tell there's no restriction on speeds for passenger-only tracks, even when they're next to freight tracks. I could be missing something, but I'm hopeful!
Sections will be upgraded from 70 mph running to 90 mph running. Refer to the Final Environmental Impact Statement on the DC2RVA site.
[*]Also, I see nothing that would prohibit DRPT from installing overhead catenary wire to electrify their tracks. Again, could be missing something, but I'm hopeful!
[*]There appear to be no third- or fourth- passenger tracks provisioned anywhere, for higher speed passenger trains (eg Amtrak, SEHSR) to overtake slower ones (eg VRE). I guess if DRPT wants to do this, they will be up to their own devices to widen the right-of-way to make enough space for it.
[...]
[*]What they propose for Ashland is that DRPT gets one track and CSXT gets the other. I'm not sure whether this is better or worse than the current situation with shared freight/passenger on a two track RR.
Nothing will change in Ashland or elsewhere, it will still be a 2/3/4 track mixed freight and passenger railway under CSX dispatch with an increased volume of passenger trains. The only difference is there are going to be extra tracks to park freights north of Ashland while waiting for any bottlenecks to clear. And now VA has equal say in how the line runs along with CSX.
  by kitchin
 
When DRPT says it bought "half" the RF&P between the DC/VA Long Bridge and Richmond, is that a linear half, or sections?

Richmond Main Street is planned for two, longer platforms and a freight bypass, if I recall correctly.

Ashland is 35mph I believe. Yep, it will remain two-track after the extensive public process led to no bypass, no in-place improvement, aside from platform improvements mostly already complete. It's not clear to me if the current pedestrian crossover is the ADA-complaint upgrade. Message boards will be installed so pax don't have to stand on the crossover to see what track the train is coming in on. Ashland is not a station, it's a visitor center with platforms, and the building is not open when most trains arrive.

Station staffing in the new law: not only is a station agent required at any station that had one a few years ago, with a certain amount of traffic, but every state must have at least one. That's for Charleston, WV.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
WhartonAndNorthern wrote: Mon Jan 31, 2022 9:06 pm
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Mon Jan 31, 2022 8:54 am ....To the East of Roanoke, NS uses both the VGN and N&W as "one-way roads" to the Tidewater.
Not as much these days. Both are bidirectional CTC with sidings. Both are cleared for intermodal. Intermodal and manifest can run on either. Traffic coming on/off the Southern to the South tends to run on the Virginian. Coal still tends to follow loads->VGN, empties->N&W
OK, Mr. Wharton; it's good to know that the Swedish girl hasn't relegated the (traditional) N&W to an FRA Class 1 with mud ballast :P
  by WhartonAndNorthern
 
kitchin wrote: Tue Feb 01, 2022 6:57 am When DRPT says it bought "half" the RF&P between the DC/VA Long Bridge and Richmond, is that a linear half, or sections?
Well all the answers can be found here: https://transformingrailva.com/resource ... s-library/
You can find the Comprehensive Rail Agreement, its Exhibits and the Operating Agreement (Exhibit M).

In short, on the RF&P segment (basically Union Station to Petersburg) it will be dispatched by CSX and used by both pax and freight except the new Potomac bridge and Franconia-Springfield Bypass will be pax only except in cases of urgent need by CSX (maintenance or disaster). It seems to indicate that if/when sufficient trackage is built up north to allow pax and freight separation, then VRE can dispatch the pax-only tracks.
  by orulz
 
It is also likely due to the CSX/VA agreement , which was reached after the DC2RVA FEIS was delivered, will wind up being reopened and revised, or scrapped and started over, or else at least demoted from "permanent final solution", to temporary half-measure status. And that's just as well, because it was a terrible half-measure to begin with, anyway.
  by kitchin
 
orulz wrote: Tue Feb 01, 2022 9:04 pm It is also likely due to the CSX/VA agreement , which was reached after the DC2RVA FEIS was delivered, will wind up being reopened and revised, or scrapped and started over, or else at least demoted from "permanent final solution", to temporary half-measure status. And that's just as well, because it was a terrible half-measure to begin with, anyway.
The CSX agreement seems entirely in line with DC2RVA (really to Centralia, halfway between RVA and Petersburg - not the one on fire in Pennsylvania).

The previous state government made law a Commonwealth Rail Fund, in 2020. We'll see. The DRPT hasn't had a press release since the November 2021 election.
  by Bob Roberts
 
Monday afternoon, members of the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority Board were told the second train [to Roanoke] is likely to start in July, pending final agreement with Norfolk Southern and Amtrak. In the draft schedule presented to board members, the second train would leave Roanoke at 4:35 p.m. arriving in Washington, D.C. at 9:35 p.m.
https://www.wdbj7.com/2022/05/23/second ... tart-july/
  by Arlington
 
I'm interested in the pattern of service this makes for Charlottesville (rounded) and assuming that Crescent & Cardinal are both running. It still doesn't quite make the kind of "full day in DC" that the Tidewater got with its 5am / 6am kinda departures. I still see the need for a service that'd start from the old Lynchburg terminal at 5am and return there "late" (or some schedule that works for crew remaining overnight). But this is obviously a great pattern of service overall.

WAS - CVS - RNK
8:00 - 11:00 - 13:00 (new train)
11:00 - 14:00 - *:** (cardinal)
17:00 - 19:30 - 21:30 (NEC)
18:30 - 21:00 - *:** (crescent)

RNK - CVS - WAS
6:20 - 8:20 - 11:20 (NEC)
*:** - 11:00 - 14:00 (crescent)
*:** - 16:00 - 19:00 (cardinal)
16:40 - 18:40 23:40 (new train)
  by WhartonAndNorthern
 
A friend shared this with me https://www.wdbj7.com/2022/06/21/amtrak ... e-service/ and a check this afternoon of the timetables indicate everything has been loaded into the reservation system.

One round trip to Roanoke added (2 total)
One round trip to Norfolk added (3 total)
One round trip (off peak) to Newport News restored (2 round trips total).

But wait, there's more: Amtrak is splitting up the Night Owl. Train 65/67 will head to Newport News BUT the new Northbound from Roanoke will be train 66. I also don't see any sleeper reservations available on the corridor so apparently that's not coming back even with the possibility of dropping the sleeper at WAS

Roanoke route
Southbound (weekdays)
151 depart NYP 0420, arrive WAS 0741, dpt WAS 0805, arrive RNK 1300
171 depart BOS 0815, depart NYP 1235, arrive WAS 1625, dpt WAS 1700, arrive RNK 2206

Northbound (weekdays)
176 depart RNK 0632, arrive WAS 1134, depart WAS 1205, arrive NYP 1520, arrive BOS 2002
66 depart RNK 1630, arrive WAS 2128, depart WAS 2200, arrive NYP 0155, arrive BOS 0758

Weekends
Saturday+Sunday Northbounds are 156 and 66. Saturday Southbounds are 151 and 147 (origin SPG). Sunday Southbounds are 151 and 145

Richmond/Newport News/Norfolk (weekdays)
keeping this one short
85/86 will remain the Richmond Main Street round trip (overnighting at Staples Mill Rd)
95 and 93 will be remain the afternoon departures for Norfolk from WAS. 95 will apparently skip Ashland.
84 and 94 will remain the morning Northbounds from NFK
174 and 125 will remain the usual NPN round trip
67 will bring the morning train to NPN, while 186 will be the afternoon northbound from NPN
185 and 138 will be the new Norfolk round trip.

On weekends, NPN and RVM service will remain as is wrt. number of round trips. Norfolk trains will reduce from 3 RTs to 2, just like it goes from 2 RTs to 1 right now. 82 will still be the extra Saturday morning departure from Norfolk, while 157 will bring the extra set back for the Monday commute. The new Norfolk weekend pair is 153/158.
  by Pensyfan19
 
Trains New Wire has a similar story, but I'll be posting the Railway Age article here since it was posted first.

https://www.railwayage.com/passenger/in ... annel=news
The Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA) and Norfolk Southern (NS) on June 30 announced the financial closing of a deal that will expand commonwealth-supported Amtrak service from Washington, D.C., to Roanoke and to the New River Valley.

As part of their Western Rail Initiative, announced in May 2021 and finalized in January 2022, the commonwealth is acquiring approximately 28 miles of NS-owned “V-line” right-of-way including existing tracks from Christiansburg in southwest Virginia’s New River Valley to the Salem Crossovers, plus the passenger easement between Salem Crossovers and the Amtrak Roanoke station platform. NS will continue to provide freight service on the line.

The commonwealth’s plans also include rail infrastructure improvements between Manassas and the New River Valley. In May 2021, they were reported to include: Roanoke Yard upgrades; a seven-mile siding from Nokesville to Calverton; the creation of a 22-mile continuous double-track corridor from Manassas to Remington; and improvements from Salem to Christiansburg, including signaling and track upgrades, a maintenance facility, a passenger platform, and other infrastructure work along the Route 29/Interstate 81 corridor.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Check out August TRAINS.

Everything you would want or need to know about Virginia freight and passenger railroading.
  by RandallW
 
"A seven-mile siding from Nokesville to Calverton; the creation of a 22-mile continuous double-track corridor from Manassas to Remington" should be read as "the creation of a 22-mile continuous double-track corridor from Manassas to Remington by completing a seven-mile siding from Nokesville to Calverton" since following the tracks on Google Earth suggests the single track between Nokesville to Calverton is the only single track between Washington DC and Remington via Manassas. Am I correct in thinking that once that is complete, the only single track between Lynchburg and DC will be Culpepper to Remington?
  by dgvrengineer
 
No, there is a lot of single track. I don't remember if it was Southern or Norfolk Southern that made the formerly double track main from Alexandria to Lynchburg into approximately 10 miles single and 5 to 10 miles double track all the way. You can follow it on Google Maps to see how the single/double routine works (or doesn't work).
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
OK, how say one of you "wizards" around here handy with an image altering app (Photoshop?) get to work and make one saying how "Virginia is for TRAIN lovers":grinning:

https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=Vi ... HoverTitle

So; apparently the extension of the existing Roanoke train to Christiansburg, and VPI (someone around here is a graduate of that school; can't recall who), will be over the lightly used VGN. Makes sense.

Finally, it is indeed encouraging to note that in this case, a locality that chooses to have a passenger train initiative - and still chooses as in the case of Virginia to have such after a "change in administrations", does not think they can simply "take" property from an investor owned Class I road, for this seems to be the philosophy of the sponsors of the Mobile-NO service, and to me are being met with predictable, and justified, resistance.
  by STrRedWolf
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Fri Jul 08, 2022 6:57 am OK, how say one of you "wizards" around here handy with an image altering app (Photoshop?) get to work and make one saying how "Virginia is for TRAIN lovers":grinning:

https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=Vi ... HoverTitle
No need to alter it... or use any graphics software. Word using Times New Roman, inserting a UTF-8 heart emoji, coloring it red, etc...

But then, I'm from Maryland, and we're sandwiched between the state that's for lovers... and the city of brotherly love. No wonders why we're crabby... ;)