VPRA talks next steps for passenger rail to the NRV

Published: Jul. 6, 2022 at 3:57 PM EDT
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CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - In the agreement between Virginia and Norfolk Southern that expands passenger rail service in southwest Virginia, a second passenger train will take off from Roanoke every day.

That second train will begin July 11.

It’s part of the process to adding passenger rail service to the New River Valley.

“I think it’s a great indication of the demand for passenger rail in this area,” Spokesperson for the New River Valley Passenger Rail Initiative Larry Hincker said.

He says the group is excited about the steps being taken to bring passenger trains to Christiansburg.

“It’s just one more step in a very, very long journey that began just about nine years ago and we still have a long journey ahead of us, but it is a great step,” Hincker said.

As far as what’s next, the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority says some studies have to take place before passenger trains arrive in the NRV.

“We want to make sure that we’re being kind to the area that we’re in, we’re gonna make sure that we get the input from the communities that we come into,” Spokesperson for the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority Gerica Goodman said.

She says those next steps will be taken with input from the local community.

“This isn’t just the state coming in, but really working hand in hand with the local community down there and so in concert with them, will be moving to the next phase,” Goodman said.

The goal is to have people on trains in the NRV by mid-2026, but the New River Valley Rail Passenger Initiative says it hopes that timeline gets sped up.

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