New River Valley passenger rail service should include stop at Virginia Tech, report says

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BLACKSBURG, Va. – The Virginia Rail Policy Institute, a statewide non-partisan research organization addressing the role of rail in Virginia, has released a report suggesting that the New River Valley passenger rail service include a stop at Virginia Tech.

This comes after former Gov. Ralph Northam announced that an Amtrak station would be coming to the New River Valley back in May 2021 — its first station since 1979.

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Then in Jan. 2022, Virginia and Norfolk Southern reached a definitive agreement to bring a passenger rail service to the NRV.

On April 30, 2022, the Virginia Rail Policy Institute held a New River Valley Rail Facilities Tour to examine the station site. While there, railroad professionals worked to determine what would be needed for the public to “best leverage its purchase of the Virginian line to move the most people.”

While the report did not include final proposals, the organization did include several suggestions that they feel would help make the station the best it could be. A key topic of discussion included adding a stop at Virginia Tech in the passenger rail service.

“We mused since most train riders between Roanoke and Bristol will be from Virginia Tech, why not maximize train ridership by directly accessing the Virginia Tech campus by rail and avoid a transfer penalty at the proposed New River Valley Mall-West station,” the report read.

The Virginia Rail Policy Institute is proposing a new alignment, which they have referred to in the report as the “Blacksburg Rail Extension” or the Hokie Line. It would branch out from the Virginian Line in Ellet Valley and ultimately run to Lane Stadium.

The report pointed out that the V-Line rail facilities could be redesigned to transport thousands, while also avoiding I-81 and US-460 altogether.

Several other recommendations were made in the report as well, including a push for Christiansburg and Radford to get their own stations.

The project is estimated to cost $257.2 million with service expected to begin by 2026.

To see what else was mentioned, you can read the full report below:


About the Author

Jazmine Otey joined the 10 News team in February 2021.

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