All aboard! Virginia finalizes deal for passenger rail to extend into the New River Valley

Christiansburg is expected to have an Amtrak station by 2025

An Amtrak train arrives in Roanoke. (WSLS)

ROANOKE, Va. – What’s been assumed is now set in stone.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday that Virginia and Norfolk Southern have reached a definitive agreement to expand into the New River Valley.

Back in May, the governor came to Christiansburg and announced that the town would have an Amtrak station by 2025.

That was based on an initial agreement between the commonwealth and Norfolk Southern that has since been finalized.

When Amtrak begins operations in Christiansburg, it will be the first time the NRV has had passenger rail service since 1979, according to the governor’s office.

[Amtrak in New River Valley progress chugs ahead as Gov. Northam signs bill]

“Transforming Rail in Virginia is an investment not only in our rail system, but also in the residents and businesses along the corridor and in the New River Valley,” said Northam in a news release.Together with our partners at Norfolk Southern, we are making essential improvements that modernize our transportation infrastructure and connect communities across the Commonwealth. We look forward to continuing this important work to help move people and goods efficiently, reduce congestion and pollution, fuel tourism, and drive economic growth.”

Along with extending the line into the New River Valley, as previously announced, a second round-trip between Roanoke and Boston will begin sometime this year.

Also part of this agreement is that at some point in the future, a round-trip train will run between the New River Valley and Roanoke.

For those in Central Virginia, the agreement announced Thursday does acknowledge the potential for a future station in Bedford.

With this additional passenger rail, Norfolk Southern will continue to provide freight service on the line.