ALEXANDRIA— Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said Virginia has finalized agreements with Amtrak, CSX, and Virginia Railway Express.

The agreements will launch a $3.7 billion investment to expand and improve passenger, commuter, and freight rail in Virginia. It will also create a connection for the national rail network in the country between the Northeast and Southeast corridors.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg joined the event at Alexandria’s Amtrak/Virginia Railway Express (VRE) station. Buttigieg highlighted the American Rescue Plan includes $1.7 billion to get Amtrak employees furloughed due to the pandemic back to work, restore daily long-distance service, and help states cover lost revenue in state-supported routes.

The partnering agreements support the construction of a $1.9 billion bridge over the Potomac River dedicated to passenger rail, acquisition of 386 miles of railroad right-of-way and 223 miles of track from CSX, and an investment of more than $1 billion in additional infrastructure improvements by the Commonwealth.

Over the next ten years, the partnership is expected to: 

  • Double Virginia-supported Amtrak trains providing nearly hourly service;
  • Increase VRE commuter service by 60 percent;
  • Lay the foundation for a Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor;
  • Preserve an existing freight corridor between Doswell and Clifton Forge for future east-west passenger service; and
  • Create the potential to expand rail to all parts of the Commonwealth.

A new, Virginia-owned, two-track bridge will be built across the Potomac River adjacent to the CSX freight bridge and will be dedicated to passenger and commuter rail. This partnership will expand service and enhance reliability on Virginia’s rail lines, creating a pathway to separate passenger and freight operations along the Richmond to Washington, D.C. corridor.

Beyond the new Long Bridge, Virginia will acquire half of the rail corridor right-of-way from Washington, D.C., to Petersburg, Virginia, the full extent of CSX ownership from Petersburg to Ridgeway, North Carolina, and the entire corridor from Doswell to Clifton Forge. W.

The Transforming Rail in Virginia initiative is expected to grow Virginia’s economy by $2 billion annually and improve the mobility of passenger and freight rail.

According to the American Public Transportation Association, every $1 billion invested in rail creates 24,000 highly skilled jobs, and every $1 invested generates $4 in wider economic benefits.