Richmond, Virginia-to-Raleigh, North Carolina high-speed rail plan approved

September 19, 2015

See an editor’s note in an accompanying story which details the history of the track to be restored for passenger train service.

State and federal authorities have approved plans — but not the funding — for a high-speed passenger rail line between Richmond and Raleigh, N.C., that would cut nearly in half the travel time between the two capitals and return rail service to a part of Southside Virginia that saw its tracks torn up nearly 30 years ago.

The project is part of a larger plan to bring faster train service between Washington and Atlanta. The Richmond-to-Raleigh route would take just over 2 hours, compared with the 3.5 hours it takes today.Website Insert Cars and Financing copy

“This approval is an important step toward a higher-speed rail system that will enhance our efforts to build a new Virginia economy,” Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said in a written statement.

“Higher-speed rail is one of my administration’s top transportation priorities because it will generate new economic activity and improve Virginians’ quality of life. I look forward to the advancement of this important project.”

According to the plan’s just-approved environmental impact statement, a key project milestone, about 35 miles would be shaved off the trip from Richmond to Raleigh by using the current Amtrak route to Petersburg, then restoring service on an abandoned rail line through Dinwiddie, Brunswick and Mecklenburg counties and before crossing into North Carolina. The trains would travel up to 110 mph.Website Insert Out of the Box Thinking copy

The current Amtrak route for its Carolinian service goes from Petersburg south to Rocky Mount, N.C., before heading west to Raleigh and then on to Charlotte, N.C.

Read reporter John Ramsey’s full story in the Richmond Times-Dispatch by clicking here.


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