Southeast High-Speed Rail Workshops
From VARPs On Track newsletter, spring 2006
From correspondent Jerry Grosshans
Two public workshops were held in Virginia to introduce the Southeast High Speed Rail Project Extension (Petersburg to Richmond) and to receive public comment;
While it seems as if this project is proceeding at a glacial pace, I noted some progress, and apparently the whole idea is still on track for a decision by the Federal Railroad Administration to proceed, due in late 2008.
One area of study was the situation of trackage and routes in the Petersburg area. At one time the only alternative was to use the present CSX (former Atlantic Coast Line) route from Centralia to South Collier Yard, where the dormant Burgess Connector would be reactivated to connect with the dormant Seaboard Air Line alignment near Burgessreferred to as
Alternative 2 is a routing on the old Seaboard alignment to a location on the southern bank of the Appomattox River and then into downtown Petersburg at the passenger station, then a turn north to a location in Colonial Heights called Dunlop, where the tracks would again connect with Atlantic Coast Line trackage.
Alternative 3 is a similar routing to the Appomattox River, where a new bridge would be built, and trackage built to the Atlantic Coast Line routing just south of the present Ettrick station.
Proposals for a Greater Petersburg Area station to serve the project range from the present Ettrick and Petersburg stations to a station to be built at North Collier, or at the Appomattox River (alternatives 2 and 3), or a station at Dunlop. Only one station in the Petersburg vicinity is planned.
In conjunction with the Southeast High-Speed Rail study is the continuing project of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation for improved and enhanced service to Hampton Roads, which has narrowed down to the present CSX (north of the James River) and Norfolk Southern (south of the James) lines.
Because most of the Hampton Roads population is south of the James (in Norfolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, Suffolk, and Chesapeake) rather than on the north side (Newport News and Hampton), and because of the superior condition of the Norfolk Southern double track, known as the speedway, compared to the CSX single track with passing sidings, the southern routing enjoys an advantageespecially if a routing from Poe to the downtown
Petersburg station and on to Dunlop is used for the route to Richmond. (Poe is east of Petersburg, where the downtown NS trackage joins the bypass line past North Collier.) This assumes that the CSX line on the north side of the James would keep the present Amtrak services.
While speeds of
From Michael Testerman
Attendees at the Petersburg workshop learned that about three years ago, North Carolina paid for the Environmental Impact Study for the
David Foster of North Carolinas Rail Division was asked how much the Richmond-to-Raleigh high-speed rail line would cost. He said about
Citizens are encouraged to add their input to these studies by contacting Winston Phillips, project manager, Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation,
For more information, please visit the Southeast High-Speed Rail website at www.sehsr.org.